I have sore muscles of both the literal and figurative variety. Surely you can guess the source of the literal ones. My ass hurts, my shins hurt, my hips hurt, my ankles and calves hurt and I'm loving every minute of feeling my body transform. I am taking full advantage of my week of running before HCG starts again this weekend and I have to pause for a few weeks. Today I ran off steam in the gym at work all alone because my workout buddies were both in meetings (isn't everything better with company?!?) This was the first time running to relieve stress and I know what people are talking about now. It was amazing to run away all the anxiety about the idiocy of the day and people surrounding me. I almost didn't go back!
The other muscles that hurt are my writing muscles. I got a wild hair this week after someone dropped a dime about this short story writing contest that NPR is doing. My first thought was about several members of my writing group who have mentioned in the past they had been toying with short stories. So, I posted to the group's website about the contest, whose deadline is Sunday, and went back to my crazy life. My post started this email frenzy with everyone talking about how they were going to just throw together something or dust something off and next thing I know I'm the only one of the group not planning on attempting an entry. Not wanting to be the slacker (or outdone!) I started a little something of my own. How hard could it be after all since it must be a story that can be read on air in three minutes or roughly the equivalent of 600 words. Hell, I crank out that many words on a weak writing day... piece of cake!
Let's just say that writing a short story requires much different muscles than writing a novel. With a novel you have the luxury of seemingly unlimited words in order to describe in intricate detail everything that is important. In a short story, you must convey in very few words a slice of a larger story that can stand alone all on it's own. You have to tell a whole bunch of background to get the reader into the time and place so there is an emotional connection to the story. You can't lead up to it with foreshadowing or several chapters - only a sentence or two. I've managed a few hundred words and a halfway decent start but it is far from worthy of submission. When all is said and done, I believe the exercise will be worthwhile because I'm building creative muscles I can apply to my other writing as well. And as they say... no pain, no gain!