A Song in the Shadows

A Song in the Shadows

A Tiny Tale by Kizzi

“She was Ren, a note dancing on the air.”


“Almost there. Try again.” Her grandmother was being exceptionally patient, but Ren knew she wasn’t almost there. Still, her grandmother looked so hopeful, she couldn’t help but try again.

She pursed her lips and placed her tongue just behind her teeth as her grandmother had taught her. Clearing her mind, she inhaled deeply only to exhale soft and slow letting the air pass through the small gap between teeth and tongue.

Her grandmother tilted her head, eyes sparkling as she strained to hear anything that would indicate Ren had learned to whistle. The faintest pitch would have been celebrated, but no, there was nothing.

Ren sighed and rubbed at her jaw. She was tired from so many hours spent with her lips taut and head lifted.

Her grandmother smiled gently and patted her hand. “Don’t worry dear, it will come in time.” Ren’s shoulders slumped as her grandmother pushed her toward the door. “Play for a while, I’ll call you when dinner is ready.”

She knew her grandmother would first pick up the phone to report on her progress. Despite her grandmother’s unwavering support and continued hope, Ren knew it was far past time that she should have been able to whistle.

She didn’t know about her father, but her mother had had the most beautiful whistle in all the land. Ren could remember few things of her mother, but her whistle would ring in her memories forever.

The high whistle of morning. The fast whistle of play. The soft whistle of night.

To whistle was to be part of everything. To communicate in a way beyond words, in a way that so far had eluded Ren.

The haunting whistles of her people filled the woods each dawn and dusk. It was tradition. It was necessary. It was protection.

Most children whistled as easily as they babbled as babies. Others when they formed their first words. Ren had to be taught such things. How to place her lips. How to hold her tongue. And still, she had never uttered anything near to a whistle.

Ren kicked at some rocks sending them scattering into the woods. Dusk was approaching. She would hear the night whistles any time now. Despite the ache in her jaw, she pursed her lips once more and attempted some slight sound.

Air passed soundlessly between her lips.

She watched the woods, so much darker here than nearer the town. Shadows danced along the ground beneath the trees where light played tricks on the eyes. She had always felt drawn to the woods, but without her whistle to protect her, she had always kept her distance.

Once, she had ventured in with her grandmother.

Their people avoided the woods at all cost, but once her grandmother had dared to walk the narrow path, Ren naught more than a toddler. Ren remembered clinging to her grandmother’s hand, stumbling along the dirt path, her face buried in her grandmother’s full skirts.

Ren also remembered a great sadness. The weight of the trees bore down on them. Their shadows leaping and twisting along the path. Her grandmother was frightened and such fear confused young Ren. She remembered even then, being fascinated with the gnarled branches, the mysteries of the dark woods. But their pace had been swift and Ren was a child, she was nothing more than a spectator in her grandmother’s frantic wake.

Her grandmother had whistled nearly the entire journey. Ren had thought her whistling beautiful, but so different from her own mother’s. Where her mother had rejoiced at whistling in the woods, her grandmother’s whistle faltered and trilled.

The woods were dangerous that is what their people said. Only a whistle, pure and clear and strong could keep the darkness away.

Or so their people said.

The sky was turning brilliant shades of orange and pink and purple as the sun dipped low beyond the woods. Ren listened for the first low note of the night whistle. Her grandmother would be calling her in soon, but she loved to watch the woods at dusk.

The gray light of coming night, softened the sharp edges of the trees. The shadows stretched and faded as if preparing for sleep. And then along the narrow path, that she had never dared to walk again, the Night Shade would open.

Delicate flowers in all shades of night dotted the edges of the winding trail. With leaves of deepest green, they only showed their true beauty at night.

Tonight as Ren waited for her grandmother’s call to dinner, she watched the Night Shade open and at last heard the first low note of the night whistle. The flowers seemed to sway with the notes, opening in time. Without realizing what she was doing, Ren had walked toward the edge of the woods. She only wanted to see the Night Shade up close. Curious if they smelled as wondrous as they looked.

Her foot touched the path and the woods seemed to hum around her.

“I should go back,”she whispered, but her feet moved from memory and the heady smell of Night Shade calmed her thoughts. The smell she remembered from that first journey years ago, but something felt different this time. Not just that she was older and alone, without her grandmother’s whistle to protect her, no it was something else.

She moved along the path that seemed oddly familiar for one she had only traversed once before.

