1000 Words of Summer Recap
This year's challenge was the best yet
1000 Words of Summer ended on Friday and I did it! I wrote over 14,000 words in two weeks.
So did a ton of other people, and together we raised $20,000 for a handful of non-profits. 🙌 (Participating in the challenge is free, but you can opt into the paid version of Jami Attenberg’s newsletter for $5 a month, and during 1000 Words, 100% of that goes to charities selected by Jami and her guest contributors.)
There were SO many people in the Slack this year, encouraging each other with emojis and finding writing groups and accountability partners. Feeling very grateful for this community.
This was my fifth time doing 1000 Words of Summer, and I have come to think of it as the start of my summer writing season. Whatever happened during the cold months, I can always use it to reset and establish a routine for my longer-light days.
I decided to stick with one project this year — the novel. During one of the previous years, I jumped back and forth between long projects, but I found that it didn’t create the same sense of momentum. The first year of the challenge, I started a new short story or flash each day, and that was a good year — I came out of it with a handful of almost-finished stories and was able to go straight into revision mode, clean them up, and send them out. (I think two of the four stories I published in 2019 were born during 1000 Words of Summer in 2018 — this one and this one.)
So what actually happens when you go from writing very few words a day to 1000 words a day (in the same amount of time)? I can only speak for myself, but for me this kind of fevered writing unlocks something and lets the subconscious take over. I am normally a VERY slow writer because I edit as I go. I like this method because I wind up with a project that might need structural help but contains good sentences. It’s much easier for me to reorder all the pieces of a project if I feel like the words are at least right.
Writing quickly — and often pushing past the point when I would normally feel done for the day — results in something else entirely. Many of the sentences are not right, but they contain ideas or pieces of dialogue or actions or even whole characters that I couldn’t have simply thought of. They come from somewhere else.
Two weeks is about my maximum for this kind of writing. I thought my manuscript was a mess before, but now it’s in complete disarray and I absolutely must spend some time cleaning up the actual files before I can move forward. Plus, for me, hitting this aggressive word count means other things must go on the back burner — not only other projects but also basically anything extracurricular — which leaves me in a state of needing a little rest and a little fun.
I have been toying with the idea of doing one week of 1000-word days per month… going to put more thought into what this might look like and how I would hold myself accountable.
Congratulations to everyone who participated this year! May you have clear eyes for where your project wants to go from here.