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.
1000 words, let’s go.