The Problem With Blogging

I love writing. When I started this blog, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing it for or how it would pan out, but along the way I’ve made some friends, learned a few things and let off a fair bit of steam. I have also radically increased my writing output.

The Friday Fictioneers, in particular, have led me to writing a new 100 word story every week, InMon has added a slightly longer flash fiction piece every fortnight and there have been a few other bits and bobs along the way too. If for no other reason, I’m glad I’ve got this blog up and running for that.

However, there’s a downside to all this flash fiction. One of the writers’ groups I’m a member of, Moosemeat, is currently putting together its annual chapbook: a collection of 500-word stories by the members, put together in a little book.

500 words is hardly long; it is still definitely flash fiction. But when I gave them my draft story, there was a general consensus that the first couple of paragraphs were very sharp, and the rest of the story less so.

As is true in so many fields, training for one discipline can make it harder to work in another. 100m sprinters don’t make good marathon runners, and it turns out 100-word Fictioneers struggle with 500 word stories!

I’m not sure what the solution is. I don’t want to stop FF, and I don’t really want to turn it into a serial either. With my novel-editing goals, I haven’t got time to commit to writing a longer piece every week this year, but maybe when it’s done, I’ll look at practising another length of story.

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14 Comments

Filed under Writing

14 responses to “The Problem With Blogging

  1. Jen, I’d certainly miss you if you left FF or only participated intermittently, but I’d completely understand. Blogging does take a lot of time and FF and other writing even more. Reading all the stories add a hefty bit of time as well. And it’s not as if you don’t have a few things going on at home. 🙂 From what you’ve said, it sounds as if you’re a FF for the year, but make the best choice for you and many blessings on whatever it turns out to be.

    janet

  2. I think flash fiction is a discipline that makes people better writers. 4 years ago I started writing Flash 55 and 160 characters. So the 100 words is a huge increase in words. I’ve never had a problem writing in excess and then having to cut back now I always have room for more (dont think that is a problem) I think your writing is excellent. Growing into the 500 words will be your new challenge

  3. I can see where you’re coming from but not sure it’s something to worry about. I think if you have a talent and a love of writing then whether it’s 100, 500 or 100,000 words it’s much of a muchness. I am doing the FF, thinking about some short stories based on my best FF efforts and have cracked off 100 pages of a book (a very rough first draft to be revisited when I know what I’m doing!). The key for me is just to keep writing. Try to learn something new each day and apply it to my work. Last but not least don’t spend too long on FF. An hour or so tops to write your piece and stick it on line. It should be seen as a fun diversion, not your main focus.

    • I agree – I never have time to spend very long on FF. But I do think there are necessary differences in different lengths of story, including the density of plot, the amount of complexity and volume of story you have to hold in your head. Not to mention the time per word spent on it.

  4. I find that an interesting comment. How can your writing style change after the first 100 words?

    • In this case, it was an expansion of a FF piece, so the first 100 words were pretty much a story in themselves.

      • Maybe it wasn’t a good story to expand? The FF efforts I’m lining up for longer treatment are ones where I feel there is a lot more to tell i.e. roughly same plot but much more back story, scene setting and description.

  5. I hear you, darling! I am writing two blogs, and trying to participate in various writing exercises, which is good — like you said, it’s getting my writing output up in an enormous way, but it’s difficult to maintain. Don’t serialize if at all possible. Flash fiction should be self-contained — that’s the challenge, isn’t it? And I’ve quite enjoyed your examples.
    Best of luck! (I’ll keep reading them if you keep writing them, darling)

    • I’m glad you’re in the no-serialisation camp – I agree that part of the wonder of flash fiction is to make each piece self-contained. I find it’s usually better for me as a writing exercise too, although sometimes I like to bring in an old character to a new story.

  6. And the more you blog, the more comments you receive and feel you have to respond to, and the more you read and comment on other blogs, until you disappear under a keyboard behind a stack of dirty washing and unopened post. Or maybe not.
    It’s interesting that 100-word stories might affect production of 500-word ones – you’ve got me worried now. I’m going to have to practise writing a longer piece.

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