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1000 Words

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1000 Words is a compilation of short essays and letters addressed to writers (by Jami Attenberg and many of her writer friends). I'm not sure the subtitle is accurate: it is not a "guide," which implies a path or series of steps to follow. Rather, it provides inspiration, comfort, motivation, and writerly empathy. The letters and essays can each be read in a handful of minutes, like a runner's gel taken before a hard workout, providing the same kind of energy boost. This is the kind of book that all writers could benefit from having on their shelves, any time we feel like we've lost our energy for the project at hand, or lost confidence in our abilities. I'm a fan of the #1000wordsofsummer approach as a way to motivate others, in community, to put words to paper, and Attenberg channels that same enthusiasm here.

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for this copy in exchange for my honest feedback.

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[book:1000 Words: A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round|169272349] is a book of enjoyable essays with writing advice, interviews and inspiration by well-published Attenberg (six novels, a memoir, a short story collection) generated on her motivational social media site https://1000wordsofsummer.substack.com/p/everything-you-need-to-know-about. Extolling the virtues of a daily writing practice, Attenberg has set her own output at one thousand words every day and encourages her readers to try doing the same. In June, the sixth version of this communal two-week practice starts with a daily letter of encouragement from the author. The book uses the four seasons of the writer's cycle to discuss creativity, motivation, drafting and publishing. There are notes and insights scattered throughout, all geared to inspiring the writer to make art. And the book's messages could be used for other art forms as well. Highly recommended. Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC.

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1000 Words is a motivational guide of short essays, letters, and personal anecdotes from the author as well as more than 50 writers to encourage writers to keep making art. The essays/letters are brief, so it’s the perfect book to read in small doses over time.

Motivational books about the creative process are tricky, and I’ve even had the experience of friends telling me that a book was life-changing for them creatively when it ended up making me feel defeated and setting me back. This book felt like the antidote to the pressure that we put on ourselves as artists. It felt like gentle encouragement and permission to create in whatever way feels right for you, and dozens of incredible writers are right there assuring you that they’ve felt the exact same way that you feel in your worst periods of writers’ block. Jami Attenberg created an incredible community with her 1000 Words of Summer project, and this book perfectly encapsulates the spirit of it. Because many of the letters from other authors were written during the pandemic, it feels like a collective effort to climb out of the trenches during even the most difficult circumstances. I think any writer would feel validated and inspired reading this.

Thank you to NetGalley and S&S/Simon Element for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This book isn't what I originally thought it was going to be. The first few chapters focus on how to maintain the habit of writing by teaching you how to write 1000 words a day. But most of the book contain advice from many popular authors about how to write successfully which I love because it gives you a look at many different ways that a person can write. If you are looking to start writing or having trouble writing, I would check this book out to see if there is any advice that could help you improve your writing.

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I'll keep this short and sweet. If you are interested in being more productive... BUY THIS BOOK!


Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an arc. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Very inspiring, especially the letters from different writers - so cool to see all their different voices in one place.

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This is one of the best writing books I've ever read: it's warm, supportive, and inspirational. I've taken part in #1000words and the book just dials everything up to eleven. I can't imagine finishing this book and not being inspired to grab a notebook and pen and start letting your imagination run free.

This book would be an ideal gift for anyone who writes, but it would also be valuable for people who have some kind of creative urge but don't know what to do with it. At its core, it's about giving yourself the gift of sustained effort towards whatever your passion project is.

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Loved this book! Honestly one of the best craft books I have read in some time. I found it to be very informative and inspiring and have a feeling I will turn to it again and again when I might be feeling a little stuck.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing an Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley!

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Oh wow! I loved this book! Well done Jami Attenberg! This book is so inspiring. If you are a writer, you need to read this book. It was engaging, inspiring, and funny at times. This is a book I will take with me everywhere so I can keep referring back to it. Thank you for writing it.

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1000 Words: A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round
by Jami Attenberg

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Jami Attenberg (All This Could Be Yours; Saint Mazie; The Middlesteins) offers up a kinetic, atmospheric river of inspiring words designed to help writers keep churning out prose in 1000 Words: A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round.

It is often said necessity is the mother of invention, and Attenberg took the phrase to heart when she started a kind of writer's boot camp after feeling stymied with anxiety over a blank page. In 2018, the author was facing the stress of a deadline and a lack of creativity. She decided to reach out to a friend for help. They agreed to push each other into producing 1,000 words daily for two weeks. The simple pact proved to be a successful tool for smiting writer's block. And the idea ballooned from there, eventually becoming the online movement #1000WordsofSummer, a literary project and support group for writers and would-be writers to create and maintain creativity throughout the year.

Attenberg offers a challenge to anyone willing to take up the gauntlet: write 1,000 words without judging the words produced. Even nonsensical words and disconnected sentences are acceptable. The pressure is off; there isn't a fee involved; and there's no shame--only encouragement from more than 50 other successful wordsmiths sharing advice gleaned from their own trials and tribulations. A completed novel may result from following the guide, but making something (anything) is the ultimate goal. This verbal kick-in-the-butt guide offers a path to inevitable results, completely self-defined by 1000 Words. --Paul Dinh-McCrillis, freelance reviewer

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If you are a writer, in any capacity, looking to get back on the writing horse or to just stay motivated as you go, then you'll want to read this book. Jami Attenberg and the contributing writers are generous with their thoughts in a kind but direct way — You can do this. You can find the method that works for you, and you can get your writing done.

