Writing Short

Writing Short

Write your day in 300-words

Yep, that’s the challenge. Capture your day in 300-words. Writing short. We’re not quite in Extreme Editing territory here, but if you’re planning to cover everything from that first cup of coffee through to putting on your PJs; it’s going to be a struggle. The philosophy of this writing short exercise is to capture the essence, rather than offer a chronology of events staccato.

My Writing Short

In my example below, I have sought to capture the image of a busy office juxtaposed with a leisure pursuit. I contrast disinterest in working life with the escape of running. I weave in family life and nudge toward physical description.

Shouting for Echoes

At last the week was done, and it had been one long week. Full of the usual meetings, deadlines and deliverables that captivated the interest of others yet barely registered with me.

None of it mattered now, the path stretching up the hill before me as far as I can see. My smile broadens, I run, I feel alive. Sweat beads on my forehead, I feel it run down my face, wiping it out of my eyes. My breathing heavy, legs burning. Alive.

This is where I come to escape, to find a stillness and quiet in my mind that couldn’t be more removed from my pounding feet. If I’m not at work I’m at home. Bedlam. Noisy children, TV on all the time though of course nothing of interest is playing. Never a minute’s peace, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now firmly middle-aged, as long as I don’t spend too much time dwelling on the likelihood of making 100, I feel now more than ever the need to be alone.

I reach the top of the hill, enveloped by darkness. I exhale. Knowing the work is done and the descent will be a breeze. I look around, acutely aware of how small I am in the world, an unexpected longing for the chaotic company I am so used to in all its forms.

I cup my hands around my mouth, take a breathe in and scream. The sound leaves, but does not return.

Live it large

The Extreme Editing article demonstrated the ease with which an excerpt of prose can be reduced to an essence. You may find it helps to write the long version and edit down. You might also consider defying some reader expectations to add interest. Let us know how you get on – leave a comment or head for Facebook and Twitter if you prefer, as well as our other social media networks from the links in the menu above.