There is nothing more annoying that sitting down to a blank page and being unable to vomit words onto it in a glorious, well-constructed, fun to read story. It happens. Even to the best of them. I believe it was Stephen King who once said, “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” It may sound weird from him since he has written sixty thousand books, but he is a smart guy who knows what he is talking about.
A few things to combat that fear of not being able to start or getting stuck is to remember that no one has to see what you write, it’s okay to write a shit story, and it’s not a bad idea to use writing prompts. Hell, I know I’ve written some shit stories (a lot that never even got finished) that never saw the light of day. I can only hope that they are deleted completely and won’t pop up years in the future. Though it is a great way to gauge how far you have come by reading old work. You have to improve somehow, and you can never get better if you never write.
I once heard or read (either from a professor or Terry Pratchett) that you should write a book, then put it aside and write a second book. That second book will be infinitely better because it won’t have the mistakes you made when writing the first book. Not bad advice, especially when you can go back and rework the first one. I think we all fall prey to getting too attached to our work. That’s why you hide it away after you finish the first draft and let yourself forget about it before you return. That way you can edit with fresh, unbiased eyes.
Writing is a lot of work. I think a lot of people don’t realize this. I know Patrick Rothfuss gets hounded because he hasn’t finished his third book in the Kingkiller Chronicles. For fuck’s sake the second book was 1,000 pages, give him some time. “But it’s been five years.” Who cares, do you want him to rush it and have it be bad? No. So stop bitching and wait. It’ll be worth it. Technology has killed patience (which is increasingly a virtue today). Anyway, writing is a lot of work. Being creative can be stressful. I won’t linger on this topic because it’s not fun.
So, moving on, instead of providing a flash piece this week, I’m challenging you to write a flash piece. You can post is as a reply if you like or throw it away or completely ignore the prompt. Up to you. Here it is: Write a story between 300 and 500 words where the main character is floating in space. They could be alone, or with people. In a ship, or only in a suit. Floating toward a star, or into a large ice cream cone behind Europa. Maybe they are descending to a new planet. Either way, start with them floating in space.