So this weekend I survived my 3rd NYC Midnight short story competition.
I say survived because my writing process is less “outline-draft-edit-submit” and more “8 Stages“. Add to this:
- My phone was blowing up with issues unrelated to writing.
- It was too early to straight up drink so I put the Amarulla in my coffee. (This did not help make the words better).
- I threw on some wrestling for background sound as I wrote and Finn Balor’s abs are VERY distracting.
Oh, and did I mention that I had 8 false starts during the week and finally got a fully formed and fleshed out idea the night before but OMFG I ONLY HAD 9 HOURS TO WRITE EDIT AND SUBMIT A 2,500 WORD STORY AND MY SISTER IS IN SCOTLAND AND NOT IN THE SAME ROOM WRITING WITH ME??????
Mind you, we’ve never actually sat in the same room and written before, but it would make things like, “Shit, I need a Scottish female name!” and “Pigeons or doves in Italy?” and “OMG WHY ME?” a whole lot easier.
We managed, though. Thank the Gods for FB Messenger, but seriously – MIT? CalTech? PLEASE hurry up with teleportation? Next time we write together, I want to be at the kitchen table with cheesecake and our laptops, actually able to look across the table and ask each other questions.
And even though we say that we’ll do things differently this time, we haven’t managed it yet.
As loath as I am to admit it? The scramble is part of the fun. It reminds me of college, flying high on Jolt cola and Pixie Stix, counting lines of poetry and pages of fiction to submit on the last day of workshop so we could hit our page count for the term.
It reminds me of sitting in the smoking section (back when such things existed) in Bickford’s with the Providence Poets, sharing food and cigarettes and getting our own refills and watching the sun rise as we wrote and read together.
Truth of the matter is, though – we aren’t college students anymore. I can handle my caffeine as well as anyone, but the stress of working up to the deadline isn’t quite as exhilarating. It’s actually lung-squeezy and anxious and not fun.
I love to write, please don’t get me wrong – and I LOVE NYC Midnight. I’m looking forward to participating in their competitions for years to come.
But Lorna’s right – we need to listen to our own writing advice. We need to find the time to put in the work, even when we’re not 100% thrilled with what we have to work with.
Just write the words.
Write all the words.
We’ll worry about editing later.
*SIDE NOTE – anyone who reads me who isn’t already following Lorna’s blog? Gets to steppin, yo. Everything I know about blogging I learned from her. ❤