(Before we get started on the challenge, I want to let you know I’m over at The Writer’s Dojo today talking about Taking Time. Stop by and say hello!)
Yesterday, day eleven, in the 15 Habits of Great Writers Challenge by Jeff Goins, he challenged us to declutter:
I want you to do two things:
- Clean up your space. Spend some time (at least five minutes, but no more than 30) doing the following: clear off the desk, sharpen your pencils, put your files in order, take out the trash, wash the dishes, whatever. Do what you need to do to feel better about the place where you do your work.
- Cut your writing down to its purest essence. Turn a 500-word article into 250 words. If you’re brave, convert 1000 words into 300. Take away everything but exactly what you want to say. Eliminate weak, lazy words like “that” and “things” and anything you don’t absolutely need. Then say what you have to say and be done with it.
This is easy enough to do. I spend at least half an hour every day cleaning up, though usually it ends up being half an hour here, and then half an hour there. I do have kids after all=) As for my writing, I’ve been able to cut a lot of clutter out of the WIP out for crits right now. I’ve even written a piece of flash fiction (short-short fiction) and taken it from the original 1500 words to just under 1000. That was months ago and if I take a look at it now, I might be able to pare it down even more. Maybe I’ll even take a stab at some new flash pieces and see what I can do with them.
Today is day twelve and we are supposed to provoke:
If you’re going to be a great writer, you’re going to have to shake things up. Maybe even break a few rules. Here are some ideas:
- Tell the ugly truth.
- Pick a fight with something that’s wrong with the world.
- Call yourself out.
- Make a giant confession.
- Take a risk.
- Write something dangerous (something you’ve never written before).
This is an especially difficult challenge for me. I don’t like provoking people. I’m not a fan of confrontation. But I do realize – if I’m going to be the writer I want to be – I need stand up for something, even if others don’t agree with me. Now, to figure out what exactly I want to do…
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