Welcome, and thank you for celebrating the fourth annual Hitchens Day. After four years of highlighting this day, I have become more and more excited. Not all Hitchens Days have been “good” personal days for me, but I wake up every time with a burning urge to write read and publish. I believe this is because of the personal challenge to myself which bears the Hitchens inspiration. I speak, of course, about the Writing Challenge, imposed upon myself after getting my BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas. The challenge is stated very simply: a daily composition average of one thousand words a day. The inspiration is based on an interview with Christopher Hitchens when asked about writing he replied,
“…on average I produce at least a thousand words of printable copy every day, and sometimes more. I have never missed a deadline. I give a class or a lecture or a seminar perhaps four times a month and have never been late for an engagement or shown up the worse for wear. My boyish visage and my mellifluous tones are fairly regularly to be seen and heard on TV and radio, and nothing will amplify the slightest slur more than the studio microphone.”1
This gives him millions of composed words.
I too often depend on words upon a page, carefully composed, to do the job of revealing my stories to all who are willing to read them. I love this about being a writer. It isn’t that my stories aren’t good, but I really don’t focus on whether or not I am a “good” writer. A clear writer with very little fear of myself, or of being seen, most of my days goal, well, outside of making it to 1K.
I love the challenge. Write one thousand clear words a day and, by Hitchens self administered standard, you will be a writer. I choose to be as such.
I have been asked if I feel like a natural, or perhaps I am “meant” to write. I suppose I do. The desire to arrange the puzzle of language in every way available to communicate with my fellow propels me from my bed most mornings. It seems these days, I can no more control the desire to compose words than I can curb the desire to compose music, which has been present since the tender age of sixteen.
Regardless of whether or not I am “meant” to write, I choose to. More and more daily. My renewed vigor is drafting off anticipation of today’s celebration. IAll my spare time in the last three days have been spent in study, preparing the articles which I will release throughout the day. The potential for publications range from a few book reviews, a new Quotes Revealed, fiction will be pouring out in words by the thousands, of course an MM dedicated to Hitchens, and with a few other tricks up my sleeve, the blog should be the busiest it has ever been. Oh, and I have also alluded to a bibliography that I will try to assemble for all of my works. I have not seen all of my research sources piled into one document and I think that too will inspire me.
I believe this will be the best Hitchens day ever, that is, I know it will—at least—be my most productive.
1. I found this quote while researching a while back, but I heard a similar statement in an interview I haven’t yet been able to locate. The interview takes place towards the end of his life and he claims this 1k a day word habit had been going on for the better part of 30 years. And if that is true than it equals just under eleven million printable words. That is why I really do the challenge. Once you’re written millions of words, you are indeed a writer.