Day 1 #1000wordsofsummer 2021

Hi friends.

Today you will write 1000 words. You will write them because there is a core creativity inside of you ready to burst open and bloom. Maybe you haven’t had time to give it the attention it needs lately. Maybe you’ve already connected to it and are trying to sustain or build on its current electric state. Whatever the case, it’s sitting right there in you. I am telling you it is there. The place where the words and ideas are. A gorgeous, powerful, stimulating place. And today, very simply, you will write to tap into that pure creativity. One thousand words today and every day for the next two weeks.

Welcome to the beginning of #1000wordsofsummer. (If you have just signed up and this is your first letter, you can find out more about the goals of the project here and this newsletter and me here.) I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this year, to join all of you, to channel everyone’s enthusiasm, to start my own new project, to get people pumped and ready to do this valuable work. These words, these pages, I promise you, they are all within reach.

Every day we will have a different guest contributor offering words of wisdom on creativity, productivity, and more. A donation will be made on their behalf to a charity of their choice, and today’s pick is Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy.

And now here’s Rumaan Alam, author of the absolutely enthralling and deeply satisfying National Book Award-finalist Leave the World Behind, with some thoughts on writing:

“Advice about writing is mostly pretty awful, but a long time ago, another writer said something to me, really an aside, a stray thought, that has stuck with me, as advice about writing, or maybe advice about life itself. ‘No one is ever going to ask you to write a book,’ she said, and she’d know, having published three at that point.

I appreciate this statement because it’s true; unless you’re a disgraced politician or a famous celebrity, no one will ask you to write a book. (If you are a politician, no one will really read your book; if you are a famous celebrity, there are a million things more fun than writing a book that you could do.)

Take the ‘book’ out of it; no one will ask you to write, full stop. It’s up to you. You probably already knew that, which is why you’re trying to produce 1000 words a day right now. Part of you knows that some percentage of those words won’t be good, that you’ll write and rewrite and revise and write more and slash and write more and revise and on and on. Yet without those first 1000 words, you have nothing, the first step of that proverbial 1000-mile journey.

No one is asking you to take that 1000-mile journey, not the way your dog asks you to take it for a walk, or your kids ask you for a snack, or your family or your work or the million demands of existence ask you for your attention. I find this liberating, and hope that you will, too. Writing isn’t something anyone wants from you, but a thing you demand of yourself.”

What are you demanding of yourself today? What does your first step look like?

Friends, let’s go.


You are reading Craft Talk, the home of #1000wordsofsummer and also a weekly newsletter about writing from Jami Attenberg. I’m also on twitter and instagram.