Clarion West Write-a-thon: Week 2 Recap

Writing was a lot harder for me this week. I had a lot of distractions, which made it harder for me to focus on the Week 2 flash fiction prompt, my book review and the short story I wanted to edit. I had to end up sacrificing the short and just focus on the flash and the review. I got them both done, but I’m not as happy as I was last week about my progress.
But, partially because of this tweet by Aleksandra Hill talking about her own writing process (she is Khōréō Magazine’s founder and editor-in-chief, you should really check them out!) I realised the WHY behind my drafting problems this week: I am an over-writer.

Last week, when I had a little bit more time and liberty, I overwrote the first draft of my flash fiction by about 200 words or so. Because I had the time, I then doubled back, changed tense, switched perspectives and then snipped at the draft until I got a story that I was proud of nestled neatly within the word limit.
This time around, I was anxious and snippish, haunted by the target bar at the bottom of my screen and the swirl of everything else going on in my life. I didn’t have the time to overwrite, analyse and condense so I tried to go against my natural rhythm and pre-condense my words. While this worked great for the one-third of my story, the latter two-thirds suffered, petering out into a puff of unsatisfactory smoke.
But that’s okay! I’m happy with my little idea. I’m glad that I explored it, even if it feels stilted. I feel like I have enough content and ideas to expand it into a short story in the future or maybe something longer. And best of all, I know now that I need make accommodations to get that long first draft out of my system, in order to make a better second draft.
This is how I write. I’m glad that I figured it out.

So what did I achieve during this second week of the Write-a-thon?

  1. I wrote a second flash-fiction story
  2. I finished a book review
  3. I learned a bit more about myself and my writing process.

Where did I fail and what can I learn from it?

  1. I tried to work against my natural writing style by pre-editing and per-condensing my work to fit within a word limit. I learned that I am an overwriter and I should accommodate for this part of my process, not be ashamed of it.
  2. I didn’t get to finish editing the short story I wanted to submit to a competition. – I’m not going to beat myself up about this too much, but I will add yearly competitions to my calendar so I can schedule my writing accordingly.

What do I want to achieve this week (Week 3)?

  1. I want to finish a third flash-fiction story
  2. I want to restart a short story WIP and finish a first draft by the end of Week 4.

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