Update

The Your Messages Project, inspired by the collaborative classic Messages, ran from 1st November to 30th November 2007 and attracted over 1,200 responses from writers around the world. We are currently reading, and loving, and selecting work for the anthology, Your Messages, that will be launched on 31st January 2007 at The Poetry Cafe, Betterton Street, London.

If you took part in the project and don't mind spending a little more time with us, we'd be so grateful if you could reply to any or all of the following questions. Feel free to post your reply, with or without your name, via the Comments facility or email us directly:

sarah@sarahsalway.com
lynne@lynnerees.co.uk
  • Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?
  • Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?
  • What, if anything, will you miss the most?
  • What did you enjoy the most?
  • Did you have any other realisations or insights?

Thank-you.

Lynne & Sarah

(p.s. There's no necessity to reply to the questions in exactly 300 words but we'll understand if you need to!)

35 comments:

  1. * Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?

    Yes. Having used all thirty 'prompts' to write (mostly) autobiographical tales I found that my style became more 'literary' as a result. I'm sure that will change when I return to the mayhem of satirical demons, though.

    * Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?

    Memories that I thought lost to time and regret.

    * What, if anything, will you miss the most?

    The prompt to introspection, though I've ordered a copy of the book.

    * What did you enjoy the most?

    Reading both the prompt message and the responses to it. Some of them were exquisite pieces.

    * Did you have any other realisations or insights?

    More than I thought possible can be revealed in 300 words, and much can be concealed.

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  2. Any changes: yes, for the first time ever I wrote every day for a month. I don't plan to keep it up, sometimes it was really hard and generally speaking five days a week is enough for me. But it was an interesting experience.

    Gained: more experience of reading and writing flash fiction (although I also lost, because some days my Message took up time I should have spent on my novel - but, hey, that was my choice). Also gained useful practice in descriptive writing, which I find particularly difficult.

    Will miss: reading the posted Message... writing my response... reading the other responses... comment-box camaraderie... the whole thing, really. Although I think it's good that it only lasted a month, as I couldn't have sustained it for much longer. But if it was a 'forever' blog I'd probably drop in two or three times a week. I love the idea of doing it again next November, though.

    Most enjoyed: the opportunity for creative writing that had nothing to do with my current work-in-progress.

    Any other realisations/insights: several, probably, during the process, but nothing springs to mind right now - sorry!

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  3. I have probably thought about this longer than I did any of the Messages! Anyway, out of order, but: the most enjoyable thing - & that which I already miss – is the excitement of the challenge every morning. Some days, the initial response was, ‘I can’t do anything with this,’ but it turned out that I could. It may not have been very good, but nonetheless I came up with something every day. As a result, the main thing I’ve gained is, I suppose, a temporary burst of confidence – helped by those who have said nice things about some of my contributions. Thanks so much for that. The pleasure continues, however: I’ve been really busy, so am only now really finding the time to read what others contributed, which is proving very enjoyable indeed. What else? Well, even the weakest of my efforts, I think, may have the seeds of something better in them, so I expect this will keep me going for some time. So, though I miss the daily challenge, the stimulation is on-going. Thanks again.

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  4. 1. Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?

    I found that the 300 word limit focussed my writing and made me refrain from overly descriptive passages that cripple pieces at this length.

    Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?
    I have gained the experience of working under a strict deadline and, through a new focus, writing what I felt was a tight piece of work.


    What, if anything, will you miss the most?
    Simply waking up and the anticipation of reading the latest 300 words.

    What did you enjoy the most?
    As always, finishing my piece and sitting there looking at it and feeling that sense of satisfaction for 5 minutes before knowing that I have to start over again tomorrow!

    Did you have any other
    realisations or insights?
    I just found it incredibly challenging and creatively engaging to find a original and fresh way of responding to the 300 words posted. At times it felt that the narrative voice I was initially writing with was too obvious and so finding a unique voice and a new take on the paragraph was the most important achievement for me personally.

