Back when I lived in Iowa, I spent a lot of my time online, mostly chatting with my long-time friend (and, in a way, long-distance girlfriend), Dani. It was Dani who introduced me to two of the greatest blessings I have known as a writer. The first was a writing community on Live Journal called Brigit’s Flame, where aspiring (and established) fiction writers come together to participate in friendly monthly competitions, broken down into four weeks, and governed by writing prompts. Every week, we were issued a prompt. It could be a word, a phrase, or sometimes even a challenge to begin or end an entry with a very specific sentence or thought. Each week, our finished entries would be posted as a poll, and we’d vote for our favorites. A certain number advanced to the following week, and by the end of week four, a winner was declared for the entire month. It was tons of fun, and a spectacular way to hone my abilities as a writer, especially when I signed up for peer editing and review, which was almost always insightful and educational. I made a lot of great friends on Brigit’s Flame, some of whom I am still friends with today on Facebook, and one of which I have even met in person and hope to see again.
Apart from Dani, another friend of mine who really took to Brigit’s Flame was Kimmy, another very old friend of mine who aspires to be a writer in her own right. Somewhere along the way, Kimmy, along with another woman named Kathy, and I started writing erotic material. This was just before Fall of that year. By the time October was rolling in, we decided to go rogue and turn October into what we lovingly dubbed ‘Pr0ntober’, combining the name of the month with the popular internet slang ‘pr0n’. We challenged ourselves to write only erotic short stories all month, using the regular prompts offered to the community. It was tons of fun, and a big hit with our own little social circle on the Flame. All these years later, we still have fond memories of Pr0ntober. This year, we decided to bring it back to life.
It looks like it’s just Kimmy and I this time, but she and I are competitive enough that we barely need anyone else around to feel the blood lust. We have decided upon the following conditions:
- As the month began on a Tuesday, each week will be considered to begin on a Tuesday, which means entries are due no later than the midnight preceding each new Tuesday. Each participant will obey her own time zone.
- Upon completion, final drafts are to be emailed directly to the other participants, and posted to Facebook (and any other blogs where friends can see them) without any indication as to whose entry is whose, in order to prevent biased voting. This shall be done on the Tuesday beginning the next week of play.
- Friends have until the end of Saturday to cast their votes; all votes will be compiled to determine the winner for that week. The writer who takes the most wins out of four takes the month. In the event of a tie, a sudden death sprint challenge will be issued to both writers. Terms to follow, pending necessity.
- Entries must be between 1,000 and 3,000 words long, must contain sexual acts, and must contain use and/or illustration of the three unique prompts provided by the online random word generator.
- Allusion to the identity of the author is directly prohibited; all details of each writer’s project are to remain strictly confidential until the votes are tallied and a winner is chosen each week.
Sounds pretty stringent, now that I see it typed out, but it’s gonna be fun as hell. I’m already playing with ideas for my three prompts, which ended up being much more inspirational than I could have guessed. Stay tuned to see it, and Kimmy’s entry, posted here!
Brigit’s Flame has changed a lot since I last played along, but I should like to think it is still a great place to be a writer. The link to the Live Journal Community can be found here, and the website, here.
The other wonder to which Dani introduced me is a worldwide month-long event known as NaNoWriMo, which is an acronym for National Novel Writing Month. Founded by Chris Baty, the first to make a documented attempt at the spirit of the competition, NaNoWriMo is a “game” played every November by writers all around the world. The goal is to produce at least 50,000 words of original fiction within the month of November, before the official end of the month. On the website, you can even log your daily word counts, discuss relevant topics with other writers on the forums, and donate to charitable foundations geared toward the creative community. NaNoWriMo has inspired spin-off games and competitions like Script Frenzy, which is played in April, and now Camp NaNoWriMo, with which I am not as familiar, but I believe is played twice a year, and is structured a lot like an online summer camp. I’ve been playing almost every year since, I THINK, 2008. Don’t quote me. I would need to look to be sure.
This year, I will be using NaNoWriMo to focus on all the writing projects that have been bogging me down for years now, the largest project being the one I have been slaving over with my roommate and long time friend, Jennifer. I think I have enough of our collective thoughts in order by now to really bang out the bulk of the first book of our series, which is starting to look like it will be just under ten installments long. I can’t wait to get started, and at the same time, I am afraid to jump in. Part of the reason Pr0ntober will be so much fun is because, by the end of it, I’ll be in full-fledged writing mode. It should be a promising start. If you would like to follow my progress on the official website for NaNoWriMo, my personal profile can be found here, under the username peasant_pen.
We’re finally moving! Our lease is officially up, and now we have a move-in date set for this Saturday. We’ve invited friends to help us move, and have offered to feed them pizza and chocolate cakes, and to supply them with plentiful alcoholic love. I won’t go on about this for very long, because I imagine I’ll feel obligated to focus an entire entry on the experience(s) of the first week, but I will say I am overwhelmed in more ways than one. Despite the financial burden of the transition, there is much for which to be thankful. We’ll have a small patio for the animals, more space for our stuff, and I will finally have my own bedroom, AND we’ll both have private restrooms for the first times in our lives! More news to follow. Can’t wait.
We are nine days into our longest separation thus far. We will not see each other again until the twelfth. I just wanted to report that I am dealing, I haven’t flipped out, we haven’t fought or bickered or quarreled or any such verbs, and the days are passing far more easily than I expected. I think I may be getting better at this. Only time can tell.
Let it be known that I have put in more applications, and that I am focusing on grocery and pizza. Of course, I have a mind far superior to these brands of labor, but for whatever reason, I feel continually thwarted in my ability to understand how anyone goes from the customer service industry to anything bigger or better. I’ve wedged myself into this continued stall pattern into which I’ve sunk so deeply, I don’t seem very convinced I can crawl out. It may just be as easy as making myself a plan — a list, maybe, of goals? I feel lost. Confused. I feel uneducated at the worst of times, like I’m just as ignorant and simple as people expect people with jobs like mine to be. I know I’m meant for better things. Why don’t I know better than to allow myself to settle for less?
I need my GED. This is ridiculous. I have to stop holding myself back.
Thank you for reading this week. I try to report in at the same time every week, which is supposed to be Sundays, but as you can see, I can definitely be late. I appreciate you stopping in, and supporting my effort to keep on turning my insides out, instead of holding them in like I’m a glass bottle set to break. I’ve been told by more than one person to stop keeping everything inside. One entry at a time, I plan to let my colors show. Maybe if I can see them laid out in black and white, knowing I’m not the only one who can, it will help me find myself… whoever the hell that is.
Until next time, this RicoChey. ❤