But no, she had not made this journey into the woods, it had been a journey out of the woods with her grandmother. She gasped at the memory.

She walked for a long while, the woods now dark and still. The Night Shade glowing faintly along the path, lighting her way. At last, just as the last of the night whistles faded, she heard something new. A soft humming wove through the trees, teasing the edges of her senses. Stronger the sound came, dark and low and smooth. The deep notes thrumming in her chest so as to make her heart flutter.

The sound pulsed through the woods, until every tree, flower and leaf seemed to throb with it. She swayed and stepped in time, drawn ever deeper along the path.

At last when the hum had reached a point when she could scarcely remember a time before it began, it stopped. She felt the loss in her whole being as her body buzzed with the last vibrations of the sound. She stood before a great wall of rock. The cliff face stretched high above her, the peak lost to the night.

Shadows moved along the rocks. As spiders on a wall. She might have been frightened but the buzzing sound had left her empty and the Night Shade’s scent had filled her. A shell of a girl, without thought of the dangers of the wood.

Whispers echoed along the rock face, buzzed in her ears. The humming almost began again, but more muted this time. A different song, played with the same notes.

A shadow moved away from the wall, gaining size and substance as it moved toward her.

“Why have you come?” The figure stood before her, tall and broad of chest. A man, not so different from the men of her village, though larger. He towered over her, his face hidden in shadow. His voice was low and thick, and hoarse as if from disuse.

Ren didn’t know why she had come. She felt as though she were only now awakening from a dream. Mentioning the pretty Night Shade seemed a childish venture now, and the memory of her toddler self seemed fleeting. In the moonlit shadow of this man, she could think of no reason to be here.

More shadows moved behind him. Fluid figures, that pulsed in and out of the darkness.

The man hummed deep in his chest at her continued silence.

Without thought, Ren found herself responding in kind.

A hum built deep in her belly and worked its way out, sounding clear and soft and pure. A high sweet note of longing. A longing for the woods, the Night Shade, for her whistle that could never be.

The man stood still in the night. The figures behind him frozen at the sound of her song.

When her note faded away, Ren could scarcely believe such a sound had come from her. She clutched at her throat, wanting to feel the vibrations again.

The man stepped toward her and grasped her chin firmly. His hands were coarse, callused, and his fingers spanned her entire jaw. She trembled under his sharp gaze as he leaned in to peer into her eyes.

“Who are you?” He whispered and she felt his breath upon her face. Behind him the other figures shifted nervously, excited whispers running through them.

She was many things. A girl of eight. A Myra that could not whistle. An orphan. A child too deep in the woods. A trespasser.

“Ren.” She whispered, and found that her voice hummed high and fast as a bird in flight. She was Ren, a note dancing on the air. The excitement of a fawn’s first leap, a squirrel at play, a humming song more joyful than her whistle could ever have been.

“Ren.” He said and she recognized the sound. The hum of a song long forgotten. Deep and low and strong as a buck leaping through the woods. Warm as a wolf with his pack. Loving as a father with his child.

He hummed again and it was a song of loss and love. Of one who had been taken and thought never to return. A song of a forbidden love and wife lost years ago. The low sweet hum of a child born and the high cry of a child gone.

Ren did not need to ask him anything, she closed her eyes and listened. The song wove around and through her, telling of her mother, a whistling sprite dancing at the woods’ edge. And of the young man, strong and stubborn and brave, that matched his song with hers. A man of the woods, deep and dark and forbidden. Her mother, of the light, young and sweet and fair. With a lilting whistle that was the promise of her people, and he with a song so very different.

Now only half the song remained.

The woods had called to her mother as they had called to Ren.

His song faded and Ren regarded the man before her. Her father.

In the distance she heard the faintest of whistles. A long, high whistle calling her name. She felt a pull toward her grandmother, soft and warm and familiar, but then her father hummed and his sound was all she’d ever known.

“Welcome home.” He said and she took his hand as he led her into the shadows.

Free-Writing Friday: Whittled Whispers

Whittled Whispers

A Tiny Tale by Kizzi

“…they were not like him. They were not made of such wild and free wood.”


“The wee one slipped away.” The whittler eased onto his hands and knees to peer under his workbench. His joints crackled at the movement, and he squinted to see in the low light. He ran his hands, still large and strong even in his old age, along the dark corners and baseboard.

