As part of my plan to build my artistic/illustrative skills this year, I have begun drawing every day and sharing pictures on Twitter. It’s a way of combating my self-doubt by just throwing myself into it and then putting the work out there. There’s no time to worry it’s not good enough and psyche myself out – I just draw and tweet. I’ve been loving it and the more I draw, the more I want to draw.
I don’t want to leave my writing gathering dust though while I focus on my exciting new project and I wondered if a similar ‘produce something quickly and fling it out there’ approach might work with writing too. So this morning I set myself a ‘ten to one’ story challenge. I first attempted one last February and found it fun. The idea is you write a story ten sentences long. The first sentence is ten words long, the next nine, then eight… all the way down to one.
Here’s this morning’s attempt:
Katherine was hunched over her easel, struggling with a landscape.
Once, her artwork had adorned the galleries of Europe.
These days her tremors made painting almost impossible.
Frustrated tears rained down on the canvas.
Greens and ochres swirled and splashed.
Then – a presence beside her.
The young girl gasped.
“Grandma – the colours!
It’s not a perfectly-honed piece but I do like the way this challenge makes you think about the words you use. I also find writing with constraints like this oddly liberating – maybe it’s because I can’t spend hours trying to make it perfect (I mean, that last sentence clearly needed to be two words long but it couldn’t be) so I feel free to have a crack at it. Just like with drawing.