New Directions by Allison Symes

 Image Credit:  Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos

It’s inevitable at this time of year we look ahead. A new year can mean new hope and a chance to start again. Though we always have that chance thanks to our Lord Jesus.  

This time of year is useful to evaluate writing goals and set new ones. Onwards and upwards, as the saying goes. When I review my writing year, I take comfort from the successes and nice surprises. Rejected stories will be re-examined in the New Year to see if I can improve their prospects. Rejects are opportunities in disguise here. 

Disappointment is a dreadful drain on creativity. It helps to know the writing life is full of ups and downs so (a) you’re not alone and (b) the understanding of other writers is wonderful. A great writing goal would be to encourage other writers you know throughout the next twelve months. They will need that support at some point. We all do.

I came to flash fiction writing thanks to a happy accident. I’d been writing short stories for CafeLit when they issued their 100-word challenge. My first thought was it couldn’t be done, how could you tell a proper story in such a tight word count? My second thought was they wouldn’t have issued the challenge if it was impossible. 

Two books later (and a third submitted), I’m glad I went with my second thought. This was an unanticipated change of direction for me here. Other things including workshops and judging competitions have come about as a result. Sometimes recognizing the right door for us to go through is one of the hardest things to do.

Being willing to try new forms of writing, as I did with flash, can mean letting go of your writing “comfort blanket” - the things you know you can do because you’ve always done them.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing flash. I love the form too much but it does mean I will continually strive to improve. The writer that tries to stretch themselves is more likely in the long run to achieve more. (And you can have fun here. You can also learn from what doesn’t work).

A writer with an Ideal Reader in mind is more likely to reach them (and it helps cut waffle. I go through my work thinking what does this do for my reader? If nothing, then out the words come).

My direction this coming year is to continue to be open to opportunities to show what flash is and can be. No piece of writing can ever be said to be perfect. As we are not. But we are striving. Someone open to trying to improve is more likely to do so. That same someone is more likely to write more as well and that alone increases your chances of acceptances.

Hope your new writing year proves to be a productive and happy one!   

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