I’m working hard on being disciplined enough to write every day. My goal, as I’ve mentioned before, is 1000 words a day. I’ve been doing okay with that, but not great. I also haven’t been posting everything I write in my daily exercises; much of it is even worse than the things I do post.
Sometimes the hardest thing about writing every day is coming up with something to write. Many days, I work on stories I’ve already started (like The Legend of Slottsfjellet or previous exercises which I think can be worked into something longer). But on days when I’m stuck, or just don’t feel like working on one of those pieces, it’s hard to come up with something new. I need ideas. I need inspiration. I need help.
That’s where you come in.
I would like to ask you, all of you, for writing assignments.
Here’s an example to get you started: One of the most difficult writing assignments I ever had came from Traci Gourdine, who I was lucky enough to have as a writing instructor two different times about 10 years apart. The assignment was to write a short story, at least 1 page long, using only one-syllable words. Coming up with something descriptive without using any of the longer words I love was challenging, but even shorter, simpler words were out. In one paragraph, my main character was injured and trying to hobble down the center of a well-traveled but poorly-maintained rural highway. Yeah, how do you say all that with one-syllable words? When I turned the paper in, I said that he “had to ignore the pain and hop down the spine of the old road.”
Maybe not the most brilliant line ever written, but the process of getting to it was invaluable, and has stayed with me for all the years since.
Your writing assignments for me can be topics, or constraints, or characters, or anything else you can come up with. Put the assignment in the comments for this page, and I’ll try to get to every one of them. Your assignment can be designed to be challenging, or it can be aimed at forcing my creativity, or it can just be a story you’d love to hear me tell. I can’t promise to write more than 500 words for each assignment, and I can’t promise to get to more than one assignment each day, but if you’ll play along it should be entertaining for both you and me. When I use your assignment, I will give you credit and link back to your comment.
Let the Writing Games begin!