I created The Iron Writer in February 2013 and the website has been growing ever since. The idea evolved from a blog tour I participated in where I was asked to write a five hundred word flash fiction piece, utilizing four elements, with a six week deadline. Once committed, I fretted the next day if I was capable of keeping my commitment. In my angst, I did not know what one of the elements was, so I Googled it. When I discovered what the element was, my muse dropped in and gave me everything I needed. Five hours later, I submitted my story, polished as well as my poor writing skills allowed. About a week later, still on a high over the experience, I thought about what I learned by accepting the challenge. It occurred to me what this concept could become. And so The Iron Writer Challenge emerged from the womb.
In the year since, not only is there a weekly challenge where a single winner is crowned, The Iron Writer now offers a series of tournaments where an annual champion is crowned. In recent months, from suggestions from the wonderful and supportive writers who have joined the group, The Iron Writer has expanded to include an non-competitive Weekend Quickie, The Iron Poet and The Iron Writer Wars.
But what is most important is how The Iron Writer has changed everyone who has embraced the concept. Taking a challenge is like exercising. You find that each word is important and extraneous words constrain the story. This skill is one that every writer needs. Think of writing a single scene in a novel. Every word carries weight. Every word needs to be in the best place in the scene. Taking a challenge, whether submitted or not, tightens, sharpens your skill.