I love the spring but it’s the fall when I’m energized with ideas and projects and there are opportunities everywhere.
The list of writing competitions is impressive, just remember, dear writer, Google is your friend, and you can find them researching on your own.
Yesterday a young man asked me about creation. The creative process can be a strange thing. Sometimes we know exactly what we did to achieve our art, and other times we have no idea where the inspiration came from. That's part of the excitement, but can also make frustration build. It can make your head burn, heat spreading toward your heart. How do we reliably access this inner muse?
If you're the type of writer who hates to plan ahead and the joy is in the discovery of that first draft then try this: free-write. I would do this in my classes and students would get stumped. Then I invited students to bring a journal. Personally, this is what I use. I also use index cards. This technique is to put anything and everything on paper and just keep going.
It can be done whenever and will free up the writing self. The idea is to put anything on paper and I mean anything, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s coming out of your head and to the ends of your fingers… the point is to keep going.
When the critic intrudes and tells you that what you’re doing is awful, tell the critic to make an exit, and keep writing. If you work on a computer, try dimming the screen so you can’t see what you’re doing. It makes for a great start and is the literary equivalent of scales at the piano or a dancer doing a warm-up.
If you’re not comfortable with a loose outline, try writing detailed summaries of a scene. That will leave room for a story to develop organically. Taking this approach, you can analyze what you are going to cover and you won't be staring at a blank screen. This way you can layer your story; with conflict, character arcs and find out how to get a solid start on writing a story.
Have you tried either technique? Which works for you?