Hi writers! Ready for a new monthly challenge? In June I’ve decided to take a break from trying to create a finished product each day (because–whew!–it’s exhausting) and focus instead on maintaining a daily writing habit, generating new material, and seeking out inspiration.
So our June challenge has two parts:
Part 1: Weekday Writing
For the writing portion of the challenge, let’s try this. Each morning (or afternoon, or evening, or whenever you can squeak time to write into your busy schedule), grab a random book from your bookshelf, open to any page, point without looking to any paragraph, and choose a sentence from that paragraph as your first line. Then free-write for 20 minutes, no more, no less. No pressure to turn this into anything, no editing, no judgment. This is about habit-formation. This is about diving into your writing without overthinking things.
Part 2: Weekend Reading
There are nine weekend days in the month of June and I made a list of nine short stories by women authors that I want to read and learn from. Women authors because, let’s face it, a lot of the classic short stories we read in school are by men. I also want to expand my horizons a little. I have my favorites (Shirley Jackson, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty) but I want to read more diverse points of view.
In a recent TED talk on the power of stories, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie had this to say about the power of stories:
“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.” We have so much to learn from stories, stories told my many voices, not just on the craft of writing, but on the nature of being a human being in this world.”
I’ll post each of the stories on my weekend reading list for this month. Whether you read along with me or create your own list, I encourage you to jot down one thing that you noticed about the author’s technique and one idea that the story gave you for your own writing.