Add a sentence — our first Community Writing Project

Last Friday, to celebrate National Day on Writing, I launched what I called “the first annual Bennett Ink Community Writing Project.”

It actually turned into projectS, as I shared the opening sentence on various Facebook pages and groups. Each share generated its own story.

Starting with the common opening sentence:

Watching an enormous sphere of chewing gum emerge from her seat-mate’s face, becoming more translucent—and less stable—by the second, Fran reconsidered her decision to take the bus.

The writers who chimed in on my Bennett Ink Facebook page continued:

Not certain whether she was running away or toward something. She opened a book to distract herself, both from her noisy surroundings and from the racing thoughts in her head. She couldn’t help but watch him, his bubble, and his bushy beard out of the corner of her eye.

“That is not a good combination,” she thought – “bubblegum and beard.”

She started to laugh, but her smile vanished instantly when she saw Rebecca walk in. She had read Rebecca’s shocking #metoo story the night before, and now had no idea what to say to her friend.

Thoughts were swirling around her head…beard, bubble, story, beard, bubble, story…but her attention was pulled back to her surroundings when the bus suddenly lurched. Her vision was suddenly a haze of pink, and a sickly odor enveloped her.

Community writing project, from many communities

As I said, I shared the opening sentence widely. Another writer contributed this second sentence:

Inching away from the protruding orb, she turned toward the window just as the bus lurched forward and back, snapping her hand into the teetering globe: “Yowza! You burst my bubble,” squealed the young woman with the pink goo on her face.

My high school friends have never been big on following instructions. One of them contributed not a second sentence but a rewrite of the first:

Preface: I am sitting on a bus of 30 women traveling to Pennsylvania, from Vermont. “Fran stared out the window at the fast-moving landscape, and by reflection, continued to watch the pale-pink, elastic bubble now looming ever-so-close to her head!”

Encore!

Some of my writers missed the date—I didn’t publicize it very widely. Others felt that the project deserved more than one day.

So I’m pleased to announce the Community Writing Project of the Month. We’ll start November 1st. I believe if I share the opening sentence as an image, that wherever I post it, people’s comments will all go into one thread. Watch this space for details.

And keep up the good writing.


Check out my year-end retreat—two and a half days to focus on your story, improve your writing, and enjoy the community of a select group of women. Enrollment limited to six writers. Will you be one of them?

How will you celebrate October 20th, National Day on Writing?

Q: How will you celebrate National Day on Writing on October 20th?
A: National say what now?

This Friday—October 20th—is National Day on Writing. Of course every day here at Bennett Ink is a writing day, as I blogged this summer. Still, I’ll take any excuse for a party, so I’ve been trying to figure out just how to celebrate with you.

Another writing challenge? Been there, done that. Will do it again in our regularly scheduled slot at the end of the quarter. But no, I wanted something different for us to mark the holiday.

I thought about sending you all out into the world with the same writing prompt, for the fun of seeing how differently each writer interprets it. But that didn’t feel quite right either.

Finally it came to me: A community writing project. Simple. Minimal time commitment. But potentially tons of fun. So announcing…

October 20th — the first annual Bennett Ink Community Writing Project

  • “Like” my Bennett Ink Facebook page
  • On the morning of October 20th I will post the beginning of a story on the Bennett Ink page
  • Click the comments to add your own sentence to the sentences that came before.
  • Visit the page as often as you like during the day to add to the story.
  • I’ll collect all the comments and publish our community story on the Facebook page on Saturday.
  • (I’ll also be monitoring the comments, so please flag anything you feel is inappropriate.)

When I was a kid, we used to take loooong car rides. Eventually the sun would go down and I’d have to stop reading. Occasionally, we’d play the group storytelling game. But with only my mother and I participating (my father focused on the road), surprises remained minimal.

So hop in the car and join us anytime at all on October 20th. And bring your friends. Let’s see what we can create together. And thanks to the preposition-happy National Council of Teachers of English for creating National Day on Writing and the glorious hashtag #WhyIWrite.

Let’s tell a story together on Friday!

#WhyIWrite – When every day is National Day on Writing

Did you know about the National Day on Writing? I just found out about it. And why is it not “National Writing Day”? Perhaps to give the editors something to do on National Editing Day. Anyway, you know it’s a real thing because there’s a hashtag: #WhyIWrite.

#WhyIWrite

I wrote “National Editing Day” as a joke but then I figured I should check the Google machine. No, there’s no National Editing Day. But there is a National Proofreading Day (March 8th). Mark your calednars.

The National Day on Writing comes to us courtesy of the National Council of Teachers of English. I’m sure they’re fine people—two of my favorite teachers taught English—but they really ought to meet up with the National Council of Copyeditors. (Sadly, that doesn’t exist either.)

#WhyIWrite Every Day

The official National Day on Writing is October 20th. But longtime readers know that every day is Writing Day here at Bennett Ink. And it has been for the last 440 days.

I could offer a million reasons #WhyIWrite. But I hate lists, so I’ll just give you a few.

Because my clients pay me. But the truth is I write even when I’m not getting paid directly—I just get to choose my own topics and deadlines. Still, I love my clients. And (mostly) the topics they speak and write about.

Because it helps me think. For the past couple of months I’ve been working my way through Seth Godin’s Marketing Seminar—there’s a summer intensive starting soon and I highly recommend it. When I get to the questions at the end of each module, my first reaction is, I have no idea how to answer these questions. Then I copy and paste them into a Word doc and start typing and it turns out I do have answers to those questions. Sometimes pretty good answers, too.

Because I love surprises. I love helping my readers shift their perspective and see things from a different angle. And my writing students discover their skills.

Because I have things to say. Since I started posting daily about 14 months ago, many readers have told me that my writing has made a difference in their lives. It’s also made a difference in mine.

Because every time I do it, I get a little better. Not that everything I write is a gem, but bit by bit (byte by byte?) the bar gets higher every day.

Because it keeps me sane.*

Why do you write?

*within normal tolerances


If you’re secretly attached to your files full of unfinished writing …if you enjoy collecting rejection emails…if you worry that effective marketing would generate too much income for your business DO NOT register for my VIP class on Revision.