The Big Creative Flow
This is the last post before #1000wordsofsummer starts next Monday, May 31.
Some of you will be trying to finish long-term projects. Dusting off drafts that have been sitting in drawers or trying to push through to the end of something you’ve been toiling on for years. This book can feel heavy in your mind. There are all kinds of feelings and history and moments in your life already attached to this work. You may be thinking to yourself: Why haven’t I finished this already?
There are all kinds of reasons a book takes a long time. Life gets busy. Babies, breakups, cross-country moves. Global pandemics. That sort of thing.
Sometimes we have to follow a creative direction for a while, just to try it out, to learn from it one way or the other, but it turns out it’s not the right one. Sometimes a new shiny project steals our attention. Sometimes we have to pay the bills.
Sometimes we’re afraid to let things go, because letting go means moving forward. Sometimes finishing something means you’ll never get that time back in your life, and that feels significant to you, maybe makes you feel uncomfortable or sad or scared. Sometimes finishing a project means you’ll finally have to show your work to people, to make yourself vulnerable to the world. Sometimes it feels good to obsess on things, to revise the same words over and over again. I know that feeling.
Whatever happened before this moment is irrelevant. We start anew on our work, together. We can finish what we started. We just have to sit down and try.
And I believe in you. I believe you can do this.
This dumb dog believes in you too.
This week I finished the copy edits on my book. I hunched over my computer screen and I focused all my attention on this 74,000 word document and I finished the damn thing.
I began work on this book during the 2019 session of #1000wordsofsummer, just messing around with an essay or two, which helped me develop the proposal that I would eventually sell. During last summer’s session, I wrote three chapters from it. I was mid-stream. And now, finally, it’s done.
I’ve worked on every phase of a book now during this this project (I worked on the ending of my seventh book during the first year of #1000wordsofsummer) and I have to tell you: the system works.
You just need an idea, the inspiration to do the work, and the desire to create that pile of words. You just need to be willing to try. This project is about no one but you and your dreams and scratching that writing itch. It’s about you accomplishing something for yourself. This is your time. You just have to want to say something.
And guess what I’ll be doing next week as we begin this year’s two-week session together? Commencing work on a new book. Starting over, from scratch. I’m looking at the ending of this book as the beginning of the next phase. In the big creative flow of life.
Which phase are you in? What are you looking forward to next?
I have created a fresh new area on the slack for you to post your daily word count. Please cheer each other on at the end of the day if you have time. Even if you only take a few minutes to scroll through, it means a lot to people.
I will also be checking various forms of social media, so please use that #1000wordsofsummer hashtag.
I tend to go online first thing in the morning to post that day’s letter and check in with everyone and also at the end of the day after I finish my own thousand words of the day. I am not capable of providing technical support in any fashion. There are close to 14,000 participants this year, and I do this all on my own. Please be gentle with me – I try my best to respond when I can. And look out for each other, too. That’s all I ask.
All right, friends. Gather all your gear together, check in on your energy levels, clear your heads, get in your goddamn creative flow, and let’s get ready to write our faces off.
See you on the other side.
I’ll do it for Sid.
My problem is not knowing WHICH to return to? Is it the novel? The short story? The memoir? A new part of all three?? I fear focusing on one disappears the other and I REALLY want solid shiny pages to submit to agencies and presses.
How do you pick one..and stay with it without the angst?