The Challenge 2015

About this time last year, I set myself a challenge.

I had been talking with a writer friend of mine about what we considered our strengths and weaknesses and, as an upshot of that discussion, I ended up volunteering to do what was a rather daunting challenge: writing a poetry book, complete with illustrations, by November of last year.

The topic was the First World War and the challenge was to complete the book in time for the centenary celebrations.

As a result of this contest, Grey Skies and Broken Branches has been available to download on Kindle for just over half a year now and, to date, the reviews have been largely positive.

Which leads me to the topic of my latest post.

I have recently been overwhelmed by the great reviews and feedback for my first released short story, Dressed to Deceive, which won the Inkitt Fated Paradox Competition earlier this month. In fact, the reception for this rather dark and eery tale has been so large that my fan base has rapidly grown over the past few weeks with more people subscribing to my blog or newsletter, eager to find out what I am working on at the moment.

And yet, as the more astute of you may have noticed, I have been pretty absent from the blogosphere in the last couple of weeks. I haven’t been able to post as often as I’d like and my writing has somewhat grounded to a halt in recent days. The reason for this sudden stop is not, as some of you may already have ventured, writer’s block – on the contrary, my brain is positively teeming with ideas at the moment. No, the reason for the halt in my creative productivity is simply because I ran out of energy.

There you have it – I basically needed a holiday.

Now, in reaction to me saying this before, some of my more vocal writing friends decided to use the old, ‘you must write everyday if you want to be a good writer’ line. I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of why this statement is flawed, but what I will do is put the act of writing in the context of a job. That is the goal, isn’t it? Everyone wants to be able to make a living out of their writing. And, as with all jobs, there are good points and bad points and every so often you need a holiday so…

Nick’s tip of the week: taking time out from writing is not necessarily a bad thing.

Just make sure that you have a plan for when you are going to start again and that you stick to it, just like you would when you go back to work after a holiday.

Now, the main event:

I have set myself another challenge, not too dissimilar from the one I set last year but with one key difference: it’s going to take place over a longer period of time.

This time I am challenging myself to write one crime short story every month for a year. The resulting twelve short stories will then be put together (along with Dressed to Deceive) to create my first collection of short stories and will be released online.

Beyond that, the rules are pretty fluid. If I wish, I can send these shorts off to magazines and webzines for publishing or I can release them for free online. As long as I have thirteen of them by August 2016, then I complete the challenge. However, I can’t simply edit a story and use that as one of the thirteen – although I can rework a story to use old characters or plots if I can justify it.

Will I be successful? If the last challenge is anything to go by I hope so. So, please keep up to date with the developments and feel free to hold my to account if I look like I’m not keeping to the challenge. Stay tuned for the latest stories that I’ll be entering into the challenge.

It’s going to be a fun year….

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