The Why of it All

A Norfolk flint wall, cracking with ideas

Well done all of you six month challengers who have plugged into the writing rapture and are producing realms of the stuff. I am in awe.

I haven’t been doing so well on my target of 500 a day, and that makes me feel awful as I was the one who launched the comp. I know I can find excuses what with being out of the country and all but it’s just not good enough, dammit.

I’m also being slack re writing short stories of late and I’m usually very on the ball there. I think I may simply be tired. Anyway, to motivate myself and hopefull you too, I’m going to re-post here a list of reasons I should keep working on my short stories (as well as my novel, but that reason is self evident).

a) Being shortlisted encourages and motivates when such stuff is difficult to come by in the writers’ life.

b) I can get published in literary magazines.

c) Money, if I win.

d) It keeps me on my toes and hones and polishes my craft.

e) By writing stories I build up a portfolio just in case I’m ever offered a collection.

f) It gives me an edge when applying for bursaries, residencies, funding etc..

g) It might bring  the attention of publishers.

h) Short stories are something I can work on when time is limited.

i) An agent once told me that it is important to build up your writing ‘credits’.

j) Agents are human and sometimes don’t trust their own judgement, so wins and commendations give you that ‘seal of approval’/credibility.

k) Short story writing is a better displacement activity than making a cup of tea.

M) Having good writing credits help when applying for writing jobs.

p) Writing short stories reminds me that I’m a writer.

Now, I guess I should stare at a wall like Leonardo da Vinci and get inspired. Hello wall, have you got any novel ideas?

Six Month Challenge:

Day 5

Word count: 1,900


About suehealy

From Ireland, Sue Healy is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre, London, a full-time Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Lincoln. Her book on theatre literary management is published by Routledge, December 2022. Sue is an award-winning writer for stage, TV, and prose writer. TV Her current project, a 6x60minute TV series, is under option. She is under commission with Lone Wolf Media, producers behind PBS’ “Mercy Street”, to co-write the pilot and treatment for a six-part TV series. Stage Her most recent stage-play, Imaginationship (2018), enjoyed a sold out, extended run at the Finborough and later showed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Her previous stage productions include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s short plays have been performed at the Criterion (Criterion New Writing Showcase), Arcola (The Miniaturists) and Hackney Attic (Fizzy Sherbet Shorts). Radio Her radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. Prose Sue has won The Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award, Meridian Prize and has been published in nine literary journals and anthologies including: The Moth, Flight, Tainted Innocence, New Writer, Duality, HISSAC, New European Writers. She has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from annual artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy. An academic with a PhD in modern theatre history, specifically the Royal Court Theatre, Sue has presented her research internationally. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She has a PhD in modern theatre history (Royal Court Theatre) and is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumnus. View all posts by suehealy

14 responses to “The Why of it All

  • Kori Miller

    Good list, except for (k). I have to disagree on that one on the grounds that it’s one of the ways we make our living! :o) Joking aside, I appreciate you posting the writing challenge. I am applying for a WIP grant in February, and the piece I am using for this challenge is the one I intended to have completed by then.

    As Walt Disney said, “Keep moving forward.”


    KMillerWrites (Twitter)
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  • saidandsung

    Hehe Sue, I enjoyed that pun at the end of your post a bit too much!

    Can-do cheers from a word nerd,


  • L.S. Engler

    Short stories is where I’ve been really failing lately, too. My most productive short work was done in college, and most of that was because I either had to produce one for class or for my writing group. I’ve always said I’m more of a novelist than a short story writer, though I definitely want to build up more of an arsenal of short stuff for all the reasons you’ve mentioned there.

    And even if you’re a little behind on the 6 month challenge, the mere fact that you started it and other people have jumped on board is phenomenal. I’d have never have embarked on a project that I’m starting to fall in love with if it weren’t for the prompt, and any words are good words. It might not be as many words as anticipated, but you’ve inspired a ton of words for me, so thank you , thank you, thank you. Sooooo much!

  • Susan A.

    Keeping up with writing goals is not easy. I’m finding that out for myself. Some days you are just not in the mood. Regardless, I wish you the best of luck in getting those goals accomplished. Short stories can be a lot of fun and help hone your skills. I’m finding that when people are given writing prompts, that can help. Entering a competition for short stories might be one way to go.

  • redjim99

    Picking up and writing from the ideas in my notebook, stretching them out to meet a word target, I always struggle. Normally I write poetry, short at that. The short stories I have written have been a bit traumatic at the end of the day. I do feel though that any kind of writing is good for my skills and this is stretching me. Remember – what does not kill us makes us stronger.

    Keep writing. I’m at 1319 words. And still trying to catch up on my travels and of course decide which poems to enter into the National Poetry Comp.

    But tomorrow, we move into our newly finished living room. Finally some room to spread into in out house. More importantly perhaps a separate space to do my writing.

    Have Fun


  • amyleebell

    Day 7: I’m to 4858. I haven’t tried anything like this in ten years, and I never got this far before, so I’m excited. During those ten years, I wrote from exercises and prompts, devoured a lot of how-to-write books, and enjoyed quite a bit of fiction. Hopefully I’m ready for this. I’ve been procrastinating all this time, because I’ve never felt “ready.”

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