creative nonfiction · Creative writing · indie authors · indie writers · Writing prompts

Exercising the craft—January 26, 2018

By Ekta R. Garg

Prompt: Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt—Strategy.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/strategy/

*****

In February of 2010 I started The Write Edge with a basic strategy in mind: use the pressure of a weekly blog to force me to write. At the time I had two young children—almost 4 years old and 2 years old—and I had spent almost a year wishing with all my heart that I could go back and revise the novel I’d written in college. But the demands of motherhood snatched every free minute away from me; if I wasn’t doing something with the kids, I spent all my time doing things for them.

I wanted to write, and I bemoaned my lack of time to do so. Then one day I decided I’d had enough of complaining. I needed a solution, and The Write Edge became the answer to a problem.

A simple strategy. Write. Post. Repeat.

I didn’t really think about creating a platform of building a readership. I simply wanted to sit down to the computer week after week and let out the words bouncing around in my brain. I’ve always thrived on deadlines, and setting up a schedule for The Write Edge forced me to adhere to those deadlines.

Along the way I met some incredible people, editors and writers alike, and while the internet has its share of problems it’s also proven to be a blessing to me.

Now, eight years on, I’m starting to sense a shift. The strategy needs to change. This scares me a little. I love setting concrete goals and meeting them. The strategy I want to implement would keep the goals but take away some of their tangibility.

My writing, however, has grown enough that I don’t want to confine it to the blog. I want to use it to reach wider audiences. I can only do that with a solid strategy that allows for me to continue blogging but also work on those longer-term goals.

In these eight years I’ve learned a lot about myself as a writer. One of my strengths is dialogue. It comes easily to me, and many people have complimented me on my characters’ conversations. One of my weaknesses is the tendency to over-complicate things: plot twists; character profiles; the overall goal of certain pieces.

I’ve decided that, in part, I need to employ the K.I.S.S. principle in my writing strategies. Keeping it simple often means paring the work or the routine to its bare bones and working with that. For a Type A personality who likes order and organization, sometimes indulging in a little frilliness (like following a principle with a cutesy acronym) gives the impression of strategy. But I can’t let myself get distracted by the frills and lace. I have to get to the garment underneath and make sure its stitches are strong and will hold.

So. The strategy must change. Some of the deadlines will change. Part of the structure for The Write Edge will change. As I rearrange the building blocks that make up my current writing life, I will need to step back from time to time and eye them. Tip my head from one side to another to make sure that what I see makes sense.

It’s a little scary, changing a strategy after following it for so long, and especially when it’s one that no one has necessarily pointed to and said, “That’s not working.” Because it sort of is. That “sort of,” however, is where my writing derails. I need to change it to “definitely.”

Strategy. It’s important—mandatory, even—to accomplish the little goals so that eventually I can achieve the big dreams. I need to make sure it can bend like a young sapling but stand as strong as an oak.

Here’s to a revised strategy and, hopefully, the achievement of one or two of those goals.

 

 

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