“Ah!” He exclaimed as his fingers felt the familiar edge of the wee one’s foot. Grasping the little figure firmly so it wouldn’t slip away again, he shuffled from under the bench and onto his stool.

Adjusting his work light, he peered at the little man who always seemed to be disappearing.

He was the whittler’s most recent project. At just three inches tall, he was the tiniest man the whittler had ever carved, and he wasn’t quite done yet, but as soon as the feet had been carved, the figure had been difficult to keep in one place.

A cobweb clung to the figure’s three-point hat. When the whittler gently blew the web away, he was surprised to find the figure watching him.

“I don’t remember giving you eyes.” The whittler murmured. The figure’s carved eyes, open and sightless, stared through the whittler. “Humph. Must be getting old.” He chuckled.

“Alright now, I’m going to put you right here and don’t move.” He set the figure gently but firmly upon his work bench and turned to gather his tools. On the shelves above, hundreds of little figures watched him work. The lion, forever prepared to pounce. The juggler, never catching his final ball. The footman with no coach. The girl with pigtails and pointed toes, always waiting for a crowd that would never applaud.

And now the wee one. The tiniest of men taking shape under the whittler’s expert hand. Lovingly whittled, shaved and sanded, to be placed on a shelf and forgotten. The whittler hummed as he worked and the figures seemed to lean in, remembering when they had been given such attention. When he had hummed over them. When they had felt his worn hands work the wood and bring them to life. When he had smiled and tutted and called them each ‘wee one’.

They watched, in silence as always. Some having a better view than others as they were stuck in whatever position they had been placed. Older ones shoved to the back to make room for the new. They wondered over this new wee one. So much smaller than them. The wood, rich and warm, more alive than any of them had ever been, or ever would be again.

The whittler rolled his shoulders and lifted his head. He held the wee figure up and turned him this way that, appraising him from all angles.

His boots, made to look like soft leather, slouched and folded over at the ankle. His breeches tight from ankle to waist, gave him a comely figure. The tiny buttons on his shirt numbered five, and his coat, double breasted had ten. His fingers, delicately made, were meant for courting and supping and perhaps, at times, dueling. His cheek bones, high and chiseled, complemented his square jaw and serious lips. His brow, sharp and straight, shadowed his wide eyes.

The whittler didn’t remember giving the man such eyes but surely he must have. He did not touch them again, even though he wished to smooth the right one a bit, for if the tiny man were real, the whittler feared he would be blind in that eye.

The wee one’s hat with three points, cocked slightly to the left gave him an air of importance. The whittler imagined he might have black hair beneath such a cap.

The whittler took out a soft cloth and a bit of oil and worked the wood over in his hands. The figures on the shelves knew the end was near now. Soon the whittler would whistle, soft and low, smile gently, and set the tiny creation next to one of them where it would stay forever and ever.

They loved the end. Not when it had been their turn, of course, but when it was the end for another, that meant the whittler would look up. He would reach toward the shelves where they waited so many years to be seen again. His hands might brush against one or grasp another to move it aside and, for a moment, the figure would remember what it had been like to be held in the whittler’s strong hands. The figures watched, and waited, each one hoping the new tiny man would be placed beside them.

The whittler whistled and the figures trembled in anticipation.

His eyes lifted and the shadow of the light might have been the horse arching its neck or the sailor puffing his chest. A flutter of air and the girl in the bonnet dipped her chin while the maiden on the rocks batted her eyes. The creak of the door and the goat might have bleated or the curly coated dog whined.

The old man blinked, his sight bleary with age, and felt along the shelves for a spot to place the tiny man. He moved the figures gently but without much thought. They had been projects, loved at one time, but now they were decoration, memories for his shelves. Things to be put up and remembered only when he needed to make room for new ones.

He cleared the tiniest of spaces between the mounted officer and the woman at the well.

“Up you go,” he said. He nestled the figure high on the shelf, his fingers lingering longer than usual. This one felt different, the wood wild and warm beneath his touch. The wood, small and so dark as to be nearly black, he had found along the sea. He had carved many pieces from drift wood but none had felt like this. None had held his attention once they were carved and at last placed upon the shelf.

He continued to grasp the little man. He thought of putting him in his pocket and it seemed as though the figure thrummed at the thought. But no, though he was old, he was not prone to such sentimentality. The work was finished, the tiny man in his three-point hat would stand on the shelf and wait for the courtier who would never come and the man who would never duel him for her hand.

