Welcome to Micro Monday, where you get a quote and a writing prompt every Monday to help you build a portfolio of work. Learn more here.
Quote of the Week: “You learn to write by writing.” William Zinsser
Writing Prompt of the Week: A woman who goes to the beach for an early morning swim. Write about what happens when she steps into the water. 10 minutes.
Fall is here, and I’m feeling like it’s time for a self-guided, low-impact, high-output, always surprising, writing practice. Follow these instructions and by the time the end of the year rolls around, you might be surprised with what you might have.
If you’re new to micro and writing with me, check out this post here. If you’d like to read some micro narratives, River Teeth’s Beautiful Things is a great place to start.
How to Begin
I’ll kick off each Monday with a writing prompt, but you can write about whatever calls to you. There are more writing prompts here. Don’t overthink it or make it too complicated—a writing prompt is merely a way into the good stuff.
If you already write daily, consider this writing prompt a warm-up, a little extra writing practice to let your mind and body know that you’re taking this writing business seriously.
A few guidelines:
- Set a timer. Your phone timer is fine, but I prefer an old-fashioned wind-up kitchen timer, or even the one on my oven. When the timer goes off, stop writing.
- Keep your hand moving. Don’t stop to edit or overthink your words—the goal is to get them down on paper as quickly as possible. If you get stuck, just write “I’m stuck” over and over again until a new thought comes in (yes, this really works).
- Let yourself go anywhere the writing leads you. It’s okay if you end up writing something different from how you started out.
- Count your words. There’s a magic with micro, and it’s all about the word count. If you’re under, that’s fine, but if you’re over, you need to cut until you’re at 300 words or less. Ten minutes of writing, or one letter-sized page (handwritten or double-spaced on the computer), will yield about that much.
- Save the editing for later. As long as your piece is 300 words or less, let the pages pile up for now. I recommend printing out your work each day, or using the same notebook (more on this below), so you can get a sense of progress.
- Title your piece. Even if you feel like the writing isn’t anything special (yet), give it a title. Then date it and put it away. That’s it!
The Micro Monday Writer’s Notebook
Keep this writing in a special notebook or folder. Label the notebook or folder, “Micro Mondays.” Date each entry. If you miss a Monday, it’s not the end of the world—try to make it up (it’s only 10 minutes!) or just catch up the following Monday. Keep your laptop or notebook handy because you can do this almost anywhere. A quiet space is nice, yes, but if that time or place doesn’t avail itself to you, figure something else out. You’re a creative person—find a creative solution. You’re only looking for 10 minutes a day. It can be done."You’re a creative person. Find a creative solution." —Darien Gee Click To Tweet
If you’ve written some micro you’re proud of, share it in the comments below. Until next time, write well!
This post originally appeared in Darien’s column, The Writer’s Corner, in North Hawaii News, and has been gently modified for writer-ish.com.