Please NaNoWriMo, don’t sue me for the spin-off. It was just my way of not doing nothing writing wise for a month.
I have no time in November – not this past November or any other as in our yearly routine it might just be the busiest time. For that reason I don’t even think of signing up for NaNoWriMo yearly, because although I might write my daily dose of 1333 words on the first day an maybe the second and even a third, I know that I will be disappointed down the line, because it will end. But, I still wanted to dedicate at least a bit of time to regular writing during the month of November just to feel part of something bigger, so I decided on my own personal alternative – National Flash Fiction Writing Month or NaFFWriMo. I decided to write a short story every day of the month. I wasn’t a 100% successful, as the last few days I got busy and I stopped a few short. Nevertheless, I have 26 stories more than I had on 31 October, so I’m at least a bit satisfied by my effort.
The Rules of the Game
At first my thinking was to write 100-word stories, but the first one was shorter and I felt that if I forced it to be longer it would lose its effect, so although I managed a few precise 100-word stories after that, I decided earlier on that I was not going to put any restrictions on myself other than that all the stories would probably be under 500 words.
- I wrote 26 stories in 30 days. That makes my ‘pass rate’ 86,666%.
- My longest story is 324 words long.
- My shortest story is 6 words short.
- I actually wrote two stories which was precisely 100 words before any editing, (which makes me wonder if you can train your brain to write an exact amount of words on a regular basis?).
- 11 stories is/eventually will be 100-word stories after editing.
- A whopping 73% (19/26) of the stories was inspired by everyday events – either something that happened around me or by news events or articles in the media.
A few things I’ve learned during my NaFFWriMo
- It’s not that easy to come up with something new every day.
- Lots of ideas for fiction comes from everyday life non-fiction, be it one’s own experiences or things happening in the news. So, we just have to be alert to find ideas. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction and we don’t even need to wish for a muse or to dream up the ideas ourselves. We live in a crazy world full of people doing weird, crazy, wonderful and terrible things. Use it to create your own fiction.
- Restrictions inhibit creativity. That’s not really an earthmoving or new fact, I know. 100 words can be too much. 100 words can also be too little. Writing a 6-word story is better than writing no story at all.
- Sometime less is really more. I wrote one particular story which wasn’t bad in 276 words, but it also works extremely effectively as 100-word one. I will keep both for future use. Don’t just discard the longer or shorter versions of your stories.
- I had to discipline myself to come up with something every day. It was a good feeling to produce on demand, although it wasn’t always easy.
- One idea is sometimes – most of the times – followed by another. So, if I had decided not to write anything on some days, I would not only have missed out on one story, but on two!
- Ideas don’t keep ‘working hours’. Some ideas came at night, just before I went to sleep, so I made myself a WhatsApp writing group with both my phone and tablet and typed out the story or at least the idea quickly to store and work on later.
- I was a little bit disappointed that I didn’t write 30 flash fiction stories in 30 days (or even more, because it sounds so easy, doesn’t it?), but our current lifestyle is hectic and I was still satisfied that I managed to get 26 stories down. At least I didn’t do nothing. 3430 words for the month isn’t close to a 50 000-word novel, but it is still more than I would have written if I just decided to let the month pass without any goals.
PS: And just for the record – I know that NaNoWriMo is an American invention, but I think the name should change to IntNoWriMo to include the rest of us. Just sayin’. J
© Fielies (Riëtte) De Kock
Awesomest wife. Finest mom. Hopefullest Writer. Forever dreamer. Temporarily living in Cairo, Egypt.