Recently I've been inspired to get back into creative writing. One of my closest friends just had her first book published, and another is well on the way. One of my dreams when I was a kid was to see my name, on a book, up on a shelf in a bookshop, waiting to be read. Eventually, to become dog-eared and tattered from re-reads and loans to friends (the book that is, not me). I would fill reams of paper with inconsequential adventure stories about me and my friends doing random things in my hometown, from solving petty crimes, to discovering the hidden entrance to a faerie realm in the woods at the bottom of my garden, and on into creepy stories about the angel statue in the graveyard whose heartbeat you could hear if you walked by alone at night, and moved when you weren't looking.
I loved writing these stories, and I seem to remember we used to do lots of creative writing at school, at least when I was really young. This lessened significantly as we got into the older years, to the point where I'm not even sure I remember a creative component of my English GCSEs though I'm sure there must have been one. I don't know whether it's just me, or whether there's something in it, but the education system seems to be less and less bothered with creative subjects. Science and technology are very important to the future success of our species and the fate of the planet and so on, yes. I agree. However, I wonder, without creativity, what will we become? Will there still be music? Art? Theatre and films? Books and video games? I don't think I can explain my thinking better than Sir Ken Robinson in his TED talk entitled "Do schools kill creativity?" so I'll leave that there.
Since 2007, I've been participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I say participating, I've never won. The goal is to write with reckless abandon and aim for 50,000 words in a single month. I don't think I've ever made it beyond 4,000 (little over 2 days worth). I think half of the problem is that NaNoWriMo occurs in November, which historically is a ridiculously busy month for me (I know, I know, it's no excuse). The other half however is something I need to overcome. My inner editor prevents me from making any progress. I've found the same when writing for University assignments. It's like a subconscious need to only write the right thing. With this in mind I've decided to take on some writing challenges to try and loosen up. In the interests of making it easier for myself, I decided to look up some writing prompts online that I could just have a go with.
In my search for prompts I found M.Kirin's series, Virtual Writing Academy on YouTube. If you're interested in writing, you might want to have a look at them, but to give a quick overview. You get a topic (the first one is Character), and an open scenario that can be as flexible as you like. There's a few guiding questions to get you thinking and a twist to add some interest. Finally, there's an optional starting line to get you going. In each video M.Kirin gives you some advice and a bit of a pep talk, then there's 10 minutes for you to write. They include some background music that will hopefully inspire your creative thoughts with a 60 seconds remaining reminder (which scares the living daylights out of you when you're in the zone!).
Anyway, that's enough rambling (huh, typical) from me! If you want to see what I managed to write in my first ten minutes, you can see it on Wattpad. Spoiler alert, it's not a lot. Ten minutes really isn't a lot of time.
In other news, I'm going to have a go at participating in a collaborative writing project with some friends, so we'll see how that goes. It'll be less intensive than NaNoWriMo, so hopefully I'll manage to achieve something decent.