I can’t believe it’s been six months since I began this blog. At the time I started, I was packing up to move into my current apartment. Now, I am getting ready to move yet again and I’m feeling that familiar mix of anxiety and excitement, dread and hope. I’m trying to be mindful of all the good that change can bring as I move forward with my life. Without this blog and the therapeutic effect returning to writing has had for me, I honestly don’t know if I would have the courage to take this next step in my journey. Without delving into too much detail, let’s just say that I am walking away from an unhealthy situation and hopefully moving on to bigger and better things. I’ll let the poems I have published on this blog stand as a testament to this and instead focus on the positive things to have come out of this past year.
In addition to writing this blog, I recently competed in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge and have started submitting my work for consideration in various other writing contests (for example, check out KaylaAnn’s current poetry contest if you are interested in entering.) The beautiful aspect of such online writing competitions, I have found, is the sense of community and support fostered by my fellow writers. The NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge, if you are not already familiar, attracts thousands of writers from around the world to compete in a series of challenges. Contestants are placed into groups of around 30-40 other writers. They are then given unique prompts at the stroke of midnight on a given date which they must incorporate into a 1,000 word short story (did I mention they only have 48 hours to write it?) The online forums for this contest were extremely helpful, as fellow competitors could talk with one another about their submissions, seek and share advice, or simply marvel at some of the strange prompts the judges had thrown our way (my first assignment was to write a fairy tale, set at a boxing match, using a plunger as a prop—no small feat, let me tell you.) I had never participated in anything like this before, but I have to admit, I loved the adrenaline rush that this contest brought out in me. This also forced me to closely edit my work, since every single word counts in such competitions.
While I only made it through two out of the four rounds, I was quite proud of myself and noticed an improvement in my writing and my scores from one round to the next. The written feedback from the judges was so helpful and encouraging that I am determined to try again next year. Plus, it was just plain fun. Like moving, it was challenging, unexpected, and gave me a new perspective on things. I started to see some patterns in my writing, for better or for worse, and learned which elements were worth nurturing and which parts were best left out. So as I pack up my belongings for the third time this year, I’m trying to remind myself which things are worth keeping and which I should simply toss in the box for Goodwill. I don’t know what the finished piece will look like yet, or where I will end up, but I’m feeling more confident in my abilities; I’m delving into my inner reserve of strength to do what needs to be done going forward. Until then, I will keep writing and hope that each day will bring me one step closer to the life that I want to live and the person I wish to become.