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January 30, 2019

This article isn’t about not having a muse, per se. That dreaded no inspiration thing, like writer’s block. It’s more about just no interest in a certain subject.


I see all the time on forums challenges or prompts to come up with flash fiction. These are great writing exercises. They’re great ways to exercise your writing chops. To hone your skills. After being at this passion for twenty-four years now (as of this article), I love to write. I’ll write anything if I have a mind. However, I personally have no desire to write flash fiction. Does that mean I have no muse, no inspiration, no imagination?


I just don’t feel like it. I have other things I’m more interested in.


I applaud those of you that write it.


While I DO have a pet peeve about writing contests, especially ones where you have to pay to enter, I also will not participate in them for other reasons, which I’ve discussed before here at Fred Central. Without going into that detail, I will say that once again, I have better things to do. I’ll leave it to you that want to deal with the gamble and almost certain rejection. Pretty much like submitting blind to an agent, right?

If I’m going to write a short story, I’m not going to write it on any premise based on a contest. I’m going to write it because an inspiration hit me.


I usually submit to my writer’s group’s annual or biannual (depending) anthology. I get rejected as much as accepted, so there’s certainly no guarantee. However, seeing as how it’s once a year or every other year, it’s about how often I feel the muse to write short fiction. If not, oh well…

There’s no real pressure. When the muse strikes, it is almost always out of the blue. It can be purely fictitious, something non-fiction like my latest submission, or who knows? Something in-between, like my last rejection. You never know.

Do the rejections ever discourage me?

Uh…not exactly, as my double-decade history should show. I still have every story I’ve ever written, rejected or tutherwise. The rejections are all waiting to be tweaked and resubmitted somewhere if I feel like it. In fact, some rejections HAVE been resubmitted at various times. One was even eventually published. I won’t say which one! On the other hand, one day if my luck ever explodes and I become a famous writer, I may save all the rejections for my own personal anthology and the world can decide.


I was recently asked to write a short story for an anthology on a specific subject matter. That’s a cool idea on face value. I’d love to participate except for one thing.

I have (or had) no particular idea at the time.

Not only that, but I’m not going to force myself to come up with something because not only will I know that, the reader will pick up on it as well.

If the muse strikes, which looks like if it does, it’ll miss the deadline, I’ll just have to save that story for a different anthology.

The particular subject matter isn’t something I’d normally write about, so if I forced myself to write about it, it would be mercenary, which would make it technical writing. While I loved my job way back when – after all, I did technical writing for nine years – I was given the subject matter and source material and my creativity was on a different level.

On the other hand, as I write this, the perfect idea just came to me!

As it turned out, after I wrote this article, that inspiration turned into the perfect story and I whipped it out in about an hour. No starting, stopping, hesitating, going back and re-thinking. It just flowed out from A to B. There you go! Not forced, not mercenary. It hit me at the moment and I “whipped it out,” as Frank Zappa once asked his sax player (Ian Underwood) to do in the original Mothers Of Invention.

I might just make that deadline after all.

You never know.

Happy writing!

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