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Jami Attenberg
CRAFT TALK is a weekly newsletter about writing, creativity and productivity from author Jami Attenberg. This is also the home of #1000wordsofsummer, where, once a year, we write 1000 words a day together for two weeks straight. (This year: 5/31/21!)
Created 30 Jun 2019
  • Polar Bear Club
    06 May 2021about 14 hours ago • 3 min read • 7 0
    Hi friends. I have to start a new book soon, a novel. Do I fear I have forgotten how to write fiction after working on a memoir for nearly two years? Perhaps. Have I felt occasionally queasy in recent...
  • Entry Points
    04 May 2021 • 2 min read • 15 1
    Hi friends. We are one month away from beginning 1000 Words of Summer, which begins May 31 and runs through June 13. I have been enjoying people showing up and introducing themselves on the slack, and...
  • Candy on the Lower East Side
    29 Apr 2021 • 3 min read • 18 5
    Hi friends. #1000wordsofsummer starts in a month and, starting next week, we’re going to spend a few letters prepping for it. The Slack is now open for business again, and if you haven’t used it befor...
  • Loving the Long Haul
    21 Apr 2021 • 4 min read • 18 6
    Hi friends. Sometimes I get questions or comments on twitter that inspire these letters. A few weeks ago, it was a series of tweets from Cheryl Strayed. That same week, another tweet stuck in my head....
  • The Story You're Dying to Tell
    16 Apr 2021 • 3 min read • 31 21
    Hi friends. It’s been a weird week. I broke my ankle (don’t ask) and have been laid up in bed and it’s been storming like crazy in New Orleans, and I have been trapped with the terrible news of the wo...
  • The Dinner Party
    07 Apr 2021 • 4 min read • 40 2
    Hi friends. Once, when I still lived in New York City, I was invited to a dinner party where I wouldn’t know any of the other guests. It was on the Upper East Side or the Upper West Side, I can’t reme...
  • The Release and the Reconfiguration
    03 Apr 2021 • 7 min read • 20 11
    Hi friends. It’s spring and almost everyone in my life has gotten at least one vaccination shot and dare I say I have hope again? I drove to Mississippi yesterday and saw some art at a small museum I ...
  • What will this book be?
    28 Mar 2021 • 2 min read • 18 1
    Hi friends. It’s a quiet time right now, while I wait for three things: the legal and copyedit reviews of my book, and my second vaccine shot to fully kick in. I spend my work time reading and writing...
  • #1000wordsofsummer 2021
    21 Mar 2021 • 1 min read • 35 63
    Hi friends. Just wanted to let you all know I talked to my accountability partner last night and we decided this year’s #1000wordsofsummer will be May 31-June 13. My accountability partner is a teache...
  • Notes on The End
    18 Mar 2021 • 5 min read • 34 9
    A note: Donations this week go to this fundraiser to support the AAPI Community Fund. Sending support and love to my friends in the AAPI community. Hi friends. This week I’ve been thinking a lot about...
  • Keep Breathing
    09 Mar 2021 • 1 min read • 17 0
    Hi friends. This will be brief. I’m re-charging this week. I’ve shipped off a new draft which will hopefully be close to ready for the next phase: copy-editing. So now I’m in a place of evaluating wha...
  • Learning to Love the Novel in the Drawer
    03 Mar 2021 • 5 min read • 30 15
    Hi friends. I am a ruthless bitch when it comes to moving on from projects that aren’t working. I have a half-dozen partially completed manuscripts that I tossed for one reason or another. I have 150 ...
  • Personal Treasures
    23 Feb 2021 • 5 min read • 35 15
    Hi friends. I got the yellow Schwinn bicycle with a basket from my friend Elizabeth in 2006, when she was leaving town, moving West, and wanted to get rid of all her shit immediately. She was clearing...
  • How to Write Through Grief
    17 Feb 2021 • 4 min read • 17 2
    Hi friends. We are approaching an anniversary soon. A year of the pandemic. These anniversaries force us to remember the pain as we experienced it. It wasn’t so swift, this pain. It wasn’t as if a lim...
  • How to Fill That Vast Cavernous Well That Seems to Go On Forever
    12 Feb 2021 • 4 min read • 21 7
    Hi friends. It’s a cold and rainy day here in New Orleans near the end of Carnival season. We all wished for warmer weather if not a nice party or two. We will settle for being alive and well. Right n...
  • Know Your Skills
    05 Feb 2021 • 1 min read • 29 1
    Hi friends. I was just sitting here thinking about all of you and just wanted to send a quick note to take you into the weekend. I have been musing about knowing yourself, what your skills are, where ...
  • House Floats & Structure
    04 Feb 2021 • 3 min read • 16 4
    Hi friends. It’s Carnival season in New Orleans, although of course there will be no parades with floats this year on Mardi Gras Day. What has popped up instead are these colorful and inventive house ...
  • Close and Loud
    27 Jan 2021 • 4 min read • 36 0
    Hi friends. The other day I was feeling a little bit bored, even complained about it to friends, in DMs, on texts, in person, while socially distancing in someone’s backyard. I was between drafts, and...
  • Brain Break
    24 Jan 2021 • 1 min read • 9 2
    Hi friends. This week, I shipped off a new, three-months-in-the-making draft to various concerned parties. I felt a sense of relief, and that was it. I had already squeezed every last ounce of cathars...
  • How to Cut 17,000 Words
    16 Jan 2021 • 5 min read • 15 2
    Hi friends. I completed a new draft this week. It’s a big one, which took me about three months to finish. It was based off a draft I had submitted to my editor in mid-October, which she gave me notes...
  • Take the Win
    10 Jan 2021 • 4 min read • 23 31
    Hi friends. I’ve written here before about the challenges of creating the title of a book, and how crucial it is to find the right one. When I wrote that letter in October, I had just landed on what I...
  • 2021 Pep Talk
    05 Jan 2021 • 2 min read • 25 48
    Hi friends. Usually when we begin the new year we start with a refreshed energy or at least some kind of positive attitude or spark. It’s harder right now to channel those feelings because time is so ...
  • This Will All Make Sense Someday
    29 Dec 2020 • 4 min read • 20 5
    Hi friends. My brain has been weary these past few days. The act of writing makes me feel safe and secure and comfortable in the world. But there are times when I need a break. I have just finished a ...
  • The Big Plan
    26 Dec 2020 • 5 min read • 22 59
    Hi friends. Last year when I was on book tour, I occasionally asked new people I met who were in the process of writing a book to get in touch with me in the future. Together we picked a date or a mon...
  • How to Know When a Book Is Done
    20 Dec 2020 • 3 min read • 13 0
    Hi friends. I have a new essay up over at The Guardian. Part of it will appear in my book, so you can get a little idea of what I’ve been working on there. Endlessly working on, it feels like. I think...

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