It was great fun participating in Flash Flood 2018 on June 16, in honor of National Flash Fiction Day. My contribution, Ten Reasons to Write, was the last piece to appear, at midnight (somewhere). For the most everyone who missed it, here it is:
Ten Reasons to Write by Dorothy Rice June 16, 2018
It’s more socially acceptable than talking or muttering to yourself.
If you write with a pen, pencil or quill, or alternate hands on the computer keys, it leaves one hand free for the candy bowl.
Your family and friends will label you the, “quiet, serious” type. When called upon to join in on a conversation you’d rather not be part of, you can look up and say, “Oh excuse me, did you say something?” eyelids fluttering as if you’d just emerged from a fugue state.
You will be amazed how quickly this catches on. In no time at all, others will be making excuses for you. You won’t even need to open your mouth. “Oh never mind her,” your sister, friend or colleague will say, “she’s a writer.”
After awhile, you may not need to talk at all. Said sister, friend or colleague will do your parts for you, while you happily scribble away, perhaps offering the occasional distracted nod, so you aren’t taken for anti-social or rude.
Snacks are not an interruption to the creative process, as they might be for other professionals. Actually doing it well—writing that is—is super hard and requires constant fuel. Easily manipulated items such as cookies and chocolates are perhaps preferable. But the occasional cheesecake or ice cream sundae may be called for. Maneuvering a fork or spoon while avoiding spills onto the page or (heaven forbid) the computer keys, can be tricky, but worth the extra effort.
Staring into space or into the swirl of steamed milk on your cappuccino is entirely acceptable behavior for the writer. It’s called “thinking,” which is something all writers must do. Trust me.
Some say walking is also effective and that it brings the added benefit of counter-acting the tendency for the writer’s muscles to atrophy. But there are, as yet, no empirical studies to back up these claims. My own research, on the other hand, amply demonstrates the critical role of unabashed snacking and staring dreamily into the world beyond your eyeballs, or behind them, if you’re so inclined. You might even experience an epiphany!
I’ve no idea how many reasons that is. I’m a writer, after all. I can’t be bothered with mathematics. But here’s one more, an important one.
Writing is the fountain of youth, seriously. Better than face cream or intermittent fasting, better than cross-word puzzles or learning a new language. You may look like a dinosaur on the outside, but inside, man, you are nimble as a grasshopper, and springy too.
Oh dear, the candy bowl is empty. Nothing between the couch cushions or beneath my thighs. Not even a stray Skittle in my bra. My eyelids are heavy, so heavy. I set the tools of my trade down, plump the pillows, and slump to a prone position.
Two hours later, I pick up where I left off.
Oh yeah, restorative naps, another excellent reason to write.
Dorothy, author of GRAY IS THE NEW BLACK, blogs about the challenges and opportunities of being a woman and a writer of a certain age in a youth-centric universe.