As partial compensation for this, I wanted to make all my readers aware of a little project I'm going to be taking part in through July. The challenge, dubbed 'Project: Create', tasks participants with creating something every day for a whole month. Beyond that core tenet, the challenge is pretty liberal - your creations can be short stories, poems, songs, pieces of music, drawings, sculptures... pretty much anything, as long as it's something you've created. There aren't any demands on quantity or quality - you just have to create something every day.
While I don't have a hard-and-fast plan for how I'm going to spend every one of the thirty-one days ahead of me, I have put together a little check-list of the kinds of things I'll be creating as part of the project.
- Short Stories - Being as this is a writing blog and I like to think of myself as primarily a writer of fictional prose, this one should come as a surprise to nobody. I suspect that quite a few of my creations will end up being in a short story format.
- Poems - Poetry usually has the lowest word count of any written form, so I know I'm going to have to exercise an iron will not to simply fall back on poetic form if the project starts to feel a little overwhelming. It's not my usual medium as a writer, but when I do use it, I'm determined to put everything into it and try to create something really special.
- Music - With Project 17 now well underway, this challenge seems like the perfect opportunity to focus a little more on the creative stage of the song cycle. There are a handful of songs that need finishing lyrically, so it would be great to get those finished next month. I'll also hopefully have two clear days for recording (July 8th and July 22nd), so I'll be sure to try and capitalise on those opportunities and get something recorded to share with you.
- Reviews - I don't write a lot of reviews, mainly because I don't consider myself to be authoritative enough on any subject to put one together. However, there are a few things I've really wanted to write overviews of recently (a couple of recently-released albums and a gig I've attended both spring to mind). Maybe I'll give that a go during the project.
- Drawing - I used to draw a lot. Back in secondary school, when I was laying down foundations for fantasy stories, I'd spend hours doodling concept art of characters, weapons and vehicles. These days I very rarely draw, but this challenge seems like the perfect excuse to pick up a pencil and see if I can still fashion my ideas into something vaguely recognisable.
- Podcasts - I'm not sure if I've ever plugged Mayhew & Kempster Pop Culture, the podcast I record with my friend Tom, here on this blog. If I haven't then this seems as good a place as any to start. About once a month we get together and poke fun at the sillier aspects of popular culture. A lot of it might seem throw-away, but quite a bit of planning and writing goes into every episode. Through my own fault, we've fallen a bit behind with recording them lately, so I'm hoping we can get two podcasts recorded in July to make up for it.
- Something Funny - Long-term readers will be familiar with a post I wrote early last year called Dying Is Easy, Writing Comedy Is Hard, a musing opinion piece about trying to write funny things and how I've struggled with it over the years. As part of Project: Create, I'm keen to have another go at writing something with the hope of making others chuckle.
- Something Scary - Horror is something else I don't really write. I think the closest I've ever come is with my short story The Final Trial of Heracles, which you can read on my Creative Fiction Archive here on the site. I'd like to have a go at writing something genuinely unsettling, without ever becoming too gory. Something like H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds, which is to date the only book I've ever had to put down for a while because I was too distressed to keep reading.
I've been inspired to do this by my good friend Tom Mayhew, who in turn was encouraged by mutual friend Hayley Carr. I'd like to take this opportunity to say thanks to both of them in advance for drawing my attention to this challenge and convincing me that it was something I should take part in. You should definitely follow their progress as well, because they're both incredibly talented individuals who are no doubt going to put out some gold as part of this project. I'm very eager to see what they create, and I'm also eager to share what I'm about to create with you. So please check back here in the evening on July 1st, when hopefully I'll find enough time to put up a blog post about whatever I've created. Until then, thanks very much for reading and I'll see you around.