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Whenever I hear someone described as a “prolific writer,” I get a surge of envy. According to Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way, anytime you feel jealousy or envy, it is a message from your inner self as to what you really want. They are not healthy emotions to carry around all the time, but they are not necessarily negative emotions to encounter. If heeded appropriately they can tell you a great deal about yourself and lead you in the right direction. And when I hear, “prolific writer,” I just like the sound of it…and the idea of it…very much. I realize it’s something I’m not, and it’s something I really want to be.

Now, making New Year’s resolutions is like walking through a field of land mines…bound to blow up in your face. In fact, the only New Year’s resolution I ever kept was “drink more champagne.” The rest (just a bunch of dressed up “shoulds”), have ended up broken and forgotten, and left me feeling worse than before I made them. That said, when I think of the approaching New Year, I can’t help but imagine what I’d like to accomplish in it. One of those things is to write more…not just work on the book I’m hoping to finally finish and send out into the great big world, but write more short stories, other novels and novellas, maybe even some academic papers and poetry!

The fact that I’ve written this blog, every day, come what may, for 101 days now, reassures me that if I say I’m going to do something, I actually can. I’ve proven to myself that when push comes to shove, I am capable of it. So in the New Year, I’m going to write more. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to set myself up for success with this (rather than land mine failure), but the first idea I have is to sign up for the 9th Annual Short Story Challenge put on by NYC Midnight, LLC.

“The 9th Annual Short Story Challenge is a creative writing competition open to writers around the world. There are 3 rounds of competition. In the 1st Round (January 16-24, 2015), writers are placed randomly in heats and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment. Writers have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words. The judges choose a top 5 in each heat to advance to the 2nd Round (March 12-15, 2015) where writers receive new assignments, only this time they have just 3 days to write a 2,000 word (maximum) short story. Judges choose finalists from the 2nd Round to advance to the 3rd and final round of the competition where writers are challenged to write a 1,500 word (maximum) story in just 24 hours (April 24-25, 2015). A panel of judges review the final round stories and overall winners are selected. Sound like fun? Join the competition below…”

http://www.nycmidnight.com/Competitions/SSC/Challenge.htm

In looking at the dates of the assignments, I can already see land mines on the horizon. My husband’s birthday falls in the first round…we’ll be returning from Yosemite during the third round (if I make it that far in the competition). But then I realized, there will always be land mines. For example, every day, I could find a dozen reasons (aka, excuses) not to write this blog; but I just don’t have that choice…even when I hit a land mine, I have to keep going. I want it to be that way with my other writing. So I’m signing up for the Challenge. Right now.

I don’t want to die with all these wonderful stories still in my head. Instead, on my death bed, I want to be called a “prolific writer.” It doesn’t matter what comes from it…just that I liked the sound of it and did it.

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