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  5. Changes I have noticed:
    Writing every single day of the month and not finding it a chore. Actually writing and enjoying flash fiction, as normally I write longer pieces, and not spending hours agonising over what I had written.

    What I have gained:
    Finding the confidence to expose what were often quite personal pieces to the wider world. Obtaining a deeper understanding of my own writing style and individual voice, mainly through comparison with the wonderful responses of others to the same initial prompt.

    What I will miss most:
    The quality of the daily inspiration, which encouraged me to think and experiment, even though my responses were usually written quite spontaneously.

    What I enjoyed the most:
    Having a new writing challenge every day and reading both the initial prompts and all the responses, to which I continue to return.

    Other:
    The project made me realise how easy it is to find time to write 300 words every day, even in a very busy life. I have now transferred this motivation to my stalled novel, and I have challenged myself to write at least 300 words each day. So far I am succeeding.

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  6. * Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?

    I got faster, less verbose and enjoyed it more.


    * Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?

    Well, it was a lot of fun. I am a big fan of virtual communities and this was a particularly interesting and enjoyable one to hang out with.

    * What, if anything, will you miss the most?

    Wondering what the prompt message was going to be.

    * What did you enjoy the most?

    The nice things that people said about each other.

    * Did you have any other realisations or insights?

    It's harder than I thought to write a poem of exactly 300 words.

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  7. 1. Yes! Ideas and new voices emerged from contemplating the daily prompts. The 300-word limit kept it from being intimidating and also made for tighter pieces.
    2. I have gained confidence by participating in Your Messages. This forum gave me a place to try on different voices and styles of writing. It also gave me lots of potential pieces I may follow up on.
    3. The online community of writers will be missed.
    4. I loved reading all the responses and the satisfaction of feeling I completed a piece of writing in just one day!
    5. Insight gained.... Hmm, I've got lots to say, lots of stories up there in the old noggin just waiting to pop out. Your Messages reminded me of how much I really love creative writing.

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  9. Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?
    Definitely. I have never tackled so many different themes in such a short space of time, and nor have I written anything so short! I found it quite hard to begin with; but, as the month went on I found the craft much easier, and the ideas more willing. I was then able to put more effort into the writing itself, rather than struggling with a theme/plot to respond with, or having to concentrate so hard on the 300-word limit.

    Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?
    Very much so. A new-found confidence in tackling themes/styles/voices quite different from my usual beat.

    What, if anything, will you miss the most?
    a) The daily challenge!
    b) Being a 'Message Writer'!

    What did you enjoy the most?
    The incentive to write something different.

    Did you have any other realisations or insights?
    a) Your Messages has kick-started my writing again (I was slacking somewhat before), and,
    b) Yep. I'd like to do it all again next year!

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  10. Yes. I found myself wanting to use different writing techniques each time I wrote a response, exploring the numerous possibilities I've come to know through reading a vaste selection of novels and in doing a Writing Degree (specifically for this purpose).

    I've gained tremendously. In disciplining myself to write a prose write of exactly 300 words I'd develop a certain approach to this type of writing. I found the project challenging and at the same time an enjoyable journery through the discovery of different venues of writing.

    I've missed reading a message and responding to it with the set criteria in mind.

    I thoroughly enjoyed planning out a response in my mind and in setting about writing the response.

    Yes, the realisation of writing as an amazing venue for creating a prose write from writing that showed the different ways writing can be used to create varied and astonishing effects.

    Thank you once again Lynne and Sarah for allowing me to take this journey of 'discovery' to another level of writing.

    Colleen
    coll@literaryspot.com

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  11. Question 1.

    Initially, I was blown away to the point of intimidation by the quality of responses. As a result, my thought process tightened up significantly, generating pace, energy and direction in the physical act of writing. Additionally, the forum was a fantastic environment to experiment with style and content.

    Question 2.

    Gained the motivation to write something every day. It can be done given the right stimulus - all I need do is refer back to these pages for proof.

