The creators and curators of 100 Words Of Solitude are professional writers who also teach Creative Writing and English Literature at a number of universities. This project, however, has no affiliations or connections with our professional activities; as teachers and published writers ourselves we know the value of the written word as a means of exploring and making sense of chaos. We are trying to support our students via distance learning, trying to care for friends and family from afar, and trying to negotiate being trapped in our house together for the foreseeable future!

This project was conceived from a conversation about whether it was possible to understand the varied, lived experiences of people all over the world, who are all sharing the same fears and concerns, similar challenges, but in very different places and in very different ways. We also wonder how it might be possible to write about the pandemic, and if writing about it is even the right way to approach such a complex situation.

Our current writing projects are on hold, as we each manage the practicalities of our situations, and hold our breath waiting to hear the next news announcement or message from a sick relative. But we know that writing can help. We’ve taught Creative Writing for the mental health charity MIND in the past, know how it can help us to take control of our thoughts, to make sense of emotions and behaviours and cultural/social interactions.

Through this project we want to encourage you to turn away from the rolling news coverage, to release the tension in your shoulders, to express your situation or understanding or feelings about what is happening through creativity, and to share these snapshots of the humanity behind the headlines.