Surprisingly Helpful: #1000wordsofsummer

I like linear, predictable processes. 

I'm not generally the kind of person who proclaims, "I'm the kind of person who" (because honestly, beware), but if I were, I'd say, "I'm the kind of person who likes linear, predictable processes, with a side of outlines and spreadsheets."

And yet. I have come to see that my writing process doesn't necessarily work that way. I once scoffed at those who said, "you don't know what you think about something until you write it," but now I enjoy scoffing at my own preconceived notions. Because I often don't know what I mean until I write it, and sometimes not until I've revised that writing several times. 

Not edited. Revised. Like re-envisioning. 

I really don't have enough experience to comment knowledgeably about The Writing Process (although I still try), but here's a couple of things I've learned: a. mine usually isn't as linear as I'd like and b. I'm never sure what will be helpful until I try it. 

So. I've been looking for hacks to help me with writing goals. Perhaps especially in pandemic time. Perhaps just in this time of my own writing life, where I'm finishing and starting projects, and supporting last year's book. Perhaps just in summer. Perhaps always. Perhaps for you. Or not.

Here's one: #1000wordsofsummer

Led by American writer Jami Attenburg, this effort is basically what it sounds like: you write #1000 words a day (or maybe you can revise or something), for some portion of the summer. Give her your email address, and she'll send a letter with some inspiring words of wisdom from other writers. And yep, that's all she does with your address--no spam. There's also a hashtag on Twitter. 

Earlier this summer, I signed up on a whim (I enjoy her Instagram feed, mostly New Orleans houses). I participated in a two-week session in June and came away with more than I bargained for: 7000 words on two projects for 14,000 total words. Not all of them will be "usable" but they are all extremely helpful. 

I bring this up because she's doing another week of it (which is linked above), from August 10 to 16. So there's time to sign up. More explanation at the link.

The thing about my desire for linear processes is that life often prevents them from happening. And then it's all too easy to give up. 

But 1000 words is do-able, especially for 14 days. Doing them helped me (tortured metaphor alert) keep my bucket in the creative well for two weeks, while other Stuff of Summer Needed Doing. 

Going back to those words now: well, priceless. So useful. Surprisingly so. For me. Maybe for you, too?