This is an unusual Sunday here at Elephant Words. It’s the first since the beginning of the site not to feature a new image to spark the imagination of the writers.
The site has been running since July 2007, and it’s probably the creative endeavour that I have been most proud of in my life – unless we’re counting fatherhood as a creative endeavour, which would be a bit pedantic of us.
Elephant Words started from a relatively simple seed. I wanted to write more, and needed motivation. I realised that the easiest way to trick myself would be to get other people involved, make a commitment together, and let guilt fuel me.
It really worked!
I’ve done a lot of writing that I think is pretty great because of Elephant Words. But I’m more proud of the writers who’ve written for the site.
Experienced authors and nervous beginners. Prolific, motivated folk, and people like me who were incredibly grateful for the nudge. Already established creators, and people on their way to actual writing careers.
A few old friends, and a whole bunch of strangers, many of whom are now close pals as well.
The site runs on a pretty unusual – probably unique – engine; six writers on the roster at a time, and six week schedules that give each writer a different length deadline each week. It’s probably not obvious to most readers of the site how odd that is, but it makes for an exciting writing challenge, and it gives the work of the writers a really interesting energy.
But the truth is that it’s become more and more difficult to keep people working to that schedule. Mainly, life and other projects have made it more difficult for me to pay as much attention to the site as I’d like, and that unique engine has faltered due to poor maintenance.
SO – a sad end, and a new beginning. Elephant Words is going to take it’s first proper holiday – probably only a couple of weeks, but after eight years, that’s a big deal. And when it comes back, it’ll be with a simpler writing engine, and a bit more energy!
I want to offer a huge personal thanks to everyone who’s been involved with the site, writing and reading, and who has supported me during it – mainly my wife Amy, who had only known me for about a year before I embarked on this project, and has been incredible throughout.
And also a special thanks to both Andrew Cheverton – one of my oldest friends and one of the best writers I’ve read, who was a sounding board for me when I was first coming up with the site, and was also the first person to commit to writing for it – and George London – who I’ve known his entire life, and who has been my partner in crime within our family, and also more recently in the running of the site, as well as writing the final piece.