2022 Writing Exercise Series #6: Micro 101 Episode 1

The 2022 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to spark their creative mind and to spur production of new pieces. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write about" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the series' exercises in under 30 minutes. 

The Timer Method

If you're going with the timer method (which is certainly not required) I recommend setting four timers (these markers are if you're doing a 30 minute session): The First Timer for 5 minutes for a pre-writing reminder, if you do any planning or thinking on how those things can fit together or how to structure what you're doing, or to revisit your writer's notebook to remind yourself of anything you might have noted to write about 'in the future'. But mostly, to remind you not to overthink, not to delay the actual writing process. You should think at least a little about what the point of the piece will be (more in the third timer section) The Second Timer for 15 minutes which is the main writing time. Remember, don't overthink during this section. You're knocking out the piece. When this timer goes off it's not the end, but a signal that you'll be trying to wrap it up soon. The Third Timer for 5 minutes which is time to wrap up what you're writing. This is where you're making sure that you're tucking in any 'loose narrative threads' and getting to your conclusions. Remember, pieces should have some takeaway or 'point'. Some 'why'—a thing that the reader can point to if they're asking themselves "why did I read this?". The Fourth Timer for 5 minutes which is time for editing, for going back over the piece and giving it a 'once over' for typos. I highly suggest reading it aloud once at the beginning of the five minutes (or prior to starting the last timer). Then you'll use the time to fix things early on that you later changed, and to sprinkle in 'crumbs' which foreshadow or work well with later metaphors so that the piece feels more united.  

Micro 101 Episode 1

For today's writing exercise you will write a few micro-poems or micro-fictions. These will be either poems under 20 lines or stories under 250 words.

For inspiration go read some micro or hint fiction in this Buzzfeed article, at Microfiction MondayAlbaMolecule50 Word Stories and Nanoism. Or also this Barnstorm blog post "How Microfiction Could Transform Social Media".

Check out all of the prompts and pick a couple to write. Once you've done that, focusing on one at a time, read the full prompt twice before you start writing because you're looking to keep it minimal, so have ideas. If your first draft is longer don't fret. Hone it down. And the piece will be what it is. I've started out with a goal of 100 words but hit on something and had to cull the end result from 1350 to 1200 for a contest because I loved the result. So each story will be its own beast, but we're ideally aiming for 20 lines or 100-250 words with these. And if they grow into something much larger, hey, you've got something longer!

Micro Exercise 1: Bomb 1. Write a short piece in which your narrator is blown up by a bomb. You decide what type of bomb, you decide how close they are to it when the bomb goes off. But give us a snippet of happiness from the narrator's life in their last moment.
Micro Exercise 2: Bomb 2. Write a very short piece in which a person is letting off fireworks and one goes off in their hand.
Micro Exercise 3: Cinnamon Roll 1. Write a micro piece in which your narrator is baking cinnamon rolls while being very preoccupied with something that happened to them the day before. Do they burn the rolls? Do they make them better than they ever have? What is distracting them so much? All of these should be answered in a very short number of words.
Micro Exercise 4:  Cinnamon Roll 2Write a micro piece in which two characters are having a conversation at an airport Cinnabon. They are about to get on separate planes and this might be the last time that they ever speak. 
Micro Exercise 5: Fire 1. Write a very short piece where a person sets something on fire and has no regrets about it.
Micro Exercise 6: Fire 2. Write a piece which is under 100 words which includes a person watching a building on fire and it's ambiguous if they set it on fire or not. Give hints both ways, and be sure to include some very good descriptions.
Micro Exercise 7: Fire 3. Write a very short piece in which a narrator is stuck in a blizzard and they try to mentally keep themselves warm by thinking about fire after unsuccessfully trying to start a fire.


If you'd like some ambient background writing music, try this: Greeks & Romans - Seven Seas 1985 cassette from background music friends of the blog, Sounds of the Dawn.