Being challenged is a good thing. If everything is easy and requires no real effort on our part, we aren’t challenged and we aren’t really learning anything and that means we aren’t growing. Taking the easy routes is, well… easy. That doesn’t make that the better option, but it can be scary to acknowledge that failure is always an option. But, if we fail, we know what not to do next time and then we can do better.
Which brings me to this week when I found myself challenged by a friend to write flash fiction. In their words, these little acorns could grow into mighty oak trees, IF I chose to write them. The goal? Under 200 words. But I’m loquacious, both in writing and speaking with people I know, so, I shot for under 250.
I’m not going to lie: this was challenging. That first night I drifted off to sleep with a story in my head but I couldn’t remember it all the next day, just the highlights. I typed out the story, and wanted to edit as I went along, but forced myself to just write it and keep my eyes on the word counter at the bottom of the screen. Two-hundred and twenty-nine words.
I felt a bit like I’d just run a marathon. Granted, I’d returned from a walk of a few miles about an hour before I got my short piece into electrons, but I felt the anxiety rise with those feelings of, “This won’t be perfect!” “There will be typos!” “What if the idea is terrible!?”
And therein lies the biggest challenge of the challenge: leaping the “I’m not good enough” hurdles. Imposter Syndrome rears up from the murky depths like Cabbyl-Ushtey, ready to tempt me beneath those dark waves even if my fears are not logical.
Instead, I needed to look at these flash fiction challenges more as I have improving poses in yoga (which, since quarantine… I’ve failed to practice more than a couple times). Little by little I will get better and my confidence will build. And, who knows, perhaps one of these acorns will grow into a mighty oak?
What is a challenge you have undertaken recently?