Crash and burn
The numbers don't lie.
Like so many other ambitious and hopeful writers, I planned to take part in the 1000 Words of Summer challenge, which began on June 4th. Participants vow to write 1000 words a day for two straight weeks, which felt like the perfect way to get back in the habit after a few months off.
As usual, I started strong. In just 4 days, I racked up over 4,000 words. It felt like the beginning of something—a scrap of an idea, a loose theme, a mood. I was having fun, but I was also thinking ahead. Could this become something bigger? Are these the bones of my next novel? Will these two weeks turn into two years?!
On the fifth day of the challenge, I left home for a three day work event—my company’s annual user conference, our first in-person production since the pandemic—and I didn’t write a single word. Nor did I write upon my return. Instead, I just stopped. My momentum was short-lived. I was still interested in what I’d written, but the urgency was gone.
Back in May, my husband bought me a new Garmin as a graduation gift. (He earned the degree, but PA school was a team effort.) I wear the watch for running, but I also wear it to track my heart rate, my step count, my REM cycles, the weather. It’s a wealth of information about my body, which I find endlessly fascinating.
While I was at the conference, my Garmin was on high alert, my data each day an anomaly. Heart rate: elevated. Stress level: extreme. Sleep: nonexistent. “You’re bottoming out,” my watch warned. “Try to find opportunities to rest and recharge.” Whoops.
Once the conference was over, I did as I was told. Caught up on sleep, ate a vegetable. I wrote a few words, but nowhere near 1000. Nevertheless, my Garmin was pleased. Eventually, I was too.
Writing, for me, is a physical act as much as it is mental. The brain, after all, is in the body. My hands type. My shoulders hunch. My eyes squint. When I don’t take care of myself, I get tired and hungry and restless and distracted. When I give my body what it needs, it can accomplish almost anything, on the page and off.
This week, the data looks better. I’m sleeping, I’m exercising, I’m eating my vegetables. I’m starting to think, once more, about those 4,000 words and where they might lead. I’m ready to start the journey.
Summer is finally here, and our small but mighty garden is in full swing. This was a recent harvest, all from our front and backyards, which was so pretty I had to stage an elaborate photoshoot on my kitchen table. Honestly, can you blame me?
Being Child-free Lets Me Live My Most Authentic Life
“The most fulfilling benefit is having more time, space and emotional energy to build community — something undervalued in our nuclear family-obsessed culture. I can devote myself to supporting new mothers by cooking meals in the weeks after birth, cheering on the local high school soccer team, offering the spare room in my apartment to a new grad exploring a summer internship in the city, being another listening ear when someone feels their parents might not understand.” 💛
Why People Can’t Stop Adding lol to Texts
“[T]hough a similar tone can be textually conveyed through a simple haha, a tactical lmao, or a well-chosen emoji, lol has endured above all as a flexible and adaptable little linguistic particle that makes text conversations feel more human.” 😂
13 Small Ways to Ditch Your Phone and Live More in the Moment
HOWEVER if you’re practicing Italian via Duolingo, you can look at your phone all you want. Listen, I don’t make the rules. (Just kidding, this is 100% my rule.) 🇮🇹
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This is me and my Whoop big time. I tried to the 1000 words, but I was hitting recoveries below 35% every day after starting a new job. Honestly, pretty nice to have a device override my "but I should be able to do everything!" instinct with actual data.
I’m intrigued by the data it’s giving you! And glad you listened to what your body needs.