Day 7 of #1000wordsofsummer 2020 August edition
A Leap to Safety
Today you will write 1000 words. Because it will be a gift to yourself, finishing these words, this week of work. When you sit down to complete a writing project, it is gesture of commitment toward yourself, an investment in your own sense of self and happiness. When you complete that goal for the day, this week, those 1000 words, it will feel like a present, one that could have only come from you.
When we meet again a year from now, the world will have changed again (and again and again). Will you be able to sustain your commitment to your work in this time? Do you have strategies in place to keep your energy going? To make sure your attention stays focused? Do you have firm and realistic plans to finish that big project? Or is it about sustaining a regular practice? Can you take just a few hours a morning to keep the words going, or even just once a weekend to write down your ideas or feelings? Can you give yourself that important time?
Know that however and whenever you do it, the words will still be inside of you, waiting to be unleashed. They don’t go anywhere. They don’t disappear.
(Except for when you wake up at 3 AM with a really good idea but you don’t write it down because you’re kind of half awake and feeling a little lazy and you left your notebook in another room which you should never do, and then you can’t remember the really good idea in the morning and you’re ticked off at yourself for the rest of the day. OK then? They disappear. But that is another email entirely.)
There are plenty of reasons to keep writing over the next year: Perhaps it is already part of your job to write in one way or another and you need to stay on track. Perhaps you are trying to alter your path by creating something new, a book, a proposal, a thesis. Or perhaps you are simply trying to understand yourself better by documenting your thoughts.
For me, writing is all those things, but it is also something that centers me, helps me keep my head on straight. In this country where I live, there is struggle, and more to come, especially in the next few months. I plan to engage with writing as a support mechanism.
I choose to look at writing as my friend and not my enemy. I choose to look at it as a way out. I choose to count on it to help me get to the next place in life.
It is a leap to safety, every time I sit down to write.
This is what I wish for you, this year. Safety, in whatever form that takes for you, physically or mentally. I want all the other things I talked about in these letters this summer, too. I want you to write a big pile of words and I want you to thrive and I want you to feel supported and I want you to be proud of yourself and I want you to tap into your inner drive and I want all kinds of success for you. But also, right now, I want you to be safe.
Thank you to Loyalty Books for hosting us this week. Thank you to all the writers who showed up for the chats.
If you would like to support me, you can pre-order the paperback of my latest book, which comes out next month. Also, please consider donating to this special organization.
1000 words, let’s go.
Hi there, Jami! For weeks I’ve been meaning to reach out and thank you for the August version of #1000words. This was one of the most meaningful weeks of 2020 for me because I constructed a weeklong at-home writing retreat around it, using your morning reflections and the author interviews to bookend each day’s work.
That week I unplugged. Family members oversaw household responsibilities, delivered lunch to me, and followed directions, mostly, about the dinners I’d pre-planned and -prepped. Other than during the evening mealtime, I hunkered, alone in the one-room “retreat center” formerly known as my bedroom, rearranged and filled with books and writing supplies. I made no excuses, offered no further explanation than I was on a writing retreat.
That week I reconnected with a challenging writing project which has been especially difficult to work on since the March shutdown. I focused on productivity beyond word count or number of pages revised, seeking more to reclaim ownership of my time and space and creativity. And each day I was encouraged by you and the five other writers, all of whom have broadened my my perspective on craft as well as humanity with their various subject matter and stories.
My world opened up that week even while I was living inside one room, mostly, for hours on end, and that’s because of you and your work. Thank you.
A month later I’m continuing to make choices that support my writing practice and, along with it, my soul. It can be a struggle still, of course — “the world is too much with us,” even during a pandemic — but taped on a wall in my bedroom/retreat center is a printed copy of the Ada Limon poem you sent on one of those retreat days, “How to Triumph Like a Girl.” Seeing it reminds me of the community that you foster, that community of writers of which I’m a part, and it helps me to remember to “believe it too,” that I’m “going to come in first” by practicing my craft, every. single. day.
And OF COURSE I’m subscribing to your new weekly newletter! That’s very exciting news and will be something to look forward to reading each week. I know it will be meaningful and inspiring.
Thanks again, Jami. You're doing important work, and you're making a difference for many.
Thanks for the gift of these #1000wordsofsummer, both sets. Most welcome, much needed, and found new ways of thinking and working. I will do all I can to maintain the momentum and new muscles, but having your notes as a prod and a coach were terrific motivators. I am sorry to see the days of summer go, but they always do, don't they?