Hi everyone, my apologies that I've been absent from your inboxes these past few weeks. I'm 4 weeks into my last 6 weeks as a college professor and director of a program and life swept me away! But soon I'll be on everlasting summer break and you'll be getting these newsletters regularly once again.
I've had a draft open in a tab for weeks now about how you don't have to sacrifice your relationships for the writing, but I'm going to save that for next time. This will just be a series of updates.
This is my first time participating in 1,000 words of summer. It's free and it just kicked off on Monday, so it's not too late to hop aboard if you need something to help jumpstart your summer writing (you may have heard I have a book to complete...). Every morning, Jami sends out a motivational email and there are 13,000 writers participating. So, that means there's a Twitter hashtag, a Slack group and a Discord channel, so we call suffer through it together.
I'm attempting to reimagine the final essay of my book. Right now, it's a quiet essay. Beautiful written, it's chock full of compelling thoughts and moving insights, but it's not really popping. So, the past two nights, I opened fresh Word doc, then I just typed. Monday night's sesh went better than last night's. But I'm hoping to squeeze out some new ideas, maybe a different way to orient the essay to unlock its greatest potential.
Sometimes, essay writing is like a Rubik's cube. You just keep shifting and shifting until things begin to lineup right.
A friend tweeted they need to move their writing sessions to mornings. I think I need to make the same move. I've been doing it right before bed. I can't say that I feel particularly creative at this hour. Another option could be to break it up into three 333 word sessions throughout the day. Not sure.
I dropped the latest issue of the digital publication I run. It's a beauty.
I've decided to sunset this publication to free up more time for my other creative endeavors. It still feels pretty amazing that I said I was going to launch a publication... and then did. The support from the community has been incredible.
Right now I'm reading Who You Were Meant to Be.
Yes, the title is super cheesy. But I have underlined so much of this book. I decided my word of the year was going to be "selfish." This has led to me making some major life changes and feeling freer than I've ever felt in my life. Dr. Gibson has an entire chapter dedicated to putting yourself first. She writes about how our culture makes this seem like a shameful act, but that when you center yourself, you are happier and able to give to others more freely and generously.
This has absolutely been my experience. Saying no to the things that don't fulfill me or are even harmful to my well-being by shrugging off guilt trips has made it possible for me to feel more in control of my life and less subjected to the chaos of others.
There's also a lot in this book about all the ways we allow our egos to sabotage our happiness. I'm only 2/3 of the way through it, but I feel comfortable recommending to anyone who's feeling restless in their lives right now (which is probably a lot of us after 2020).
I'm doing the closing remarks at commencement. I'm going to read Ross Gay's "Sorrow is Not My Name," which he's apparently set to music.
I'm drawn to this poem for this occasion because this year's (and last year's who will be walking this year) graduates went through more than most to get to this moment. I want to acknowledge the grief, but also point toward the joy that is ever present in our lives and the many new beginnings they will go onto have. I hope this poem brings you some solace, as well.
Recently, I had a student elect to not do a writing exercise because they didn't want to unearth any trauma mid-class. The student announced this the next day after the fact. And I told them, which might also be helpful to you, that writing exercises are like any other exercise an instructor gives you. If you don't feel able, do a modification. Just like you'd do what's right for your body in a yoga class, you should do what's right for your heart and head in a writing class. Writing exercises are mostly about getting you writing or getting your writing brain going in a new way. They're really all much about "getting it right." You should feel empowered to do what's best for you.
I struggle with writing prompts. My mind tends to immediately go blank. But I do good job of storing the lesson in my mind to be retrieved when needed. I know, I'm weird. My writers blow me away with what they can write in 10-minutes. I wish I were half as talented as y'all!
As a little mini-writing prompt to close on: What was the last lie your ego told you?
Mine tried to tell me I'd flame out on 1,000 words of summer, so why even try? Because even if I fail, that's still a few thousand words I wouldn't have written otherwise. Like this newsletter for instance...