my body is an interface to get words on a page

A brief note on #1000wordsofsummer and a question about your creative practice.

We are closing week one of #1000wordsofsummer, the annual fortnight of writing hosted by Jami Attenburg. It’s more appealing than NaNoWriMo to me because there are no guidelines – output is all that matters. The work could be completely scrapped after. Maintaining a plot or structure is difficult. 1000 Words of Summer is easy: a thousand words, daily, for two weeks. End with 14,000 more words than when you started. That is substantial, it could be the start of something new. It could be nothing. No matter what, it is an accomplishment. A challenge met and something to be proud of.

In a completely predictable turn of events, I missed the news about it until day four. No matter, I jumped in feet first. It has been freeing. I have so much I want to write; all day I compose sentences in my head and turn over ideas. But I spend so much time perfecting – attempting to perfect, because there is no best way to write about difficult subjects – that I never put my fingers on the keyboard. These two weeks liberate me. It doesn’t matter what I write, I just need to hit the word count each day. In order to do that, I let it all flow. I’ve repeated myself a bunch, rephrasing the same anecdote or sentiment over and over. It’s a work in progress.

Today’s writing was difficult. There was no flow. Or the flow was interrupted. When I spend so much time in my head, writing everything down can feel almost like channeling, my body solely an interface to get words on a page. These first few days feel like a brain dump of the year so far – what does it say that a few thousand words is the sum of what’s been brooding in my head for months? – and the channeling will likely get more difficult as I run out of pre-edited mind material. But I know that’s where the magic happens: giving ourselves space is necessary for creativity to run free. 

Today’s question: how do you give yourself time to be creative? Hit reply on this email to let me know directly or comment in Substack to share more widely.

Take care & keep in touch,