2013 is an exercise in forcing myself to stretch my wings and grow, particularly in the area of discipline. I've been almost startled at how intensely my writing and even blogging world now revolves around the challenges I have given myself.
The 365 Challenge is essentially a demand to finish things. Not just any thing, but things people want to read. The parameters are hardly binding or limiting, but I do get prompts in the form of questions that make me stop, pause, and ask myself: Do I want to answer this question? How do I want to answer this question? There are dark moments in my characters' lives that I'm not much inclined to get into, but I know them, like my own dark moments, even better. They are worn from internal repetition.
It's also making me stretch because I want each piece to mostly stand alone. There are exceptions. The drabbles for 100 Word Stories need to stand alone, but not as stringently. You can't give a broad sweep of a moment. It has to be very tight, narrowed, and focused.
It was lithiumlaughter that suggested I do more reading this year, and I took her word for it. I've got several unpublished books on my plate from writerly friends and several more from BookRooster, which I'll need to review once I've finally done reading them. Which is also how I got started back into poetry. I yanked out all my writing magazines the other week and started flipping through them, to remind myself of the things I once knew and simply immerse myself back into that authoritative vibe.
I discovered Billy Collins poem, "Adage," and one of my favorites ever, "Anyways" by Suzanne Cleary, and so many others, and then lithiumlaughter introduced me to "Litany in Which Certain Things are Crossed Out," with which I'm in love.
...leaping out of the frying pan of yourself / into the fire of someone else
— "Adage" by Billy Collins
Reading the rhythm of language and the way intense things are presented inside of these poems has inspired me, and I found myself writing a good bit of poetry, stuff I never would have attempted otherwise, with experiments deemed somewhat less than perfectly successful, such as "The Un-Study" and pieces I absolutely love, as "Litterae" and "Normal written in coffee grounds."
Reading G. Jackson's novel-in-progress made me itch to try fiction written in a completely different style from my norm. I've hesitated to jump into this particularly frying pan, but I cannot deny the itch is present and well-accounted for.
Having the 365 Challenge page with its measured progress made me put together a page for the 100 Things Challenge, a blogging challenge I haven't finished yet, have barely even well begun. It made me want to get back up on that pony and start writing for it again. It's not so much about just finishing things as really growing myself by considering creativity, what it means to me, how I practice it.
So that's my 2013. Besides the other standard goals of get a day job, eat better, etc. Thanks all of you for how you inspired and continue to inspire me.