Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Ramblings on writing...

I haven't (yet) written this week's 100WCGU...have been pretty busy with one thing and another. Is on my to do list for tomorrow.  One of the reasons I haven't written it yet is because a friend thrust a magazine at me last week saying,  "Read this and have a go!" I dutifully obliged. It was the details of a 100 word writing competition. "Ah-ha!" thought I, "No problem, I've been doing these each week for the last few months, sure I can think something up."
And that is where I am at. The weekly 100WCGUs set by the wonderful Julia over at Julia's place http://jfb57.wordpress.com/ have been great fun and I find myself eagerly looking forward to the next one. Some have been harder than others, but I have managed to put something together each week.
The difference with the competition is that there is no prompt. Nothing. Not even a clue. Write 100 words (exactly- no more, no less or instant disqualification) about ANYTHING fictional.
That is the problem...where on earth to start! Having a prompt, whether that be a picture, a phrase even a few words, helps get the mind going in a direction. Having  no prompt has been a bit of a wall for me.
I have a notebook with LOTS of ideas in it some of which may be worth continuing, some of which may not be. Time will tell. It has made me stop and think.
I enjoy reading the entries to the 100WCGU each week and leaving comments on them. But I can see the point raised by http://www.hermelness.com/ who has disabled comments on her blog. At first I thought, "Surely that is the whole point of a blog, to see what other people think!" After spending some time reflecting on that thought I could see beyond that. It is lovely to get positive comments on my blog, BUT getting those comments doesn't necessarily mean that what I am writing is as great as I would like it to be. I started my blog as a reflective space. Now that I am part time I do spend more time reflecting on my practise, and a blog is a great place to put ideas down...I hope that it will help me organise some of my thoughts for career progression and development. The writing side of it I hope will help to improve my writing. 
So, do I disable comments or not? The whole idea of the 100words is to share and feedback to each other. I love getting the positive feedback, but would also welcome constructive criticism from people- if I have written something that could be improved (and what piece of writing can't be improved somehow?) I'd be happy to hear suggestions. 
I am a very novice writer and have lots to learn. I read avidly and get impatient with books which don't hook me with great characters/storylines . Hopefully blogging can help me improve as a writer. I think that people worry about leaving anything other than praise as they don't want to offend. As a teacher it's my job to help the children I teach improve through a combination of praise and next steps...praise sandwich. 
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleased with feedback I have had on my pieces for the 100WCGU, but this competition has made me realise how much support you get from a prompt. I for one would welcome some constructive criticism on my next pieces.


  1. I agree that having a prompt really does help to focus the mind. Even when I look at Julia's prompts and think "What am I supposed to do with that?" I find that after a while inspiration does come knocking.

    I can see your problem with the promptless competition - I'm having similar issues myself. I'm doing a writing course at the moment - the first 10 assignments are compulsory and the last 5 are free choice. I hated some of the compulsory modules (namely poetry and graphic novels) and couldn't wait to get to the free choice ones, but now I'm there I've come to a standstill!

    Maybe for this competition you could open a magazine at random, close your eyes and point. Whatever phrase or picture you have your finger on becomes your prompt.

    As far as comments on blogs go, I do tend to say only what I like about the piece for two reasons:
    1) As you suggested, I'm worried about offending people. I'm sure there are some who would welcome ideas to improve, but I know there are others who really don't want that - a quick look down the comments on some blogs this week proves that.
    2) I spend my days (and large parts of my evenings) in teacher mode, so when I'm doing something for fun - eg reading the 100WC grown ups version - I want to take off my teacher hat and just enjoy what people have written. And then I like to let them know that I dropped by and enjoyed what they wrote, so I leave a comment to tell them so.

    However, I aim to please, so I promise to leave you some constructive criticism from now on, as well as telling you what I liked!

    Sorry - I seem to have taken over your blog as my reply is nearly as long as your initial post! Will keep popping back to see what everyone else thinks!

  2. I agree, I have had one constructive criticism and it was really useful. So let's have a star and a wish - lol

  3. Food for thought indeed. Loving the prompt idea.

    Two stars and a wish it will be :D