    Question 3.

    The anticipation of the prompt each morning. The impulsiveness of responding. The self discipline in sticking to word count. The eager anticipation of reading the other's responses. Feeling connected to part of something special.

    Question 4.

    Taking a flyer with my writing style every day. Reading the responses.The sense of achievement at 11.30pm on Friday 30 November.

    Question 5.

    300 words can mean so much to so many. The connectivity/community thing is addictive. Your Messages has been a turning point in my personal writing outlook.

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  12. 1. It was wonderful - I haven't really written anything that was going to be written by more than a few people - at first that was very intimidating. My first submission sat on the screen for quite a while before I sent it but it got easier after that.

    2. I've gained the desire to stick the discipline of writing every day (so far so good)

    3. I will miss the excitement to see what the prompt is and then the amazement of reading all the totally different responses. I loved being a part of a community of people who were so brillian and witty and made me laugh and cry and think.

    4. I found that I enjoyed being able to put something on paper (ok on computer) every day ... some days the prompts were really difficult for me to write from ... but I wouldn't go to bed until I had finished something. I enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that brought.

    5. I realized I can write, and if I want to, even if its only 300 words a day I can make this dream come true!

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  13. 1. The main changes I found in myself when writing was that I was much more relaxed about letting anything come out at all, even when I thought I might not have anything to say. Something unusual invariably came out and it was very freeing and enjoyable.

    2. I gained confidence.

    3. I will miss the daily prompts.

    4. I enjoyed the process of working within a framework, which provided a lot of freedom for thinking in different directions. Within that, I enjoyed the 300 word limit as well as the prompt. Having restrictions made the writing more freeing, because of working within limitations. Recently I'd been writing some 60 to 100 word flash fiction, and some short poems, so sometimes 300 words seemed long! Then as I got more accustomed to it, I'd start paring down once I had an idea of what I worked with and felt a healthy routine set in.

    5. There are so many ways to write, and it's possible to expand beyond what one is accustomed to writing, by being challenged to write something that one normally wouldn't write about and try to make it work.

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  14. Okay, let's take a stab at this. YAY a new Message! Well, sort of…

    • Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?

    ***Sure I did. At first I found it hard, and a little frustrating, to confine what I wanted to write to three hundred words. But, later, after a week of writing I realized that I wasn't confining anything. I merely had to choose my words lightly.

    • Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?

    ***I think I've gained an insight into myself. I wrote about myself quite a bit, though most of my entries are fiction. I told myself in the beginning that I wouldn't write about me, that I wouldn't make an appearance. But I did quite a bit. I think I'm more comfortable with a few of my ghosts now.

    • What, if anything, will you miss the most?

    ***Gosh, let's see if I can keep this answer short. I'll miss waking up each morning on the weekend and reading the new Message with my coffee. I'll miss getting to work bright and early and going to read the new Message before doing any work whatsoever. I'll miss reading everyone's Messages, waiting to see where my inspiration would come from, what word would be the seed for my new Message.

    • What did you enjoy the most?

    ***Learning that writing every day is not a chore but a joy. Most of all though I enjoyed reading everyone's else's responses. I thought it was the most wonderful thing that so many different Messages could come from one writing prompt. I think it showed me that creation can come from anywhere and will always be different, no matter how many times you tell the tale.

    • Did you have any other realisations or insights?

    ***Only that I'm a better writer because of Your Messages. And because of all of you.

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  15. Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?
    Definitely. It has reaffirmed to me the belief that having a writing constraint, whether it be a poetic form or a word limit, can actually be a freeing writing experience. It allows me to release narratives that I didn't know were within me.

    Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?
    I gained a solid new body of work to revise, build on, and be proud of.

    What, if anything, will you miss the most?
    I'll miss the community of writers here and the forum that you have provided us. Writing is often such a solitary process that it's refreshing and exciting to have an interactive outlet such as Your Messages.

