What Writing Only and Precisely 100 Words Every Day Can Do For Your Creativity and Language
Inspired by the Drabble, this brevity practice is an effective and playful writing method to get into regularly as a form of journaling or group writing.
Sundays are my day to write 100 words, and 100 words only, to send to my Power Circle. (More on Power Circles later.) Our 100 words do not need to be contained by the forms of Microfiction/Flash fiction or a Drabble, but they can be.
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Our coach, on more than one occasion, has said something along the lines of:
“Poetry, music, and well-written stories help to clean our language the way the eels of the Roman aqueducts cleaned the water.”
Coming up with 100 words to honor the accountability to my fellow Power Circlettes is as grounding as planting my feet and making sure all four corners are balanced. Knowing that I could write a rant, a poem, a song, an idea, a limerick, or even a snippet from a larger project is so freeing. Knowing that my 100 words could grow into something more feels so promising.
I have already experienced how limiting my words, or even characters could help me re-evaluate how I communicate a message or story — from tweets to grant applications to online feedback forms. Fitting a story, in particular, into this format, has been such an engaging challenge as I work to figure out what I can toss and what absolutely has to stay. What words do I love? And, why? How can I tell the Power Circle in the most efficient and beautiful way the story of getting caught eating the neighbor’s blueberries that her husband said we could eat, and how that turned into the most lovely and loving cookie swap that felt different because of the pandemic? Could I make it a parody of William Carlos Williams’ “This Is Just To Say?” No, apologizing to the late, great Mary Oliver, the walker in the woods that certainly cleaned our language, as well as any pack of eels, would be enough!
Could I, instead, share that we never came clean about rolling down their hilly lawn and flattening out the grass? Then, aha! A moment and adventure happens, and it feels perfect for 100 words.
How To Get Started
You can keep a word count in Google Docs, MS Word, or Mac’s Pages pretty easily, but I love to use https://wordcounter.net/ for the simplicity of the large word counter above the box. I then later add my 100 words to a google doc for saving and another doc that my group uses for sharing.
The 100-word practice is another great practice to build a group around, and it suits our group perfectly, as there are 7 of us. After a few of us started to miss our days entirely, we had a fascinating discussion about whether the practice was still serving us, and when one member of the group noted what an incredible record of an extraordinary time we’re living in, a disjointed yet poignant time capsule, we all knew that it was worth recommitting to. This discussion, months into sharing, is when we decided that if there would be accountability in this practice, there must also be parameters that support freedom. “You could just pull an excerpt from a bigger project!” one of us said. “You could write something entirely different, but explain yourself,” said another. When we all landed on ideas that sounded good and sounded like a commitment that is also a gift to ourselves and each other (much like my daily yoga practice with my yoga accountability group,) we doubled down and forged ahead, with renewed energy and creative surprise for each other.
One Thousand Days of Yoga*
Daily Yoga isn’t as difficult as it sounds. If you can learn anything from my experience, you might just get hooked…
Do you have or want to create a writers/creativity group? What does or would that look like? Is it worth writing about?