Last November, in the middle of NaNoWriMo, I published an off-the-cuff post on the difference between writing in an Ivory Tower, and writing with other writers – i.e. the old “iron sharpening iron” clause.

It’s ironic that I wrote that post when I did, and for several reasons:

     * I was only halfway through NaNoWriMo, so it’s amazing I had time to post at all while blitzing through approximately 2000 words a day.

     * I was still fairly new to Twitter, so I was only beginning to connect with writers online.

     * I had not yet heard of flash fiction, let alone knew what it was.

It’s the last of those three points that gets me. One of the biggest ways for writers to connect online – to NOT write in a vacuum, to get and give feedback, to hone your craft — all those things I was spouting on about last November — was not even on my radar yet. Most of the tweeps that I network with so closely weren’t even on my follow list yet, let alone anything approaching a real “writerly pal.”

Jump forward nine months. This blog has gone from being one endless lecture about how to write, to actually showcasing my writing. Most of my posts lately have centered on all of the following, sometimes overlapping in curious ways:

Visual Dares (posted every Wednesday here)
Welsan, Soul-Reaper (posted from Five Sentence Fiction and Write for Ten prompts)
Five Sentence Fiction with Lillie McFerrin
Write for Ten with Donna McNichol

Then of course, I’m working diligently in the background on Castle 8, my current work-in-progress.

I’ve also indulged in one Menage Monday with Cara Michaels, and two fabulous flash fiction contests, including the now nearly legendary Once Upon a Time contest with Anna Meade and Susi Holliday.

And you know what? Now I’m plotting to join Emmie Mears’ flash fiction contest, appropriately named The End of the World (knowing her love for zombies, vampires, and all things edgy).

So posting all this flash fiction, and then writing on my own longer works, doesn’t leave much wiggle room for lecture-y posts.

And you know what? I am totally fine with that.

It’s about time I practiced what I preach, right?

The great thing, of course, is how flash fiction has improved my writing overall. It has:

     * made me more concise

     * made me choose my words more carefully

     * improve my writing focus

     * be a better steward of my writing time

     * made me MAKE time for writing every single day

All of these things are Achilles’ heels for writers. All of these things have improved in my writing life since starting down the surprising and well-traveled road of flash fiction.

sorry. too tired to link all the photos. but if you read the next paragraph, you’ll know where to find the links 🙂

But of course I don’t want YOU to miss out on the fun. There are tons of ways to join in the flash fiction challenges, and I’ve only named a few here. A more complete list is at the top of this page, in the right hand column, under the title: Flash Fiction Sites. (Clever, eh?)

I could give you the full hard sell, but you’re better off just checking out the sites – and the people – for yourself. (And if you’re not following any of these people on Twitter, you need to correct that little problem PRONTO.)

Which leads me now to the big question……

Which flash fiction challenge are YOU taking up right now?
Let me know in the comments!