Today you will write 1000 words. You are going to write freely and passionately and with beautiful abandon. You will not worry if they are the wrong words. You will not second guess yourself. You will not talk yourself out of this. It is day one and you have a reason for being here: you have something you want to say. No one can stop you from saying it but yourself. And you are going to nail this. Hard.
Welcome to the fifth year of #1000wordsofsummer.
For those of you who are just showing up for the first time, here is an explainer, and, more specifically, why it is one thousand words.
Every day for the next two weeks you will get a letter from me, and, most days, a letter from a contributing author. (Our first letter tomorrow will be from Roxane Gay.) There is an already active community on the slack (details here) and on twitter, where people often post their daily word count. It is the kindest community I have ever seen online — more than 18,000 strong, as of this morning. You do not have to participate in it to write your one thousand words, but it is there for you if you need it.
All of this is free. The act of writing is valuable in so many ways — I want everyone to do it, if they’re interested. And it’s important for writers at all levels to have access to support.
However, if you have a few bucks to spare, please subscribe. One hundred percent of your subscriptions to this newsletter from May 7-June 17 will go to charitable organizations selected by both the contributing authors and myself. As of today, we have already fully funded this summer poetry competition for Louisiana youths organized by the incredible people at FFLIC! Thank you for your donations.
There are t-shirts and mugs, if you are interested, available in this store. They are cute.
If you would like to support me personally, you can also buy my most recent book. (Or any of them, really.)
If none of this is financially available to you, I am still extremely happy you are here.
Because more than anything, what I want is for you to feel success over these next two weeks. At the end of each day, I want you to look at all you’ve done and feel pleasure or pride. I want you to stretch yourself. And grow. Listen, whatever your milestones are, they’re achievable, and they’re important. But mostly I just want you to show up every day. For yourself. And you’ve already begun today.
Good luck out there.
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.
So I thought yesterday was June 4th. I thought, “Oh, Jami must be having a heck of a day if she couldn’t get the first letter out. I hope she’s okay.” It was a busy day for me, too, but somewhere around 930 last night, after prepping my house for a bachelorette party, cooking, greeting and hanging with some really lovely younger women, trading my home for my daughter’s apartment, I sat on her back porch and wrote, more than 1000 words, of the story that’s been tapping me on the shoulder for a decade. Letter or no letter, it’s on me to write this thing that has been so patiently waiting. Annnd this morning, on the real June 4th, there’s the letter in my email.
Thanks, Jami - this story is definitely not waiting one day longer. It and I really appreciate you.
Shechecheyanu — the traditional Jewish expression of gratitude for reaching a certain day or achieving a milestone- was both the topic and my mindset in today’s writing. The prayer had already featured prominently in the history of NOLA’s jewish orphanage I am recounting in my manuscript but I expect that the threads I pulled in my first day of #1000 words will find their way into my forthcoming book. Thank you, Jami, for the push!!