I make a habit of not answering my door when people knock. Call me antisocial, but I hide in the kitchen and pretend nobody’s home until the well-meaning signature-collector or encyclopedia salesman is gone.
Partly I’m irritated at the intrusion, and partly I’m worried that I’ll buy whatever they are selling just to make them go away. (This is how I ended up purchasing a $15 scented candle from an organization whose values I do not support. It’s still in the basement because I can’t bring myself to either burn it or to toss it out.)
Last week, though, I opened the door to a down-on-his-luck young man selling — of all things — bow ties for dogs. He was wearing one in his own hair. Now, I don’t have a dog. I don’t want a dog. I certainly did not want a bow tie for a dog.
“But you have a very beautiful cat,” the man countered, pointing to the window where my admittedly gorgeous domestic shorthair was watching this whole thing go down. He almost got me, this dog-bow-tie salesman, but I held my ground, thanked him, and sent him on his way.
What does this have to do with the price of kibble in Omaha? Nothing, really, but here’s the thing: no matter how good your intentions, it is hard to resist that knock on the door. Is Facebook sending you sly notifications every few minutes? Did you dive down the Etsy rabbit hole, or get lost on Buzzfeed? We all get distracted from writing, but don’t let one distraction lead to another. Take a deep breath, shut the door, and get back to what you were doing.
NoMo: yeah write’s November writing challenge
Here’s one way to practice slamming that door. Are you in? You still have a couple days to register. All you need to do is post once a day for the month of November, and you could win a prize – not to mention bragging rights! How about trying a microstory a day? I bet you can handle that. Check out the blogs already participating and join the fun on our NoMo grid!
Answer the ultimate question in exactly 42 words: who’s that knocking at the door?
A good answer to this week’s question must include a door (literal or figurative) and must identify the person knocking at it (literally or figuratively). Girl Scouts, candygrams, land sharks, whoever it is, make sure we know who is knocking. Going abstract? Try personifying opportunity or giving hearbreak a face. We’d like to see a “who” here.
Don’t get disqualified on a technicality
READ THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. Take us seriously so we can take you seriously.
COUNT YOUR WORDS. Use your eyes, not your word processor. Your post may not be eligible for voting if you go over or under 42 words. And remember, any words surrounding your microstory — explanations, references, footnotes, shout-outs, etc. — will be counted against your 42-word limit. (The only exception is photo credits.)
PROOFREAD. Nothing is easier, and nothing will get you bumped from the voting grid faster than typos, spelling or punctuation mistakes, or grammatical errors. You’ve only got 42 words; mistakes stick out.
ANSWER THE QUESTION. We try to give you some basic guidelines with every question; pay attention to what we’re looking for. Keep in mind that your post has to make sense if your reader doesn’t know the question. Don’t use the question as your title or anywhere else in your piece.
The top 42 entries will be open for voting on Thursday
You may enter only one gargleblaster microstory. Submissions are moderated. All entries will show up on our submissions grid, and up to 42 entries will be moved to the voting grid, which opens on Thursday. Everybody: read, comment, vote! Participation is the key to making this community work.
If you don’t make the voting grid, don’t despair – you’ll get a detailed love letter from our wonderful submissions editor, Rowan G., letting you know what needed improvement. Email us or head over to our pages on Facebook and Twitter with any questions.
Winners will be announced on Friday
Look for Friday’s combined winners’ post to see the crowd favorites and editors’ picks from across all of our challenge grids.
What else is happening around here?
We’ve got the nonfiction challenge opening on Mondays, the fiction and poetry challenge on Tuesdays, the microstory challenge on Wednesdays, and the come-one, come-all moonshine grid for the weekends. We’ve also got a great hangout space over at the coffeehouse. Make sure you subscribe to our weekly e-mail blast so you don’t miss out.