Day 2 #1000wordsofsummer 2022
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The first day’s letter is here. Here is an explainer of the whole shebang. Yes, you can start a day late.
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Today you will write 1000 words. Because it feels urgent for you to make a connection – either with the world or with yourself. What doors could you open for yourself by writing something meant to be read by an audience? Think of those electric possibilities. And what doors can you open within yourself by having those most intimate conversations that can only surface on the page? Think of the new truths we arrive at when we write.
Who are you looking to connect with today? Who is the conversation with? Maybe the answer is: everyone. Use those 1000 words to find out.
I have been a fan of Roxane Gay as a human and a writer for a long time. I have most recently marveled at her opinion pieces for the New York Times, where she poignantly and gracefully captures what so many people are feeling right now. She has written many books, is an editor and sometimes podcaster, and also has a newsletter, The Audacity. Her charitable donation will go to Hope for Haiti.
Here’s Roxane on caring about your work:
“One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself as a writer is to take yourself seriously. This does not mean you should take yourself too seriously, but it does mean that if you love writing, if you put in the work of writing, you are a writer. You don’t need to ask anyone if you can call yourself a writer. You don’t need to reach a certain publishing threshold. So long as you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, you are a writer.
And if you are a writer, you want to respect your craft the same way you respect the other important things in your life. Make time for your writing whether it’s writing itself, reading, participating in the literary community or anything else that contributes meaningfully to your creative life. Write regularly, which does not mean you need to write every day but does mean that your work will be stronger if you are consistent. When you make a time to write, honor that commitment to yourself and your creative work as much as you honor all the other commitments in your life.
I am also a big believer in not diminishing our writing. So many writers will talk about their writing in the most dismissive ways. They’ll say they ‘wrote a thing,’ or offer a few self-deprecating words before sharing a new publication. Sure. Most of us deal with low self-esteem but if you’re taking yourself seriously as a writer, you need to believe your writing deserves to be treated with respect and care. You don’t need to be arrogant but it’s okay to be proud. Writing takes effort and time and imagination. It’s okay to acknowledge that you’re invested in your craft. It’s okay to give a damn about your writing. And yes, if such is the case, it’s okay to be confident. When you write something that’s great, own that. Say that. Those moments of confident can be painfully fleeting. Enjoy them while you can.
Here’s the thing… making yourself or your writing smaller doesn’t make anyone like you more, I promise you. So today, you’re writing 1,000 words. And you will write many more words after that. Those words will matter. They may not change the world, but they will change you.”
Good luck today with those words,
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.
Love this project, the form and the letters. I’ve lurked for the past two years but in the spirit of the project, I am showing up for the craft I love, to write, every day for the next bit.
Roxane’s letter illuminated another reason for the self-deprecation dance. I have subconsciously believed that if I present my work with disclaimers, I will somehow stave off criticism and or judgment by beating others to the punch. What I know now is while it’s likely bruising will occur, I am done with punching myself up. Someone will resonate with my words, and even if the only someone is me, I will be my first fan and best friend - not so much of the result but more the PROCESS of showing up and being open to what can happen.
Thanks and yay writing everyone!
Yay! 800 words so far with more to follow. It's amazing to just start, to write and to see where it takes me. Loving this process and finding ways to use collected quotes in my writing. It just works.