Do you like weekly challenges? My colleague and fellow blogger Amy Maranto at Photography Journal blog posted earlier this month that she has taken on a new challenge in 2018 – a 52-week photography challenge. Over the year she will be posting a new image each week inspired by the assignment for that week. I’ve noticed that many of my blogging colleagues participate in weekly or daily challenges, as a way to keep motivated, to develop new work, and to connect with a larger community through their work.
Amy’s story reminded me that I, too, have taken on a weekly challenge for 2018. It’s called “Eleven Stories,” a writing program designed to build writing skills and to develop at least one submittable story per month in the next eleven months. So far this month we have been asked to work toward writing a 55-word story that we will complete by the end of the month. We’ve been doing supporting readings, practicing changing points of view (e.g., 1st person vs. 3rd person, varying narrators, etc.), and trying out lots and lots of 55-word stories.
Fifty-five words isn’t very long. – But it’s longer than 14-word stories, which we tried in Week 1! As an example, here is a 14-word story? poem? I wrote for an assignment about people in a cafe. In our Week 1 14-word story we were asked to compare a group of people to some natural event. Hah!
A gathering of faces in the café
sparrows pecking at seeds on the ground.
Then in Week 2 we were asked to write a 55-word story expanding our original 14-word story. Here is my attempt:
Some enclosed in booths by the window. Others exposed at small tables in the center. Chatter flows around feet, floats up among ceiling tiles. Three empty counter stools, the screen door slams guests in and out. Sparrows pecking at seeds on the ground, fluttering in a brown crowd, small beaks picking up a winter meal.
Next month (February), we’ll be working toward a 101-word story, in March, 300 words, and so on, gradually reaching 1000 words in June, and then back to 750 words, 500 words, 300 words, etc., eventually back down to 55-words again in the second half of the year. Writing this short is hard. But it’s also a great way to build one’s metaphor, imagery, and language choice skills, something I greatly admire among poets’ work.
How about you? Are you taking on a challenge, or a theme, for 2018? What projects do you have energy for? Are you creating milestones for yourself? Or do you like to let your work take its own time? Thanks for visiting!