    What did you enjoy the most?
    Continuously being amazed by the remarkable work posted every day. Daily inspiration to write is no longer an impossibility.

    Did you have any other realisations or insights?
    Actually, this project has inspired me to start a blog of my own! I've just begun it in the days that Your Messages has ended, but check it out here:

    http://billtrub.blogspot.com/

    Thank you, Sarah and Lynne, for this brilliant concept. It has been so rewarding.


    Bill Trüb
    welshwordsmith@yahoo.co.uk

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  16. * Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?
    * Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?

    My answer to these two is connected. I found that I was writing things I don't think I would ever have dreamed of writing otherwise eg going into the realms of science fiction. Because of the short time, and relatively short word length, I felt much freer to experiment and try new things, without worrying as much as usual about the result.

    * What, if anything, will you miss the most?
    The inspiration and also the spontaneity of the writing. This gives a buzz not dissimilar to that of writing hard news for a daily newspaper.
    * What did you enjoy the most?
    As a reader, the variety of the original messages and the responses.
    As a writer, meeting the challenge of writing a piece so quickly (thos days that I did manage it :-() and feeling free to write in a different/wider range of styles to usual.
    * Did you have any other realisations or insights?
    How much fun it could be working on a collaborative project.

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  18. Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?

    I really enjoyed trying to mix things up, playing with one-off voices and out-of-the-ordinary (for me) approaches to the Messages. With that in mind, I think I took myself (and my quote-unquote writing) a little less seriously than I sometimes do.

    I also found myself being more observant, trying to pick up details in my day-to-day doings to include in my work, since I knew I'd have to "turn something in" by the end of the day.

    Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?

    I'm more confident that I can turn around (semi-)creative, (quasi-)finished pieces within a prescribed timeframe, rather than just scribbling down journal entries, story ideas, and false starts in my notebook.

    I've also got several new mini-stories I think I can expand on into bigger pieces.

    What, if anything, will you miss the most?

    The competitive push to do it daily. I have my weekly exercise that's in a similar (well, stolen) vein, and I know that "theoretically" I could do it every day, but being part of the collaboration kept me motivated; much more so than I thought it would.

    Not only do I thank Sarah and Lynne for that inspiration, but everyone who was playing along.

    What did you enjoy the most?

    Pondering over ideas throughout the day, sketching out some thoughts, and then choosing one of them to just run with one and finish up before bedtime. Normally I'll tweak and tweak and hold on to things, so it was fascinating to only tweak a little and then have to let go and start something fresh the next day.

    I also got a kick out of thinking I knew what I'd write about, and then ending up hitting "publish your comment" on something totally different.

    Did you have any other realisations or insights?

    * Things don't have to be perfect to be fun (or worthwhile).
    * There can be pay-offs if you experiment.
    * There are way too many talented people out there.
    * I'm always amazed by where people's imaginations take them, and how different the responses can be to a single prompt.
    * Just when you think you'll never be able to come up with 300 words about something, you find yourself with 450 (or more) and have to start chopping. (That happens with my 200-word pieces as well — and clearly on off-the-cuff responses to unexpected questionnaires. Oops.)
    * False starts can lead to unexpected (and pleasant) surprises.
    * Word counting utilities are anything but consistent.

    Thanks again to everyone.

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  19. A big thank-you to everyone for taking the time to let us have this feedback. If we had cockles in our hearts they'd be very, very warm.

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  20. Late off the mark - and other people have already said most of it - so just a few additional thoughts...

    Can't resist echoing comments about the pleasure of being part of a writing community for a month - writing can be a lonely business and it was great to think every day not only "I wonder what today's message holds" but also "I wonder what X and Y and Z will do with this one". I enjoyed the occasions when people responded to each other's messages as much as to the original prompt, and the times when I thought "I wish I'd had that idea".

    I've missed the discipline of finding time (almost) every day to respond, even if it was very late at night, despite all the other stuff going on around me, and on occasion carrying the message around in my pocket all day like a little tingle of inspiration.

