Behold! The blank page! Do not shudder in fear. Do not cower behind thy writing chair. See it for what it truly is. A play land free for the taking. You can’t get kicked out no matter how foul the prose may be. No one has to know how horrific your spelling is. Punctuation? Grammar? Throw it out the window, for I am here to help you remember why you write.
Because it’s fun.
That’s how it should have started for everyone. Writing for fun. Then, somewhere along the way, someone saw your work, or maybe you submitted it. Then if you were extra lucky, someone gave you a little cash for it. That’s when the Notion creeps in. You know the one I’m talking about. I should do this for a living!
Now you work and toil over the keyboard, keeping track of the number of words, fishing for the perfect turn of phrase, researching, editing, work-shopping, and revising all the while crossing your fingers so your computer won’t crash. You’ll shop for the perfect agent, build the perfect platform and design the perfect website all for the glory of writing. Glorious, I tell you, and it’ll all be worth it. Worth it because you’re going to be famous. That’s right. Lunches with Stephen King and tea with J. K. Rowling will be a common Tuesday event. Oh, how the world will love you!
Yes, that Notion.
Then something happens. Somewhere in the midst of seclusion, mid-manuscript, your one hundredth blog post or twenty-third rejection notice, a light gutters. It’s so subtle it takes a while see that it’s missing. A tendril of smoke carries away the reason for all of it. You start questioning the long hours in front of the monitor which eventually become long minutes. You question the rejection notices be they form or hand written. You question the time you’re missing from your family, that is if they’re still around. Why did you do this to yourself?
Well bust out the Gingko Biloba, vitamin-B and Omega threes, and let my remind you.
Because it’s fun!
I’m not going to tell you to give up the Notion. I’m not, why should you? What I’m telling you to do is take a minute and get back in touch with why you write. It’s fun damn it! And if you don’t agree, why the hell are you writing? Go back to your dreary day job to covet that red stapler of yours. The writing world doesn’t need you.
So here’s my contribution to having more fun. I’m going to be starting a new feature on my other site, The Parking Lot Confessional, called the 500 Club. Once a week I will post two different writing prompts. Could be a simple “complete this thought…”, a picture, or a some random idea I or one of my fellow PLCers might come up with. Then it will be up to you to write, type or carve out 500 words towards one of those prompts.
I practice what I preach.
After the prompt I will put on display, for the whole interwebs to see, my 500 words. Well, not entirely. I will post the beginning two lines. If you are compelled to read the full 500 words, I will provide a link to the full text here, at my personal site.
So what’s in it for you? Didn’t I already mention the fun? Fine, this is where you can participate as well. I showed you mine, now show me yours. I’ll leave it up to you to leave a comment with the first few lines of your 500 words. Then you can link to your own personal site for others, including myself, to read the full 500.
This isn’t a contest. That would defeat the purpose. I want you to tackle this with no preconceptions. Don’t try to work it into a story you’re already writing. Boo. Where’s the fun in that? I want to see things that if you wanted to, you could easily walk away from. That way you don’t feel bad if it’s bad. There’s also the possibility that you might stumble onto to something great, genius that you normally wouldn’t have if you stuck to your dreary routine. If you seriously have issues with just having fun, then think of it as an exercise. Something to loosen you up before you take on the Notion.
I’ll be back on Thursday with my first 500. For that time I’ll put the Notion on hold so I can have fun. Will you come out to play?