I’ve started regularly attending a weight training class at the gym. It’s good – I can feel myself getting stronger, and hopefully healthier. Plus I’ve put on weight and that’s muscle, not chocolate brownie, right? Anyway, this morning the class leader said something that flicked a switch in my mind. She reminded us that doing only one sort of exercise isn’t good for our bodies, and we should switch it up by joining another class as well.
Well, let me just be clear. I go to the gym when Sebastian’s schedule, the gym’s babysitting centre and my motivation all come together in beautiful harmony. So it’s no good telling me to add something else into the mix, lady, I’ll workout when I can and I’ll attend whatever class happens to be on then.
But what’s true for the physical muscles seems to me to be true for the writing muscles too. When I started Friday Fiction, I thought 100 words was a crazy limit for a story, but now I’m several years in, and it comes much more easily. It’s not longer an extreme writing workout.
Moreover, writing almost exclusively flash fiction for months at a time has weakened my other writing muscles. I recently showed a longer short story (1600 words!) to one of my writing groups and their response can be summarized as “well-written, but saggy in the middle”. It’s a fair comment; it does feel a little loose.
I go to the gym to avoid a saggy middle, so I think I need to mix up my writing’s workouts too. I’ll still be doing FF and InMon when I can, but I’m not going to let them be all I write, and sometimes that means I won’t be doing them for a while.
I hope you stick with me, but if I skip a day or a week, I wanted you to know it means I’m flexing a different writing muscle … and almost certainly feeling the burn!