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Friday, April 8, 2011

The Friday Challenge - 4/8/2011

For the past few weeks I've been asking you folks to discuss the future of The Friday Challenge. The simple truth of the matter is that after more than six years of running this site and its predecessor, I'm exhausted. Particularly in the last eighteen months, I have become far more qualified to lead a support group for grieving parents or the spouses of chemotherapy patients than to run a workshop for people who are actively writing fiction and hoping to get it published.

Offline, a related discussion has been proceeding in parallel, as we've considered options. Cutting The Friday Challenge back to a weekly online newsletter? That would seem to defeat the point of using a blog format, and besides, meh. Like the world needs another newsletter for aspiring writers. Becoming The Friday Challenge Monthly? The name seems almost an oxymoron, and I believe doing this would quickly become just a different way to burn up all the time and energy I already don't have. Putting The Friday Challenge on hiatus for a few months and concentrating on getting Stupefying Stories properly launched? Tempting, tempting... Saying it's been fun and shutting the whole thing down, with a final benediction, "To your scattered websites, go?" Very nearly.

And then in the past week it struck me, with that sort of forceful clarity that always attends an idea that seems painfully obvious in hindsight. What The Friday Challenge really needs is a radical egoectomy.

And the ego that needs to be excised is mine.

To me, what The Friday Challenge has always been about is the weekly writing challenges, with the attendant posting, discussion, and voting on the entries. For months now—ever since last October, as you can see by looking across to the left column—I have been wracked by frustration that I no longer have the time to do this. What I have failed to notice is that in the meantime, you have built a very good community here, with a tremendous amount of sharing and mutual support.

With that truth clear to me, my best course of action suddenly became equally clear. Effective immediately(-ish), I'm stepping down from the day-to-day operation of this site. K&B Booksellers will continue to sponsor The Friday Challenge, as much as sponsorship is required, and I will continue to maintain the site. (And yes, as a few of you have noticed, a few carefully selected Amazon.com ads will begin to appear here, now and then. I had to take the time and trouble to figure out how to set up ad links for the benefit of Vox Day and his bestselling economics book, The Return of The Great Depression, so we may as well benefit from it, too.)

I have a few more columns in the queue, so we'll run them out during the remainder of this month. I'll probably end up backsliding around to doing some sort of weekly column; I enjoy this site too much to turn my back and walk away from it completely. But effective immediately, this business of my writing three or four new posts weekly—and more importantly, of my trying to steer and control this thing—stops, and I'm throwing the gates open and shouting:

Who wants to be a Friday Challenge writer?
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