October always seems to bring out the best in my writing. Whether it's the cooling off of the weather, the turning of the leaves, or the earlier onset of dusk, I always seem to be able to get a couple of short stories written in the days leading up to Halloween.
One reason is concrete - I've been a steady follower and participant in the Microhorror Halloween short story contest. (4 Days left to submit!) The very nature of the contest makes going off on long, un-finish-able tangental stories impossible - which is one of the very reasons I started out writing flash fiction. It's important to FINISH stories, not just begin them.
I'm speaking now, coming off about 2-3 months where, in all honesty, I wrote nothing. I indulged in a glut of video gaming, Netflix, and reading, but with little to no work of my own.
And it's for this reason: writing is hard. Good writing, I mean. If you are truly putting down words worth reading, then there will come a moment when you realize you are emotionally and psychologically engaged with those words. It takes something out of you to spend that energy. Worse, if you're really into a good story, you might find yourself writing stuff that affects you, that hurts to continue with. Those are the stories that end up being worth something. But it's frightening to go there all the time. That's one of the things a successful writer does, I think - they brave that space within themselves and, knowing they're going to get cut and scratched if they proceed, delve in nonetheless.
This month, I've got two stories bouncing around online, with a potential third coming up this week. One is sort of grotesque and trippy, (How it Happened,) the last - also a Microhorror entry - is a "good old fashioned monster story" which, if it makes the cut, is good fun for the holiday. The middle one, though, is up at Thrills, Kills n' Chaos right now. Heartbreaker has elements in it that actually hurt to write. There's stuff in it about loss, but also about being the one responsible for hurting or even destroying someone you love - that's terrifying to me. Looking back at it now (I wrote this one some time ago), I'm very happy with how it turned out, because it still makes me sad to read it. More than anything, it makes me want to keep writing, because I think I can keep saying things in a way that will make people want to read them.
I'm about to embark on my first NaNoWriMo since 2009, more for the discipline of writing every day than for the "novel" I'll produce (though I'm definitely going to be working on one). If anything, it's a way of re-dedicating myself to the fight, one that I'm sticking with. This is the only time I'll be mentioning the contest, though. More than anything, I am planning on doing much more writing than whining about writing going forward.
Happy Halloween (week) everyone!