Final Fridays

I’m not one for resolutions around the start of a new year. Commitments made while basking in the glow of holidays and indulgence are neither credible nor binding, if past experience is anything to go by.

Man in silhouette doing warmup stretches next to a park bench in front of a sunrise

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Life’s starting to catch up with me though. Health-wise, I’ve been given some firm directions. Get my weight down and my fitness up, get my blood pressure under control, and knock the cholesterol back a few points. That means more exercise and a more watchful diet. That in turn means reimposing a bit of discipline on myself, or risk having an Event f some description.

Okay then. While I’m at it, let’s throw a bit of writing into the mix.

It’s been more than 18 months since my last blog entry. It’s been much, much longer than that since I’ve completed any fiction writing, especially if you don’t count song lyrics [1]. And I can’t even remember the last time I sent out a newsletter, but it will have been at least three years ago.

It’s what you might call a fallow period. I’ve spent a lot of that time trying to get my head straight, being increasingly anxious about not getting my head straight, and failing to adequately deal with that anxiety. Also the previously mentioned high blood pressure, a couple of surgeries, and constant nagging fatigue. Oh, and finally, after a couple of years of working at it, at last getting a diagnosis of attention-deficit disorder. Dealing with all of this using tried and true methods like stress eating, freaking out at the simplest problems, staying up too late and playing video games for hours at a time. You know, the way our prehistoric forebears did.

All of which is to say, I haven’t spent a lot of time writing.

I haven’t stopped thinking about it though, and it might just be the vacation-based relaxation talking, but I think I’m ready to get back into it now. I have a few plans for the year, including producing another collection of short fiction to accompany Mnemo’s Memory and Other Fantastic Tales. That came out more than five years ago. (I’ll just take a deep breath as I contemplate that). In my mind, at least, I’m well overdue.

The trouble with that plan is I don’t really have enough material available to justify a collection at this point. There’s a decent selection of flash fiction to pick and choose from, but I’d prefer to marry those up with longer pieces. Which means I have to write some. Which means I have to rebuild some good writing habits.

My Friday Flash Fiction project was an attempt to maintain those habits, but I don’t think a story-every-week goal is sustainable just now. (Possibly not ever – the run-up to the 100th straight week of FFF undoubtedly contributed to burnout, though on reflection it probably wasn’t the worst offender on that score).

Rather than just straight back into the deep end, I’ve settled on a compromise I’m calling Final Friday Fiction. I’ll post a new story on the site on the last Friday of every month. I’m aiming for flash length to keep my ambitions in check, but unlike the old flash fiction project, I won’t necessarily restrict myself to the thousand-word limit if a story needs a bit more breathing space. (Certainly some of the old Friday flash stories suffered a little from the artificiality of the 1K restriction). Once a month feels a lot more doable than once a week,certainly.

I have a couple of other projects underway, but I’ll talk about them as I go. And I might see about resurrecting the newsletter at some point, though I’ll revisit what I’m doing there and keep it primarily to writing news or shoutouts for other good things I’ve been reading.

What will the first story be about? Dunno, haven’t thought that far ahead yet. It’ll be a nice surprise for all of us. So, follow the friday-flash tag or just check back in at the end of the month to see if I can hold myself to account even once.

If you haven’t heard from me by March, don’t send out any search parties.


[1] I do actually count song lyrics, but I treat them more as a fun side project than part of my writing practice. That way, they stay fun. If and when my musical friends and I ever get around to recording them, I’ll let you know.


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