Today you will write 1000 words. An act of communication, to write these words. It’s often not just an internal act, not merely to talk to yourself, or to learn what you think or to process your emotions, but an attempt to connect with the world around you. So they can know what you know, feel what you feel. Those words are alive with hope, and you’re the one writing them, you’re the one infusing them with that desire and care to connect. One thousand electric words reaching out to strangers in the universe. And you will write them today.
When I write my books or essays or messages on social media or these letters, these goddamn letters, my intention is for someone to read them. In my mind, I’m talking to the world. I mean, I’m making conversation with the air when I write them, it’s true. It’s just me alone at my desk early in the morning so much of the time. But every day I have a conversation with someone, in one way or another, because of my words.
Because it’s about being a part of being a bigger conversation with me. The way my work has opened up the world to me has been a gift. Allowed me to meet all of you, so many people from far away. When I write a book and it’s published in a foreign language it blows my mind. I sit here with my morning coffee, I write these 1000 words, and it goes out there in the world, lands in someone’s hands far away, different time zones, different landscapes, and they read it with their morning coffee, and truly it is as if we met. And when I see everyone working so hard on their own projects, writing their hearts out, I think: Maybe someday I will meet you, too.
Nice to meet you
Today’s contributing writer is R.O. Kwon, who has chosen Fair Fight for the daily donation. She is a stunning writer, author of the highly acclaimed The Incendiaries, co-editor of the groundbreaking anthology, Kink, and an incredible activist and force in the literary community. She talks to us today about friendship.
“For the first couple months of the pandemic, I wrote one line of my novel a day. I could barely read, let alone write, but I still had this thin line to my life’s work. It was all I could do; it wasn’t enough.
Then, last May, I started an accountability group with several dear writer friends, then added a second group with a couple of other close friends, so that now, usually every day, I tell these two groups what I’ve written that day, and they tell me. I try to write a certain number of words a day, while some friends are measuring the day by how long they wrote, and so on. What I realized is that while I tend to try hard to live up to my promises to others, I am equally good at breaking promises to myself—I mean, it’s just me, here I am, why not. It’s helped so very much to tie each day’s writing to the first tendency, not the second. And what a joy it is that, physically separated though we mostly still are, I daily have these friends at my side.”
We’ve reached the halfway mark today. It’s often the hardest day for people — “How will I do this for another whole week?” — but if you can get past this, you’re surely going to finish it.
We’ve had more than 1000 people join since we’ve started, and we’re at nearly 15,000 subscribers — welcome to everyone. If you’d like to talk to other participants like yourself, here’s a link to the slack. You can find ways there to connect with online group writing efforts, and perhaps find an accountability partner of your own. And I’ll remind you that people use the #1000wordsofsummer hashtag on other forms of social media - I see quite a bit of you on Twitter and Instagram, and I absolutely love it. You don’t have to be alone out there. We are all here to cheer you on.
But first, we write.