When, at last, the whittler switched off his light and closed the shop door, the figures sighed and settled in to return to their long slumber. They understood the man was old, and it might be a very long time before he stepped into the shop again. It had been many, many months, perhaps even years, for the figures were not so good at gauging the passing of time, since the man had last carved a figure.

The man in the three-point hat was not content to slumber. He sensed the figures around him, like him but so unlike him in their sleepy acceptance of the way their world was. He felt them slip away, even before the whittler was completely gone from sight. The tiny man was more awake now than he had ever been, ever since the whittler had carved his feet, he had been determined to return to the sea.

He supposed it had been good luck in some ways to have washed up and been turned into a fine figure, but his home was the sea and he would not be collected and forgotten as these others were so inclined to be.

It was unfortunate about his eyes though. Pushing himself about when only his feet had been carved, proved less than useless and when he had rubbed his face into the whittler’s tools, he had carved less than ideal eyes for himself. In fact, the right one was very nearly useless. He might have used his fine hands to whittle himself a better set, but he was made of wood after all, and though his hands and arms were perfectly made, they were perfectly useless. His feet were slightly less useless. They didn’t move exactly, but he could rock himself a bit and move after a fashion.

He felt the mounted officer awaken when he bumped his horse. Then the woman at the well startled awake too. Curious as to the strange behavior of this tiny man, they whispered until all the other figures were awake once more and watching, as best they could, the progress of the man.

The tiny man, sensed the others watching him, but he cared little for them as they were not like him. They were not made of such wild and free wood. They did not know what it was to be real.

They whispered that they might go with him. They whispered that he might find the whittler, that he might make them seen.

“Silence!” The tiny man said, and he, as were the others, found himself shocked to hear his voice. “I seek the sea. I wish only to be free.” He thought it a cruel joke that his voice worked so well while the rest of him was nothing more than decoration.

The princess made of pine whispered that he might take her hand, but he did not answer her. He rocked on his tiny feet in his tiny boots until he was very near the edge.

The cat made of burnt oak hissed that he would shatter from such a height, but he did not heed the feline. He rocked ever closer until he could see the work bench far below and floor even farther.

The eagle made of walnut clacked that he might carry him, and this did interest him. He rocked and wobbled toward the eagle not thinking of how he would climb upon the eagle’s broad back or how the eagle might flap his wings, forever frozen in flight.

The tiny man rocked his way along the shelf but he was made of wood, wild and free, and his right eye did not work so well. He tried to watch his path, but he was thinking of the sea. He imagined soaring from this room and splashing deep, deep into the dark waters.

He did not see the bear, with fish caught in its claws, tall and wide on his right side. He rocked into the bear and then back into the bowing dog, forever ready to play.

The bear tipped slightly into the cowboy whose lasso fell upon the rearing horse. The dog pushed into the beaver whose dam was made of finest fir, and when it shattered, the limbs rolled into the tall toy soldiers. Ever at attention, the soldiers tipped like dominoes.

The tiny man of just three inches made scarcely a sound as he fell. The other figures, tall and stout, great and heavy, crashed and yelped and fell with great clamor.

Shuffling feet in the hall moved more quickly than they had in many years. Another set of feet moved too. Tiny feet. Fast feet. Young feet.

The light switched on and the whittler gasped at scene before him.

Figures lay upon the bench, sideways on the shelves, and many even on the floor. Squinting, he could just make out the tiny man lying all alone on the table. As he reached for him, the small footsteps caught up and a child pushed through the door.

“Grandpa!” The child said. “What was that noise? What are these toys?” The child scooped up the bear and held it tight to his tiny chest. Then he picked up the cowboy and held him under the light turning him around to see his tiny spurs.

“They’re not really toys.” The whittler said a bit gruffly. But then his hand closed over the tiny man and the wood, wild and warm, calmed his thoughts. He thought of the sea, gentle against the shore. He thought of his work and the hours he had spent carving each of the figures. He remembered the joy he had felt as a boy, stumbling into his father’s workshop. The joy he had thought never to pass on, but here was his grandson, setting the figures upright and gathering them into his arms.

The figures whispered to one another excitedly. They felt the old man’s eyes upon them but the hands were not his. These hands were new and soft and young. These hands were full of life and love. These hands had not made them, but they knew them in a way that brought great joy. The wooden figures preened and swelled and tittered at all the attention.

