I have just driven to work listening to the results of the BBC Radio 2 “500 Words” writing competition for under 13 year olds.
And very good the winning entries were too – although I was frankly appalled that some of the talented little beasts stated that they dashed off their winning entry with no parental assistance in about 40 minutes! How am I supposed to become “A Writer” with all these bloody child prodigies blocking the road?
The format of the competition (which is obvious from the competition title) made me think of my own first, post-school, forays into creative writing which happened while I was at the Cambridge branch of Barclays Bank Trust Company and followed my taking out a book of the “writing for fun and profit” type from the Milton Road Library near the office.
The only lesson I recall from this book was the instruction to write at least 250 words every day on any subject desired however mundane or ridiculous. And, in my lunchtimes in the Staffroom, I started to do exactly that – 250 words; no more, no less.
I recently found some of those ancient 1989 handwritten scribblings and jolly embarrassing to read they are too! One of them seems to be about what I can only describe as “mind-powered human flight” and seems to be a direct steal from Douglas Adams’ principle of throwing yourself at the ground and missing!
That one will not be seeing the light of day in my lifetime but others concerning Governmental intrusion in areas of our lives that are (in my opinion) none of their damned business may yet be cannibalised and included in blog posts already in the planning stage.
Anyway, after hearing this morning’s radio programme and recalling those earlier exercises I thought I would do the same thing again here with 500 words as a starting target given that after 5 years of producing stuff for this site my “writing muscles” must be stronger than they were 25 years ago.
It will probably be a “one off” project as, these days, I do like to run off in whatever direction my subject takes me regardless of how many words it takes!
It is, of course, necessary to plan the article you are going to write and I have started this one with the title and the sign off already typed leaving 497 words still to be found.
The other two essential things that you need are:
A subject – this one is self-explanatory – it is actually an example of what it is about!
A word processor with a Word Count facility – my late father used to love “commanding” his PC to count the words in his memoirs and marvelled at the speed with which it did so. This can tell you when you are approaching your target so that you do not “overshoot”.
So, why not have a go for yourself – you will find it is not as easy as it