Welcome to the Indie Life edition of Writing Wibbles. Don’t forget to hit the linky at the end and see what other indies have to say about their travails, triumphs, and tips this month.
mobile writing station that consists of a smartphone, Bluetooth keyboard, and +Evernote. I was delighted when +Katherine Hajer used that post as a springboard to talk about ferreting out the root causes that keep you from writing.
Katherine made a good point about my post: I didn’t present it as a “this is how you get more writing time” post, but rather “this is how I get more writing time.” There’s a zillion “writing tips” blogs and websites out there. Sometimes, advice on one site conflicts with another’s—but they all agree I’m doin’ it w0rNg because I edit as I go and often revise previous passages while I write new ones.
This month, I want to say hello to writers just getting started, unsure of how to find an audience and how to develop as a writer.
This is what worked for me.
Later on, I joined Twitter, and one day I stumbled across something called #FridayFlash. The premise is simple: write a piece of flash fiction (1000 words or less), post it on your blog, and tweet links with the #FridayFlash hashtag (and don't forget to add it to the collector). I met many of my bestest Twitter buddies through #FridayFlash.
Writing flash fiction helped me develop as a writer by focusing on the moment, and what’s important in that moment. Flash doesn’t absolutely require elements found in longer stories, like plot or character development, but it’s cool if you can fit them in. I know artistically-talented people who can sketch a few lines and make you see so much more; a skilled flash writer can do the same in a handful of words.
There’s an unwritten rule of #FridayFlash: if someone comes by and leaves a comment, it’s a courtesy to do the same for them. You don’t need to be on Twitter to get involved; just hit the collector and check out things that look interesting to you.
One thing I realized when writing short pieces: 2000 words might be a short story, but it’s a hell of a long blog post. And there were longer stories wanting to get out. Like FAR Future.
While I was writing flash, I was also writing much longer pieces, and began serializing them on my blog. Soon after I finished FAR Future, a flash piece called White Pickups blew up into something huge and I was off to the races again. Then, I discovered TuesdaySerial. It works much like FridayFlash: put up your latest episode, tweet links with the #TuesdaySerial hashtag, add a link to the collector. After White Pickups came Accidental Sorcerers and others. Somewhere along the line, I was invited to join the TuesdaySerial staff.
If you’re brave (or just crazy like me), you can start serializing a story before it’s done. It does give you an incentive to keep writing, and sometimes your readers give you ideas for subplots or can help you get unstuck. Serials don’t get the readership that flash does, simply because serials require more dedication on readers’ parts as well as the writer. But serial readers can turn out to be more dedicated fans in the end.
Feel free to share what has worked for you in the comments. Thanks for reading, and check out some of the other Indie Life writers this week!
1 My dayjob is technical writing. Some of that turned into fiction, but not by intent.