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The 2016 Challenge

Hey folks. Hope the first month of 2016 treated you fine.

Today is the day I’ve officially been doing this for a year. Can’t believe it’s been that long. Or that productive. Last year I wrote ten stories, ten articles, ten album reviews and over thirty blog pieces. All that with a job, full time university and rushing off to Borneo. Having a website like this to write for is an awesome motivator; it keeps you planning and productive: what exactly should I talk about next? What record should I listen to? Should I include this story? Or that article? Quite a few actually didn’t make it (maybe because they were pretty average).

But this year is going to be different. Writing from last year has taught me many versatile lessons, not most of which is that quality should be as important (if not, more important) than quantity. Just because you write something quite often doesn’t mean it’s good. Writing is an art form. Every word on the page is something that you yourself place there. Everything should have a place, a meaning, an objective. If it doesn’t then the piece isn’t very good.

On my trip to Borneo, I wrote a piece named ‘The Emperor’s Path.’ It was one of the hardest pieces I have ever written. I slaved over pieces of dialogue for hours, changed voices and language, even scrapped entire sections of the story that showcased some awesome imagery and some of my own best writing (that’s the second lesson I learnt, you must never be afraid to kill your darlings. It hurts a lot the first time you do it). But the piece worked. And the readers (and markers) enjoyed it. It is the single most valuable writing experience I’ve ever had.

Why? Because it showed me the true hardworking nature of the writer. Our work is never done. We are never satisfied. We can be lonely figures, just endlessly struggling to make the fucking thing work. And most importantly, the learning never stops. You only grow, and that’s what great about it.

So for this coming year, I’ve made a simple objective. I want to be published in a journal outside of Macquarie University. I am blessed by being part of the broad community of students who study creative writing, but what’s wrong with aiming higher? I’m going to have to work hard for it. I still will be writing for Grapeshot Magazine and other issues (I’ve got one or two small pieces coming up in the first issue), but this year I’m focusing on ensuring quality of work is as important as the quantity of work. It’s going to be a long and hard year of writing, but I want this to happen. This is my goal. This is my dream. This is what I want to make my life about.

Good luck to all in your endeavours this year. I hope it is fruitful and successful. I certainly hope mine will be. Do you agree?

Nick :)

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