Writer’s block. Ugh. The dreaded phrase. I’m pretty sure we all know what that is, so no need to define the term here. What’s important to know is how to get rid of it, am I right? Well, the first step would always be to admit it even exists in your reality. None of this denial business.
The next step is to write Flash Fiction.
Yep, totally serious.
Flash fiction has numerous definitions floating around the internet. Basically, it’s an extra-short, short story. Most sites classify flash fiction as anything less than 1000 words, some less than 700, and a few even define the genre as less than 300 all the way down to a nano story of 100 words.
Seems easy enough, right?
Haha…Ha. Ha. Not so much.
Though trying to cram a compelling story that makes sense into a piece shorter than most blog articles can be daunting, the process can also be incredibly rewarding…and in ways that surprised me. I had been stuck on a chapter in my current WIP, tentatively titled-A Temporary Home, for some time when I decided to take a break and work on a piece of flash fiction.
Deep in the throes writer’s block, I hadn’t been serious about the story at the time and was really just looking for a good distraction. What I found was so much more. Here are just a few of the ways flash fiction helped me out of a writing rut.
I was working. Most of us have heard the famous Picasso quote, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
A week had gone by without any progress on A Temporary Home. For me, that’s a long time. I mulled over the scenes that bothered me…and then mulled them over again. I thought, I daydreamed, I read, and still, nothing. As a writer, I like to think of imagination as a part of the job, but when that’s all you’ve done for a week, it doesn’t feel like you’ve done much of anything. I needed work to do and flash fiction provided that work.
This sort of goes along with the work, but working on a new project allowed me to free my mind from present troubles and focus on something fresh. I also didn’t have any writerly guilt about it because I knew the story wouldn’t interfere with the work on my book. Flash fiction is a small enough project to be easily managed with any writing schedule.
Audition? In the world of writing? Sure!
I took the opportunity to try on a new genre for size. All of my work so far has been contemporary fiction, but I’ve always held a fascination with historical novels. Why not use this chance to test those waters? Writing a short historical story allowed me to see if I liked writing in the genre, enjoyed the research, and really, if I was any good at it.
Guess what? I loved it! Doing the research sparked a new interest in a time period I knew little about (other than biblical aspects I’d learned throughout the years). I safely assumed the story was fairly well done since Splickety was awesome enough to publish it on their Lightening Blog. So, big score! I found out I liked the process, enjoyed the research, and might want to explore that genre for a book in the future.
Yeah, yeah. We’re writers- we write for the process.
But really, don’t you just love typing ‘The End’? I know I do. Feeling stuck was really getting me down, but once I finished my flash fiction piece, A Golden Promise, I was ready to jump back into work on A Temporary Home with fresh inspiration because I felt capable again. I had set a writing goal, accomplished it, and reminded myself once again- I can do this.
All in all, writing flash fiction has been an overwhelmingly positive experience and I really can’t wait to do it again.
Have you written flash fiction before? What was your experience like? Did the process help you with writer’s block? Tell me in the comments and leave a link to your story!