In 2018, I participated in the first challenge, the goal being to write 1,000 words/day for 14 straight days. Although I was on vacation for the latter half of the challenge, I managed to draft a lot of content. I took 2019 off because I had finished final edits for Measuring Time & Other Stories, and I needed to recharge. This year, however, I wanted to give #1000WordsOfSummer another go.
Over the 14 days, running from May 29 through June 11, I wrote roughly 15,000 words. So what did I work on this time around? I wrote revisions of two longer short stories, taking about a week with each one. One of the revisions I wrote in a large Moleskine notebook, and the story took up 20 pages. This concentrated time allowed me to immerse myself in the storyworlds I’d created.
Beyond those two big projects, I journaled more than I’ve ever done in such a short time span. I had a journal for the writing challenge wherein I would reflect on what I’d worked on and what I’d work on next. I had a journal of reflections on my interactions with digital technologies and social media, something I’m learning to handle better.
Some writing days were easy. Other days were difficult. But when I think about the amount of content I created, I’m in awe of my productivity. For me, 1,000 words was right at the cusp of what my brain can handle in a day.
Have I written 1,000 words a day since June 11? No, but I have maintained a streak of over 50 consecutive days (begun on May 8) where I have written something. Some days, over a thousand words. Some days, the revision of a poem.
In my post-#1000WordsOfSummer writing life, it’s often tempting to put a time frame or word requirement on my writing. (I must write for at least x amount of time, or I must write x number of words.) Neither of these, however, are particularly necessary for me at this stage in my writing career.
Writing each day–regardless of whether I’m drafting a completely new piece or revising an existing piece–is the fundamental task. I’ve learned that I can use specific goals for specific spans of time, but I don’t need to use measurable goals to maintain an enjoyable writing life.
And through writing each day, I’ve further developed an even deeper satisfaction in all stages of the writing process. It’s to the point now that I when I finish a draft or revision of a story, poem, or essay, I’m excited to work on the next story, poem, or essay. Speaking of that, I’m off to the next piece.