Wow, what a month March has been! And it has taught me a thing or two about the writing process.
In January 2012, I had resolved to write every day. Or, at least work towards increasing my writing output in small increments. It began with the occasional blog posts, jotting of new script ideas, revisiting and revising old ideas in the hope of renewing my long lost passion for those concepts. As I worked up my writing muscles, I came across a short story writing contest for romance publishers Harlequin India, aptly titled “Passions Aspiring Author Contest”. What appealed to me — besides of course the grand prize of winning a contract to write a novel — was that it helped me work to a deadline, boosting my self-confidence as a Productive Writer! To me, it was nothing but a writing exercise. The Passions Contest had re-ignited my passion for writing.
And then, in March, the unthinkable happened! My story went on to be one of three winners. What’s more, now I have a deadline-oriented goal: to expand my short story idea into my first to-be-published Mills & Boon novel! Seriously stoked about that!
And here are the lessons that I drew from my Mad March experiment:
Lesson #1: Start with small writing tasks, turning them into bigger writing goals. That definitely gets you up and running.
But what if I hadn’t won the contest? Well, I would probably wallow in self-pity for a while and then abandon the story altogether and start the search for yet another concept that would fire my passion.
Lesson #2: Avoid the Self-Pity Path! Don’t give up on a story that has ignited your spark. Even if it’s not yet a “winner”, your gut should be able to tell you how you feel about the story. If you’re excited about it; if it gets your brain into over-drive; if you spend sleepless nights tossing the story elements in your head over and over again — that’s a sign that should not be ignored. If you do, you are prematurely killing off a potential winner!
Ultimately, writing is a like a roll of the dice. You take the Chance. And Winning or Losing is part of the great gamble!