I've just finished my first week of writing a story a day for a year (you can see my efforts over here). It may seem a little soon to start talking about what I'm learning from the experience, but that's exactly what I'm going to do.
I've had writing routines before. I've tried to write an arbitrary number of words per day - 1000, 2000, at one point I was on 4k words a day - and I've always ended up coming to hate the time where I sat down to write. That may be because I've always tried to write novels this way, and when you're writing a novel it feels like there's no end in sight. Especially once you hit what I like to call the scary middle bit - which is where I've been floundering on The Gibbet's Cross for the last few months - and you get bogged down in characters who feel flat and plots that don't seem to be going anywhere. I know from experience that once you get out on the other side of the scary middle bit it turns into smooth sailing as all your plots come together and the end rockets in to sight, but it's hard to tell yourself that when you're struggling to make the middle section work.
So, what's this got to do with Flash 365? Every time I've tried to get into a routine of writing, I've got about a week in before I stopped enjoying it. That hasn't happened this time. I'm already finding myself looking forward to sitting down and writing every day - and, crucially, I've already stopped worrying about whether or not what I'm writing is any good or not, and instead I'm just writing for the sheer fun of it. It feels like writing used to feel when I was 9 or 10 years old, writing purely for me and not caring if other people thought what I was putting out was rubbish.
That may seem a weird thing to say, when I'm writing for an audience, but that's what seems to be working for me. And I've already produced a couple of stories that I'm pretty happy with - Cactus, for example (which netted me my first ever piece of hate mail), and Wunderkammer. The titles may be terrible, but I like the stories and they came out pretty much as I wanted them to, which I can't say for a lot of the things I've written this year.
Crucially, I'm writing again. I haven't written properly for a few months now, and it feels good to be putting pen to page again. I may only be 2% of the way through this experiment, but it feels good. Here's the to other 98%.