Day 9 of #1000wordsofsummer 2018
|Jami Attenberg||Nov 25, 2019|
Good day, friends,
Today you will write 1000 words. Because you started this damn thing, and now you're going to finish it.
But where did the 1000 words come from?
Before I wrote my first book fourteen years ago, I read somewhere that if you wrote 1000 words a day for three months, you'd have a book at the end of it. I can do that, I thought. Sure, why not?
At the time I was blogging like a fiend, occasionally getting essays published, and I had put out a few zines, one of which had gotten a little press attention. I had words bursting out of me. I only needed a place to put them.
A friend of mine said to me, "Why aren't you writing a book yet? It's time." And then she offered me an opportunity, a place to live for the summer, a small cottage in Napa on her boyfriend's land. He had a dog that needed to be walked every day, a big dog, a Tibetan Mastiff. And every day I walked the big dog and I wrote 1000 words. I also drank a lot of cheap, cold white wine and lived on pasta and the vegetables that grew in the garden (because I was broke) and I read a lot of books and I struggled with the spotty internet connection and I had several miniature nervous breakdowns because I was by myself so much and also because I was getting rid of all this emotional stuff by writing this book, stuff I hadn't known was there, but now it was out, and it was on the page, 1000 words at a time.
I got up every day, and I did it. I figured I would never have this amazing gift of time and space again. If I didn't write this book now, then when would it happen? In the fall I would go back to work, to a contract job I hated, and what if I had nothing to show for this summer?
But, six books later, here's the thing I've learned. You don't need it to be summer, and you don't need to be in a cottage in the woods. (And you don't need a stranger sending you an email over the internet telling you that you can do it.) You can be anywhere and write those words. You just have to want it. Real bad.
You can create a sense of isolation in your mind. You can tap into that hunger and desire to make something new. It’s all sitting right there. A pen, some paper, and your brain.
At the end of the summer, I had a book. (Also, my skin looked fantastic.) Whatever was going to happen next, at least I had done it. I had no idea what I was doing after that moment. But I had made this thing that was all mine.