The whittler ran his fingers over the smooth figure in his hand. The tiny man stared up at him, one delicate hand cracked but otherwise unharmed from his fall. His three-point hat still sat perfectly cocked and his tiny feet seemed ready to slip away if given the chance again.

“The wee one slipped away.” The whittler surveyed his shop where his grandson had now gathered up all the figures and was having quite the play time.

“I think you should stay with me.” And he slipped the figure into his pocket.

The tiny man rocked on his tiny feet, but he could not move from the pocket. He could not see the world. He could not feel the sea, but he could hear the other figures whispering and laughing and merry as the tiny child helped them move and dance and play.


I’m thinking of sharing more free-writing exercises because what fun is a story if it’s not shared? I did clean up any typos in the above work, but otherwise it is unedited. I knew I’d get a text from my most astute friend if I had any typos 😉

Thanks for reading and I would love to hear your free-writing response to the following prompt:

“When the engine died at last, she knew they were well and truly stranded.”

Free-write for a set amount of time (try 5 or 10 minutes) and share your response in the comments. When you free-write, don’t worry about punctuation, typos, or grammar. Just write! Let your mind take you anywhere and see where the story goes. I would love to read your writing!

(Three) Story Saturday

I just got back from Cincinnati, where I visited the circus and saw the elephants for what might be the last time. As many may or may not know, the elephants will be retired in May. It’s a sad time for my friends, and many others, who love the elephants more than anything and have devoted their lives to caring for these magnificent creatures.

There is so much I want to say on this topic and I wish people understood more about the amazing bond between the elephants and their handlers, but I will post more about that later.

I didn’t get my post up this week because of the trip, but I will have lots of elephant pictures for you in the next post.

I am back home, but my friends are in the midst of a three show Saturday!

I’ll be drawing from a couple writing inspirations today for this story Saturday.

  1. The circus
  2. This wonderful post from Linda Ashman about dialogue only stories.

I urge you to check out Linda Ashman’s post at Carrie Charley Brown’s blog where Reading for Research in going on this month. There are a ton of great posts about structuring picture books, along with tons of great recommendations for mentor texts. I am learning so much and getting inspired!

Today, these prompts are all about dialogue! Three prompts in three categories. Use as many, or as few, of the prompts from each category to craft your own “dialogue-only” story. If you want to write in true picture book form, give yourself a word limit…200 or 300 words or less.

Now, I present….inspiration for your Story Saturday 🙂

Scene

  1. The show’s about to start, your characters are backstage but they are missing an essential prop for their gag.
  2. Your characters are visiting a circus for the first time.
  3. Your characters have never seen an elephant before!

Characters

  1. The Ringmaster, and a clown
  2. Little girl and her grandpa
  3. The tiger trainer, the elephant trainer, and the camel trainer

Dilemma

  1. The clown’s shoes have been stolen.
  2. The tent isn’t up yet and the show will start soon.
  3. The camels don’t like their new costumes.

Hope these prompts spark some fun dialogue! As always, I would love to hear how your story turned out or your thoughts on “dialogue-only” stories.

May all your days be circus days!

Three Start Saturday

Happy (Three Show) Saturday!

I love writing on Saturday mornings. Maybe it’s the weekend feel that puts me in a good mood and makes anything seem possible. If you’ve visited my blog before, you probably know I love to share writing inspiration on Saturdays. And today, I thought three story starts could spark something fun 🙂

You know me, everything in threes 😉 Below, are three story starts, and I attempted to put three key elements in each start (Person, place, objective, problem, etc). If the three elements aren’t apparent, I failed. Yesterday was about story with holes, maybe I should reread it 😉

This is my first time writing story starts for the blog, hopefully they are helpful. You can use the start exactly as written or just use it for inspiration.

I’d love to hear what you come up with! Hopefully these starts spark a wonderful story start of your own.

Start #1

April had one goal this year, to discover a new comet, and not get stuffed in a locker. Okay, two goals, but she really hated lockers.

Start #2

When Danny Dragon tried to breathe fire, he only blew smoke. He could fly higher than all the other dragons, but what good was that if he couldn’t scorch the earth with his breath?

Start #3

The old house had secrets…and locked doors. Lots of locked doors. His mom thought it was silly, but Henry knew he had seen someone looking out the attic window.

Thanks for stopping by and happy writing!

 

 

 

Three Scene Saturday

No dice today, but it’s still a Three Show Saturday sort of day! 🙂

Instead of dice you get three guidelines, three words, and three scenes.

