This will be a rambling and incoherent mixed bag of musings on writing. From me. A hack. Read, don’t read, it’s all good.
You will often see on social media and elsewhere that people will die if they don’t write. Seriously. Their heart will stop pumping blood. Lungs will refuse to inhale/exhale. Their mind will slip into a cocoon woven from imprisoned and unspent words. Hyperbole much? Writing is important. Writing heals. Writing is a medium that lends itself to escapism. I love writing, I genuinely enjoy crafting a unique story. Feels good. Dig it. Big part of my life. I won’t fucking die if I don’t write, I don’t take myself that seriously. Cigarettes, stress or a brunette with a taste for weakness will snuff me out long before an unwritten piece of flash fiction shall. I understand the sentiment of writing being this glorious thing that keeps a person afloat, makes them feel like they belong, that they have something to offer to the world. A purpose. I get it. Just ease up on writing being a life or death hobby. That flash piece you decided to toss when the words wouldn’t form? Keep breathing. Hang on. You’ll be OK in the morning. I promise.
Contests are fun. I enter one most Friday’s and I enjoy the experience. The competition is formidable which in turn forces me to work more diligently on my craft. It should be a positive endeavor for all involved. Every week I read at least 5 or 6 stories that blow me away. The kind of writing you can learn from, gain insight into structure, imagery, pace, wordplay and whatnot. The type of stories that you wish you had written. Stories that teach. Prose that eats bone.
Another aspect of contests is how subjective they are. One judge, a writer like us, tasked with picking the best of the bunch. A thankless job and a difficult one. Something I couldn’t do, to be honest. Every writer has a built-in bias of what they want in a story. We all have different tastes. Some like dark and gritty, others love surreal and weird, some like Sci Fi and fantasy. Romance. Thrillers. The judge has the same bias as the entrants so your story may be slick as hell, channeling Pollock or Palahniuk, a scintillating story worthy of a pretty blue ribbon but the judge is into sorcery and magic realism, so good luck nabbing the top honors. My main point is don’t criticize yourself too harshly if you don’t make the “winners” page. Also, don’t pound your chest too proudly if you do. It’s all subjective, man. Just write a story that captures your style and vision, the rest is out of your control.
I’m running out of steam, so let me finish this up thusly. If you want to write about a dude that eats women for brunch, write it. If your story is about masturbating while watching Law and Order SVU, write it. Got an idea for a piece of flash about dragons forming an alliance with unicorns? Write that shit. Write whatever the fuck you want to. Own your style, your voice. People offended by a story of yours? That’s a good thing. Don’t let others censure your creative pursuits. There are no rules to a story that belongs to you and you only. Just write. And don’t die.