Today you will write 1000 words. You are inspired and fired up and ready to make this happen. It’s truly thrilling when you stop and think about it. One thousand words. All yours.
This year I’m working on finishing up an essay collection – which I started developing during last year’s #1000words! – and my biggest challenge with it is believing that my stories are important. Is this or that part of my life relevant to anyone else? Are my words necessary? And every day I have to tell myself: Yes, they are.
Now is exactly the time to consider your words necessary. To say to yourself: what I’m writing matters. Make it feel more urgent. Make it feel crucial. Watch the words tumble out when you believe what you have to say to the world counts.
Today’s guest contributor is a writer I have long admired, Rebecca Carroll. She is the host of the excellent podcast “Come Through with Rebecca Carroll” on WYNC and is the author of the highly anticipated forthcoming memoir Surviving the White Gaze. Her most recent piece of criticism was this impeccable piece for the New York Times Book Review.
Rebecca’s talking to us today about her process.
“I write at the kitchen table, which is at the center of our apartment. It's attached to the living room, where the TV is, and the apartment is small to begin with. I write when my teenage son is watching TV and though he watches most of shows and movies on his phone, the quarantine has made him yearn for a change of venue every so often. But even before the pandemic, I wrote an entire book during both the NFL and NBA 2019 seasons — my son and husband are rabid fans.
I take breaks to make my son breakfast and lunch, and then sit back down to write. I answer his questions and try to mitigate his boredom now that we're in lockdown all day while simultaneously working. Since he can’t get to the barber, he recently decided that rather than risk trusting me to give him a proper line-up, he’s giving over to growing his hair out. Every few days, he sits on the floor between my legs and I twist his hair into drop twists while we watch an episode of ‘Riverdale.’
I guess I've always written and created within a certain measure of chaos — emotional, psychological, logistical. My overall approach in everything I do is and has always been collagist. I find inspiration in the elegant clutter of things. The art on our walls, the books on our shelves, the sound of trap music that spills from my son’s headphones. My writing is in conversation with the tenor of our lives.”
Where will you find your inspiration today? Is it already all around you?