    I enjoyed the freedom to experiment, to take risks, to do SOMETHING, even if it wasn't the best I could do in an ideal world.

    Changes in myself - yes, during the month; a sense of purpose in my "writing life" separate from the sometimes depressing larger projects we all lug around in our minds all the time. The realisation that small targets can be worthwhile and satisfying, and that progress can be made in small steps.

    Also, I think, some edging towards an understanding of why I write and what it means to me and what I want from it - that the process is what really counts, the sense of being fully human by contemplating the human condition through tiny insights as well as more grandiose ones. The exhilaration of self-expression, the pleasure of performance and the gratification of the mental workout - I felt like a mental acrobat by the end of the month, more finely tuned than I had been and ready for anything (though sadly Christmas preparations is what awaited me...).

    Thank you again Lynne and Sarah for organising this - such a treat at a miserable time of year.

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  22. Lynne & Sarah - sorry to have been so late in responding but I’m trying to stop checking the website.

    I really enjoyed taking part in the project. The combination of the anticipation of the prompt, allowing myself to shut everything else out and indulge my creative impulse was exhilarating. I didn’t set out to do the whole month but once I got started, I couldn’t stop.

    I’ve noticed that writing can be lonely so it was always nice to know that other people were suffering!

    I loved the sense of satisfaction each morning when I’d completed my response. However, within hours, the excitement had worn off and I was wondering what would the next morning might bring.

    I realised that I can write on demand (not sure about the quality of it) and that the more I wrote, the more I wanted to write; it wasn’t a case of exhausting my ‘repetoire’.

    Towards the end of the month, I started to notice a style emerging in what I had written and I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not.

    I’ve only ever written for small groups and mostly on impulse so writing routinely on demand was very new to me. I always read other people’s responses after my own so that my own response would be more of a free association with the prompt; this was probably just as well because had I realised how brilliant the others’ writing was, I would have been too scared to take part!

    I’ve missed doing it so much that a friend of mine who read everyone’s work has been sending me a subject to write about. Even when she said that she’d have to email with ‘another subject’, yes, you’ve guessed it, I wrote a piece using ‘another subject’.

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  23. Hi Lynne and Sarah
    Although I joined the project late, due to illness, and only took part for five days, they were inspiring, interesting and extremely useful.
    When I read the messages I responded immediately and spontaneously allowing myself the freedom to be bold and emotionally naked. It felt pretty risky.
    Normally I take time over my work and think about it carefully, so these were completely new ways of working for me. I chose to do this as I couldn't see the point in taking part and not trying something new. It was rewarding to know that I achieved that and that I have material I can make use of too.
    I loved reading the responses from other writers. I think it was the variety of the work that I enjoyed and the approach and sensitivity to each prompt. I did feel part of a cummunity, which was a cosy feeling too. I thought the prompts were really special.

    Thank you both again!
    Chris Hoskins

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  24. Thank you for your generous project, Lynne and Sarah, I loved taking part in it. It was fun opening up a new message in the morning - like a writers' advent calendar - and being surprised and amazed by the stories that can be told in 300 words.
    I liked the fact that we only had a day to respond - anything that speeds me up is a good thing, and it felt risky sending my words off before I had a chance to properly edit them.
    I will continue to use 'Messages' to prompt my writing but I will miss having a reader.
    I really enjoyed the playfulness, the tricksiness of creating a little world in 300 words.
    When you only have a limited number of words, in order to enlarge the space it is what is not said that is important.

    Deborah
    deborah7@ntlworld.com

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  25. Like Chris, I only heard about the project late in the day and only managed to contribute for a week. However, I think I progressed in just seven days in terms of thinking on my feet and ability to respond more confidently (even if it didn't come out like that on paper, it still felt good!). I can only imagine how much better it would have been if I'd managed the whole month. I think even a short version of the exercise would be a great thing for writing groups to do.

