A New Beginning - The 2012 Flash Fiction Challenge

I'm not a published writer, although I won a flash fiction contest and my story was posted on the internet, so maybe that's not exactly true. But I'm not a confident writer with all sorts of poignantly confident advice to offer other writers, yet I feel I have something to say, even if only to other writers like myself, the ones plugging away, day after day, for no other reason than sheer need as well as private enjoyment.

My relationship with writing is a dance that undulates like a roller coaster, sometimes soaring to the heavens on amazing grace and other times plummeting to the earth on doubt and frustration. But if there is one truth I cannot deny it is this: I must write, I have no choice. For me, writing is like breathing. It's just something that has to be done if I wish to remain alive.

It is said the only way to learn to write is by writing, and to this practice I have remained true. I have filled volumes with stories, poetry, the bits and pieces I call bursts and tiny bubbles. My process has been generally a movement of writing, putting the work aside to gain some distance, then a full-on reading. After that, I purge. I have thrown out thousands upon thousands of words. Trust me, it was the right thing to do.

For a long time, so much of what I wrote was... well, I won't say my writing sucked, certainly not all of it, but for the most part there was something missing, perhaps a plot twist that didn't work, a character who was flat, prose that was trite or boring. I never considered sending anything out for a contest or publication for many reasons, but one that has stood the test of time is this: I didn't need the rejection slips to inform me my work wasn't ready.

The time arrived when that was no longer true. On another dare I sent out a story to Women-On-Writing for consideration in their flash fiction contest. What with all the reading and writing I've done, flash fiction was not something with which I was familiar and surprise of surprises, my story placed in the top twenty-five. So encouraged was I that I sent another, this time placing in the top ten. It seemed I'd found a niche in which to shape my fiction.

I started this blog on a dare and I must admit I'm glad I did. What began as an exercise in a personal acceptance of my work and a way to face down my fear, has shapeshifted into a tickly desire to do more. I've decided to focus on and learn more about flash fiction, and as part of this endeavor I am committing to writing at least fifty-two stories. I chose the number to correspond with the weeks in the year, thinking it seemed an obtainable goal to write at least one story per week. To meet this goal I've determined the final product need be at least a first draft, between 250 and 1,000 words.

The stories don't have to meet any other criteria, which means they can suck all they want. The point is simply to write in the form of flash fiction, and to keep writing until I have fifty-two. Simple? Hardly. So, I'm off and running, excited to learn and soar in the skies of the imagination, the divine body in all of us.