I subscribe to her newsletter, so some of the text was vaguely familiar, but it's still worth reading again. We always need the reminder that we're capable of valuing our creativity, our work, and our time. Whether you're on a deadline or that writing is just for you, to see if you can do it (you can), you'll find something of use here. Wholeheartedly recommend.

Pair with Matt Bell's REFUSE TO BE DONE (though maybe read Bell's book second, if you've read neither before), and you'll really feel capable of tackling that next project.

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Jami Attenberg uses a novel approach (no pun intended) in delivering her writing advice. Her approach? Breaking up her advice into ‘seasons’. Winter is the developmental phase. Spring is focused on prepping to maximize productivity/streamline writing process. Summer is where you really get down to work. This also happens to be where Jami’s process all started with her original #1000wordsofsummer. (Her goal of getting herself to write 1000 words a day.) And last but not least Fall, which in my opinion is a time to reassess/evaluated our progress. This book is a bit different from most of the writing books I’ve read. Not so much an instructional guide but rather essays designed to keep writers inspired to continue pressing forward with their craft. While the intro section seemed a bit too long to me, jumping into the actual ‘seasons’ there was plenty of advice/inspirational words worth my time. I’d like to thank Simon Element, S&S/Simon Element and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an eARC of 1000 Words: A Writer’s Guide To Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All year Round.

https://www.amazon.com/review/R9K6GXGZ1SCTJ/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv

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One of the few genuinely helpful and informative books on writing that I've read in a long time. Information is detailed enough without being didactic or repetitive and the author's voice is clear and engaging.

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Enjoyable but for the seasoned reader of such craft (writing) books, nothing new. For those who are new to such readings, I’m sure they will find it encouraging and engaging.

The chapters are comprised of seasons, each season helping to build and motivate you to write. Within those seasons, authors from different genres give their “tips” for writing, resting, and developing stories, all in a friendly one-on-one tone.

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1000 WORDS by Jami Attenberg (Saint Mazie) is the result of an effort by Attenberg and fellow writer Anne Gisleson to motivate themselves. She says that one thousand words (about four type-written pages) is a workable daily goal for her, but that each reader should decide individually on a goal. The text continues by offering ideas on where to write, how to begin, and later reading your work out loud, emphasizing that while writing can be isolating, one is not alone in this creative work. She categorizes a creative life cycle as having phases: internal and developmental; preparatory; committed; and a reflective pause. In addition to the essays from Attenberg, there are inspiring contributions from writers like Min Jin Lee, Roxanne Gay, Laila Lalami, and Courtney Sullivan. This collection is subtitled "A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round" and will likely have the most appeal for those who are actively trying to write longer works. Aspiring writers can also subscribe to Attenberg's Craft Talk Newsletter. She notes, "You can create a sense of isolation in your mind. You can tap into that hunger and desire to make something new. It's all sitting right there. A pen, some paper, and your brain." Described in numerous reviews as motivating, comforting, and/or encouraging, 1000 WORDS received a starred review from Booklist.

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This is the kind of book you want to keep next to your desk so when you don't feel like writing that day, you can read one essay and then write, write, write! Jami Battenberg and the writers she features here are all incredibly generous with their advice and encouragement.

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When I look back at my productivity as a writer, there is no doubt that participating in Jami Attenberg's "1000 Words of Summer," an accountability project where writers commit to writing one thousand words a day, every day, over a two week period in the summer, with daily e-mail encouragement from Jami and other writers, has helped me to generate more words (and story ideas) than at any other time of the year. I save Jami's e-mails. and refer to them whenever I need a little boost for my writing habit.

Now, with the publication of "1000 Words," I have access to all of these treasured messages in one place! I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to build a regular, year-round writing practice, and needs inspiration, encouragement, and a reminder that all writers approach their craft differently. Thank you to Jami, Simon and Schuster/Simon Element, and NetGalley for giving me this opportunity to take an early look at, and to provide feedback on, "1000 Words."

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I was given an #ARC of this book from #NetGalley. I have been a Jami Attenberg newsletter subscriber in part because of the New Orleans content. I expected writing advice but perhaps because of the title anticipated it would be more "productivity" oriented. I was delighted to find that, instead, the book is charming vignettes from many of my favorite authors-- as much about life as about writing. This would be a great book to gift a writer/aspiring writer and one that is easy to dip in and out of.

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Without coming across as self-help-ish in tone, Attenberg offers frank, sound advice on building a mindset conducive to jumpstarting or resuming a creative practice. Her guidance is interspersed with pep talks from guest authors who have contributed to the summer events over the last several years, gathered here in a thoughtful, thematic arrangement. The overall effect is a sense of commonality and community in the struggles and joys that writers experience. This is a book that a writer could pick up again and again when in search of kind but firm encouragement at any stage of the writing process.

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Simon Element provided an early galley for review.

Running the monthly writing group at our library, I know how important inspiration and motivation can be for those trying to get their stories out of their heads and on to the paper. This book provides quite a bit of that.

While many writers will likely have heard much of this advice before (it is not rocket-science), we all often need to be reminded of these things to help keep us focused and on-track. Hearing from other writers adds to the supportive foundation. Knowing that even published professionals struggle with the process now and again can actually be encouraging for the rest of us.

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