challenge fiction writing

Challenge Yourself and Fly

A short while ago, I was given a huge complement by a fellow writer and good friend. She chose this quote:

Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.

RAY BRADBURY

…and said, “This is so you May.”

I must admit, I felt rather chuffed. Particularly as the person giving the compliment pushes herself in all she does.

It got me thinking. Perhaps being brave is kinda like my superpower and…

Will flying make a person more confident?

It is not always wise to go and jump in feet first without a plan, but often when a person takes a risk or accepts a challenge, they are stretched mentally and indeed they find they really do have wings. (Metaphorically speaking!) So what, if they have to learn to fly on the job…

Better to try and take up a challenge than to regret you hadn’t.

I think this certainly applied to me when I initially created Tantalizing Tales, and asked Posy Churchgate to join me. Neither of us had hardly any Medium experience, but we did it together, and I do love a challenge.

We both dug in deep and have enjoyed the leap.

But, this post is not about that publication, it is about challenging yourself in regard to writing.

Challenging Yourself

Challenging the brain is an exercise as important as physically keeping fit. Especially as a person gets older.

The brain is “plastic” and can continue to grow, develop, and make connections from before we are born until well into old age. When you challenge your brain with new and effortful activity, you help to build your “cognitive reserve”.

Fountain of Health

Many don’t take a leap because they are scared they may fail. However, it is a good idea to try and put fear aside when deciding to meet a challenge. Don’t be afraid — what is the worst that can happen? You fail? Big deal. Remember, others won’t mind, they probably aren’t even watching anyhow. On the plus side, there is the reward of feeling good about yourself if you succeed.

Start with a small challenge. That is what I did towards the end of last year.


Fiction

My fiction writing journey has been relatively short. Until four years ago, I hadn’t written any since school. And now it is one of my passions.

Initially, I wrote mainly erotica, but with strong characters and dialogue. But occasionally the odd general fiction story— I suppose a drama — would appear from me. When I joined Medium, one thing I really wanted to do was to push myself to write in different genres and themes. I wanted that challenge, as I know…

To step out of your comfort zone is the surest way to learn and grow.

After coming across the thoroughly noteworthy Microcosm Publication and checking out their prompts, I decided that whatever their four prompts were the follow month, I would commit to the whole month. I forgot that I was also very busy with real life work and online commitments, but I had set myself the challenge and eagerly waited for the first of the weekly themes, and was not disappointed at all…

Week One Task

Pick a New Genre: “the goal is to get you to try different styles, rules and conventions, by swapping your usual genre out for something new and possibly avoided.”

So I picked a genre I had never tried — Fantasy Fiction.

I was really happy with my final story, however, at first I was actually stumped. But fortunately came across an image on Pixabay and a story materialised around that photo.

Leaving Libre Behind – Libreians were nomads, born with a bird of freedom by their side…

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Week Two Task

It’s Time to Niche Down: “pick a sub-genre.”

I chose Noir and once more it took me a while to think of a story. So, knowing I am a very visual writer, I started with the header image again. And the story followed. I liked this one so much I changed the title to – The Dogs of Halloween and put it on my blog for Halloween:

All in a Days Work or The Dogs of Halloween – Almost as striking were her two companions — male Dobermann.

Image adapted from one by ntnvnc from Pixabay

Week Three Task

Time to get Oddly Specific: “Write a story using one of the micro-genres provided.”

I picked Small Town Story. Which I think probably suited my writing style in general, and I would definitely tackle this one again. And the story came before the image and is my favourite of the four. Once again, it started on Medium but kow you can find it on my blog too, so the link will take you to that one:

Normal Secrets or It’s Normal to have a Secret – Although married life wasn’t for me, that didn’t mean I wasn’t up for a bit of romance.

Week Four Task

Tiny Boxes for Massive Stories: “Specific micro-genres, 200 to 300 words.”

This sounded fun. And I got straight on board with a 200-word story to the theme of, A Dragons & Mythical Creatures Fantasy with a Mystery and Pirates.

A King’s Mission – The dragon swam up alongside, breathing blue flames into the air

Image by Josch13 from Pixabay

A Medium buddy of mine Smillew Rahcuef liked my dragon story so much he was inspired to write one of his own which included the characters Captain More and Captain Smillew! You don’t want to miss it!


I had enormous fun and felt I completed my missions to the best of my ability. I now realise that I can turn my hand to different genres of fiction and styles and will do just that more often. My brain enjoyed the extra work and I have to say my self-esteem benefited too from the confidence boost I received by completing what I had set myself at the beginning of the month. I would thoroughly recommend it. It certainly has helped me along my fiction learning curve.

There are many writing challenges on Medium, a very popular one is the 100-story challenge: Take a look…


Mmm Mondays

6 thoughts on “Challenge Yourself and Fly”

  1. Your desire to keep at it is one thing I truly appreciate about you. But you also know when things should be let go, which is great too!

    4 years is such a short time and yet, you’ve accomplished so much! Kudos to you! Thanks for including me in your journey 🙂

  2. I remember those four stories, and it were those that made me want to write for Microcosm too, and I am glad I started on that, as now I am writing new stuff again and not all of them erotic. Yes, like you, I like a challenge 🙂
    ~ Marie xox

  3. I like a challenge for sure – I have things that make me panic, but I try to push on through.
    Starting up a publication on Medium with you to share the strain has turned out to be lots of fun and has stretched me, in a good way.
    You’ve really gone out of your comfort zone with all 4 prompts here – a different style each time! I’ve read them all and you have done a great job. I wonder, are you going to make any of them a habit?

    1. I enjoyed it all – The small town was more to my liking and i have one or two others of that theme – I am not keen on writing fantasy – leave that to u 🙂 but enjoy sci fi now and then – I did enjoy noir and think it suits my style so will return to that one – habits are meant to be bad for u I thought 😀

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