The idea is simple:
You can write about anything you want. Anything. Some people open tiny windows into their lives; others write surrealist poetry. Some writers post finely tuned, perfectly crafted vignettes; others show up at the end of the night and spew drunken nonsense onto the screen.
You bring the content. We set the format.
This is an exercise in disciplined creativity. Writing exactly 100 words at a time -- not a single word more, not a single word less -- isn't as easy as it sounds. The word count may be arbitrary, but the motive is not. To borrow from Proust, the tyranny of rhyme often brings out the poet's best work. By working within a standardized form, the writer can concentrate on other matters.
I began this project with a friend on January 1, 2001. We wrote for 100 days straight -- and then decided monthly "batches" would be better. For May 1, 2001, we invited our friends to write; they invited their friends; and so on. Within a few months, I had what I wanted: collections of daily thoughts from separated people who were restricted to the same format of expression. Were there intersections of incidence? Of reflection? Of emotion? Coincidence of joy? Of agony?
We still love those early batches.
What began as a creative exercise between a few people is now a vibrant community of writers who have collectively published more than 7,000,000 words. We'd like to think that most of those words were written for this project. That is to say, they wouldn't exist otherwise.
In this way, 100 Words was one of the first social tasking websites. (And yes, we just coined that term.) Social networking is fine -- find your long lost cousin on Facebook, keep in touch with friends from high school, don't be lonely. 100 Words is about purpose. Writers come here to be productive, to be creative, to be inspired. I wanted to give my friends something to do. Membership is free, easy and without obligation.
Thank you for your interest in 100 Words. As we've said for years, without the enthusiasm of its participants, this project would be nothing.
Jeff Koyen, Editorial