Use the suggested guidelines to craft your story from the provided words and scenes. I grouped the words by threes, but if you’d like to mix and match across groupings, go for it. This is supposed to be a fun exercise so bend the rules (a little 😉 ) if you like.

I hope you have fun and enjoy your (Three Show) Saturday!

Guidelines

  • Tell a story in 50 words or less including one of the scenes or three of the prompt words.
  • Create a Haiku using one of the scenes or three of the prompt words as inspiration.
  • Write a fantasy story in 300 words or less set in one of the scenes with a character inspired by three of the words.

Words

  • Ogre, Unraveling, Bucket
  • Thorns, Falling, Seahorse
  • Tomb, Searching, Brigade

Scenes

DSCN0312

DSCN0239

IMG_0288 (2)

Happy Writing!

Saturday Show and Tell

Happy (Three Show) Saturday!

You know what that means….time for another Saturday Show and Tell!

Three’s the name and three’s the game

I’m starting to like this game 🙂

Same rules apply as last week, I will give the story dice a roll and Show them to you.

 

Choose wisely.

Choose three of the dice and use those elements to Tell a story.

If you read my posts about writer’s block, this could be a good opportunity to employ those techniques. Hopefully you’re inspired to bust out a short story or a scene for a current work in progress.

As always, I love to hear your comments. I would also love to hear which dice you chose and your story if you’d like to share!

May all your (writing) days be circus days!

Block That Bug!

Yesterday I told you my personal pep talk which I use to fend off writer’s block. Today I want to share a couple exercises I use to get my writing back on track. Or to just get back to writing anything 🙂

Free Writing

I’m sure most are familiar with free writing but for those of you who are not, free writing is simply sitting down and writing (or typing) whatever pops into your head. The rules are that you must keep writing for a set amount of time and you must write the first thing that pops into your head. With free writing there is no editing as you go or changing anything once it’s written. Ideally you would write as fast as you could to prevent any errant thoughts from creeping in and disrupting the flow. And flow is what you’re aiming for.

The idea behind free writing is that it gets you out of a self-conscious state and into your writing groove where the thoughts can flow naturally and without filter.

I like free writing, but I’ve found that a bit more direction helps my free writing sessions become more productive. Free writing in its purest form often produces an abundance of incoherent ramblings with a hidden gem or two. Here are two methods I use to make my free writing session more productive and fun.

  1. Get into character.

    This exercise is free writing in its purest form except you get into your character’s head instead of your own. First visualize your character, how they talk, walk, smile, frown, etc. Think about all their physical and emotional characteristic. Now let your character talk. Maybe you imagine your character walking down the street, what do they see? How do they interact with the world around them? I like this exercise because it accomplishes two things, it gets me writing and I get to know my character.

  2. Pick a scene.

    Sometimes I have a great idea for a story but I just can’t get the beginning right. I hate every first sentence I create so I end up not typing anything. But I will have a great idea for some other scene in the story. If you find yourself stuck in the beginning of the story (or the middle or even the end) start writing any scene that pops into your head. Don’t worry about where it will fit in the story just focus on getting those words on paper. Maybe the scene you write will never make it into your final story or maybe it will. Maybe it will reveal something about your character you didn’t know or reveal an underlying theme you hadn’t considered.

Writing Contests

Sometimes when I’m feeling especially uninspired, I search for writing contests. For the purpose of beating writer’s block I search for flash fiction contests. I find writing contests help me beat writer’s block in a few ways.

  1. Changes up the writing routine.

    Contests often have specific word counts, themes, etc. By adhering to these specific guidelines and having to meet a deadline it changes the way I approach the project.

  2. Sets an attainable and specific goal.

    Completing a piece specifically for a contest achieves a goal. Even if you don’t submit the piece or don’t win, you finished a project! There’s nothing more satisfying than finishing a piece.

  3. Less pressure.

    For me, contests are fun. All writing is supposed to be fun…right? But sometimes I put too much pressure on the projects that mean the most to me and are closest to my heart. A contest piece however, can be viewed as an exercise in writing. I tend to put less pressure on myself and so the words come easily. Maybe the contest piece turns out great, maybe it doesn’t, but it gives your brain a writing workout.

Writing contests, like writing prompts, add a little fun and motivation when your existing projects might feel overwhelming.

I have started compiling a List of Free Writing Contests and I would invite you to check it out. There might just be something that spurs an idea or sounds like a lot of fun.

Happy (free) writing!