    It has kick-started my urge to write again for which I'm very grateful.

    The only problem seems to be the degree of introspection that writing induces. Is wishing your family away so you can think clearly really a very healthy way to live? And does that pass?

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  26. I became more experimental in my writing. Doing a series of very short pieces meant that I could try out different styles and ring the changes by doing a light piece one day and something more emotional the next.
    During the project I realised that I could write 300 words a day (in addition to working on other projects) and I am now using the time to write 300 words a day on aspects of my novel. I am reporting this process on my blog in order to make myself actually do it!
    I miss reading other people’s messages the most.
    The thing I enjoyed most was receiving comments on my work from people I don’t know.
    It was fascinating that the responses to the prompts from all the participants were so different even though they were a response to the same prompt message.

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  27. · Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?

    I found myself becoming more possessive of my time over the month. ‘Please go away’ had turned into ‘Piss Off I’m writing!’ by the end of November. My writing process got quicker, more decisive and less self-conscious towards the end – and my first drafts were closer to 300 words by the end too.

    · Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?

    I now have 29 short pieces just waiting to be developed further.
    I regained my sense of self as a writer, it was buried for a while under everything else.
    It gave me justification to take an hour or so every day just for me and my writing.
    Reading other people’s work gave me something to measure my own by – it has given me confidence that I do have something worthwhile to say.


    · What, if anything, will you miss the most?

    I’ll miss the daily discipline – so much easier to find time when it’s a commitment to something outside of myself.
    I’ll miss reading those pieces that made me laugh and cry, and the feeling of community, of a shared experience.


    · What did you enjoy the most?

    I enjoyed having such great writing prompts. It was fascinating to see the diversity of the responses. I also enjoyed the sense of purpose and the feeling of achievement each day when I hit the ‘publish’ button.

    · Did you have any other realisations or insights?

    I realised that some of my writing was on a par with other good bits, that some days were better than others, and that the kind of day I’d had really impacted on what I noticed to reply to in the Message.
    That hyphens and dashes weren’t the same.
    That sometimes it isn’t necessary to agonise over words and content to get something written – I had to read and reply in about an hour most days, it was quite therapeutic not to be able to keep tweaking away at a piece, to get a sense of closure.

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  28. At risk of heading off on a tangent, in response to PJB's post above: it probably isn't a healthy way to live but, personally, it's the only way to live. Those close to me know that it's not just what I do, but what I am... and making allowances for it is probably easier than putting up with me when I haven't been able to write for a few days! And, alas, I suspect it's very unlikely to pass...

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  29. Were you able to identify any changes in yourself, your writing, and/or your writing process during the Your Messages project?

    Unfortunately I could only spare the time to do a few posts. I did consciously decide to adopt a different style for each one though.

    Have you gained anything by taking part in Your Messages?

    Yes. It was good to practice cutting down (extremely!) on what I had written. Also, I'm really pleased with one of the things I wrote and intend to develop it further.

    What, if anything, will you miss the most?

    The deadlines!

    What did you enjoy the most?

    Writing without expectation or direction.

    Did you have any other realisations or insights?

    What you think is good when you first write it really needs a few days before you can make any kind of objective judgment! And that it actually is possible to write something with exactly 300 words!

    ----

    I really enjoyed taking part in Your Messages and wish I had had the time to do more. It was an excellent writing exercise and I loved having deadlines and having to (and therefore actually managing) to get things finished.

    Good luck with your future projects; I'll be watching out for them!

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  30. tinabass@hotmail.co.uk11 December 2007 at 00:14

    I really regret that I only managed a handful of messages. Oct/Nov/Dec of this year were about as busy as they could be for me and I suppose I should be glad I managed the little bit of writing that I did. Good luck with the launch.

    Tina

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  31. I miss the thrill of getting up every morning and heading for the computer to discover the challenge of the day. The despair on some occasions, the exhilaration on others as I read the daily message. The relief when I had completed the comment for the day and managed to get it on-line without mishaps.

