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Jamie was excited. And so was I. Christmas was a week away. We picked him up from school on the last day of term. He was weighed down by carefully crafted Christmas decorations. Add to that a gym kit bag and items from lost and found, that weren’t his, and he was transformed into a little pack mule.

Being the youngest of our brood (he’s six), Jamie was excited for Christmas Day. When his older brothers arrived home, they were just as excited. In their case, it was a mix of Christmas cheer and the prospect of being off school for a prolonged period. I’d made a commitment to Gill and the family that I was going to take time off and mirror the school holidays.

I was like Matthew and Lewis. Sure, I was excited about Christmas, but I needed the time to relax. But an odd thing happened. I missed the process of writing. In the week before the kids came off, I wrote a couple of short stories. It had been a long time. Too long, in fact. Without the client work to occupy my time, I threw myself into writing creatively. I decided to write stories that were exactly 100 words in length.

[thrive_headline_focus title=”My 100 Word Story Challenge” orientation=”left”]

A few days after Christmas, I committed to writing and sharing a 100-word story every day for the whole of 2016. Today, I’ll be writing story 123. It hasn’t always been easy, and yes, there have been times where I considered quitting. So why do I persist? Especially when I’m occasionally overstretched with client work? What it is that’s stopping me from stopping?

Firstly – I enjoy it. I love tapping into the creative part of my brain. But there was more to it than that. I’m a reflective sort of chap, which, sometimes isn’t a good thing. I worry too much about ‘stuff’ that will never happen. But, at times, being reflective gives me clarity.

[thrive_headline_focus title=”Becoming a better writer” orientation=”left”]

It’s difficult to qualify this, but it is a fact nonetheless – I am a better writer for the experience. Each of the 122 stories I’ve scribed this year has played a part in developing my writing chops. But where have I improved?


 

Brevity – Writing Shorter

It can be tough writing 100-word stories. There isn’t the scope to explain every detail. I’m forced to keep descriptions to a minimum and remove any words that don’t contribute to the story. If it doesn’t add value to the story – it shouldn’t be there.

Influence on my Business Writing

When I returned to ‘business writing’ I found that I was naturally writing much shorter sentences. Unnecessary adjectives and adverbs were far less frequent than they had been in the past. The result – my writing flowed better.


 

Becoming a Ruthless Self-Editor

Before Christmas, I didn’t enjoy the editing process. I was too wedded to my words. Editing them was cruel and unkind. It meant I was stubborn. It meant I was inefficient.

Influence on my Business Writing

Editing is now an enjoyable part of the process. I know I can’t afford to be sentimental. When words, sentences or paragraphs don’t work, I’m able to kill them callously. I’ve won back a ton of time on this alone.


 

Fuelling my creativity

Coming up with new 100 Word Story ideas every day is tough. I’ve got a few different methods I can turn to when I’m struggling for ideas. So far, they’ve not let me down.

Influence on my Business Writing

The same methods I use to come up with creative ideas for my fiction tales, also help me take a more creative approach to my client writing. I’m able to suggest different approaches, and I’m able to draw out their stories far more easily.


 

‘Storytelling First’ Approach

Writing stories every day has helped me identify who I am. Yes, I’m a writer (and a Pisces!), but I’m firstly a storyteller. It’s what comes naturally to me.

Influence on my Business Writing

With every writing project and every new client, the first thing I’m looking for is the story. What’s the story? How can we tell it? Where do we begin? And then – when I’ve got that first story nailed – I’m looking for more stories. Why – because leading with stories works.


 

[thrive_headline_focus title=”Could it work for you?” orientation=”left”]

I’ve shared the impact that writing fiction has had on my writing, and now, I want you to ask yourself a question – could it work for you? The truth is, you’ll not know until you try. It might not work for you. But then again, what if it did? What if writing the occasional piece of short fiction made you a better writer? What if it unlocked in you a new passion? What if you had fun?

Here’s what I want you to do. Below is a photo. I’ve got a simple question for you – what’s the story behind the image?

airport-351472_1280

You can create an outline of the story, or you can write a complete short story. You might like to try a 100 Word Story of your own – or you might like to write something shorter or longer. The truth is, at this stage – it doesn’t matter.

Have fun. Get creative. You might be surprised by the results.

PS – If you want to share – add your story to the comments OR email me at kevin@thestoryedge.co.uk (Please include ‘My Story’ in the subject line.)

PPS – Add me on Facebook if you’d prefer to follow the journey there. https://www.facebook.com/KevAnderson 

Published by Kev Anderson

I'm a storyteller, case study specialist and the founder of The Story Edge. I want more people to tell more stories. I write stories, teach people to do the same and generally encourage people to use storytelling in their business.

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