29-day writing challenge: an exercise in beginnings

Last week, I participated in a short story challenge where participants received a three-part prompt (genre, basic character, object) and had to write a story of 2,500 words or less over the course of eight days.

This week on the spur of the moment (a cliche which is actually really clever when you think about it), I signed up for daily writing prompts from Figment, an online writing community I haven’t been involved in since high school. Figment is hosting a daily writing challenge through the month of February and — though I’m not posting my writing on the site — I’m participating on my own with a GoogleDoc that will contain each day’s paragraphs.

Today is day three.

So far it feels good. There’s a freedom that comes with being confident that most of what will result will be, if not totally worthless, certainly not perfect because a day is simply not enough time to write an award-winning short story or piece of flash fiction from a prompt you’ve never seen before.

And because it’s a daily goal, I don’t have enough time to overthink every aspect of every sentence. The goal is to do it — to write. And that’s all I have time for, so thus far that’s what I’ve done.

It’s an exercise in beginnings.

I’m not sure about the rest of the writer population, but for me the hardest step is always, without fail, the first. It doesn’t matter whether I’m applying for jobs, pursuing a nonfiction story, or planning to work out. It’s always that first step — putting my resume together, reaching out to potential subjects, walking or driving from my office to the gym — that takes the most effort and discipline.

But once the first step is taken, I’m on my way. The hard work is done. The fun has begun. And every seemingly hard step that follows is nothing in light of the first.

So for the next 26 days (because LEAP YEAR), I will be practicing that first step — and, hopefully, taking other steps in directions that are only scary when, by inaction, you let them remain unknown.

Photo credit: Notebook via photopin 

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