    The way I surprised myself, on occasion, at what I wrote. The time I hesitated, momentarily, as I thought I had written porno but decided to send it anyway!

    The memories that emerged and fitted the comment so neatly.

    The way I became so immersed in the writing that my spelling became abysmal and my use of the spell check came into force with a vengeance.

    I don’t miss the days when I was determined to spend time writing a response and was pressurised by lack of time to do so. I always managed it but not as I would have wished.

    The discipline of keeping to 300 words – an excellent exercise. Leaving out the words or phrases I really loved. How swiftly 300 words is reached and there’s so much more to say!

    I feel that my writing became ‘tighter,’ and hopefully more meaningful when salient points were the ones that counted.

    My admiration for Lynne and Sarah that they were able to continue their responses for eighteen months, alongside their other activities.

    How they coped with so many comments on a daily basis throughout November. Did it give them a massive headache or are they are they remarkably placid? And how to choose the final thirty – surely that has provoked a few headaches?

    The enjoyment of reading the contributions of those who wrote in such diverse and interesting ways for thirty days. I miss it.

    Thanks to Lynne and Sarah for their generosity.

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  32. It was a real pleasure to take part. Especially good to have the discipline of writing 300 words most days and a treat to read other people’s responses, the variety in subject-matter and style amazed me. I began to know the ‘voices’ of different Messagers and realised the response was world-wide.

    I got much quicker at constructing a 300-word piece during the month and I think my writing generally improved, the tone became more informal, language more concise. If I couldn’t think of a subject I just wrote a lot about anything, and something usually came up. It was good to be forced to say what I wanted to say very economically.

    I’ve become more aware of what other people are writing about, especially younger people and I enjoyed reading their work. I write like an older person (which I am) and have the preoccupations of people my age.

    I felt I belonged to a lively club with a common aim, and enjoyed the companionship of fellow-Messagers. I did visit the empty web-site once and it was like going back to a room where a good party had once happened.

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  33. Mary Rose Rawlinson16 December 2007 at 15:09

    • I seem to have found a much more casual way of writing, and particularly in discovering the effectiveness of using the second person. Your Messages has helped me to appreciate the importance of the advice I have not followed as closely as I should; the value of disciplining myself to write something, however short, every day.
    • I have gained through being part of a large community of people, most of whom I did not know but feel I have now met through reading their messages.
    • I shall miss the excitement of printing each day’s new message from you, reading it over breakfast and the time spent selecting my link and thinking about what I would write; the discipline of having an assignment to look forward to each day.
    • I enjoyed the fun there was in this project, simply by being involved. Waking up each morning knowing the day would start off well! Even the 300 word limit was appealing. Reading others’ messages, which I always did after I had written my own. As I only found time to read some, I promised myself I would read them all after the 30th November.
    • I have been completely won over by the concept of short shorts. I’d like to try writing a collection. I learned gradually that I should make each piece stand on its own. The project made me think more about the importance of eliminating sentiment when expressing abstract emotions. I discovered that brevity could sometimes be very effective in writing. There were many times during the month when I realised that I could have given more thought before composing and posting a particular Message. And just to show you how well you’ve succeeded in brain-washing me, I’m still complying with the no-longer-compulsory word count.

    ReplyDelete
  34. This was a great opportunity for me. It came at a time of change in my life and gave me the discipline and inspiration that allowed some latent creativity to fly.

    I learned that if you just get going its amazing what flows out of your fingers. That was probably my biggest discovery; embracing confidence in my writing.

    It would be wonderful if the project could happen again...

    Claire Murphy

    ReplyDelete
  35. An old woman
    waits on this platform
    where no tickets sell
    where lines vanish
    to points
    no warm sweet smells.
    As the train pulls in
    she hears a baby
    cry.


    Geraldine Cousins e mail gerryco@mail.com

    ReplyDelete

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