Two writers who need community and think you do too.
The Eight Hundred Words Story
Ashton and Liz met when they were both hired to write for their university blog. Ashton was a sophomore, Liz was a senior, and they were both wrestling with what it meant to be writers.
As co-workers, they edited and critiqued each other's writing at work, and they slowly began holding each other accountable to writing outside of work too.
Before long, these cubicle neighbors became best friends. Having a writer friend made an enormous difference in their creative growth. When one doubted her validity or ability to call herself a writer, the other was there to uphold and reinforce her identity.
In the fall of 2015, Liz admitted to Ashton that she hadn't written in what felt like forever. Ashton felt the same way, and they agreed to send each other eight hundred words by the end of the week.
As the new year came around, they proposed that eight hundred words become their new year's resolution. They'd write eight hundred words a week, with no rules, expectations, or standards – just words. That year, fifty-two sets of eight hundred words were exchanged – words that kept honest accounts of transition, relationships, heart break, international travel, and more.
It's been four years since they started writing eight hundred words a week, and they show no signs of stopping any time soon. They have seen firsthand the power of writers and creatives existing in community.
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If you are looking for creative community, Eight Hundred Words is for you.
Ash & Liz
Ashton is the identical twin, only seventy years younger and with tattoos, to Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II. She is honest, relentless, curious, and probably cusses a little too much. She's outrageously introverted, but that never stops her from speaking her mind. Ashton is in her second year of school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham pursuing a Master's in English, and hopes to go on to get her PhD. She graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in English Writing and has five years of professional writing under her belt. Ashton works as a graduate assistant for an education grant at UAB, writing copy, formatting newsletters, running social media, and working with the students to improve their writing. Everyone that knows Ashton knows that she loves her cat (Severus Snape), wearing black, feminism, Colin Firth, red wine, and buying plane tickets she can't afford. You can read her writing on her website, ashtonvray.com and keep up with her on her Instagram @ashtonvray.
Genre of Choice: Creative nonfiction, academic writing (literary analysis), and (lately) YA fiction
Current Projects: Academic essays, grad school exit essays/proposals, GEAR UP Alabama monthly newsletter, blogs, and social media copy, and I should probably admit that there's a novel in the works, too. And naturally, I write 800 words a week.
Least Favorite Genre to Write: Poetry, anything that involves fantasy.
Writing Heroes: Jane Austen, JK Rowling, Angie Thomas, Elizabeth Moore, Matt Haig
Long Term Writing Goal: Write the kind of book(s) I needed when I was a younger. Tell honest stories, always.
Favorite Genre to Read: Fiction, memoirs, creative essays, mindless chick-lit
Books that Have Changed My Life: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling, God Has a Name by John Mark Comer, Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Elizabeth is the strong, independent version of the little girl dancing around her room dressed like a princess. She is both sparkly and fierce. For the past two years, she has worked as an assistant to best-selling authors and as a writing consultant to aspiring authors on book proposals, book launches, and content development. She graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in English Writing and completed the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University. She currently resides in New York City where she is a publisher’s assistant at Penguin Random House. She's a fan of eye-contact, laughter, human connection, coffee and/or beer, weirdos, literary fiction & poetic prose, shopping the produce aisle, and exploring new cities. She shares creative essays about hope and wholeness on her blog elizbethmoorewriting.com and her Instagram @_ejmoore.
Genre of Choice: Creative Non-Fiction, Personal Essays, Poetry
Current Projects: Compiling the best of my 800 words into an essay collection, volunteer content and copy editing for my church, and various consultation calls about publishing.
Least Favorite Genre to Write: Social media copy. Is that a genre? Also, fiction.
Writing Heroes: Flannery O’Connor, Shauna Niequist, Ashton Ray, Madeleine L’Engle, Marilynne Robinson, Mary Oliver
Long Term Writing Goal: Publish a collection of creative essays that’s hopeful and real.
Favorite Genre to Read: Creative Essays, Literary Fiction, Travel Essays, Poetry
Books that Have Changed My Life: A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor, Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Bonus (which was originally written as a text from Ash to Liz but is important because it perfectly sums us up): We are both very single but also very happy being single and are only interested in men who are not intimidated by strong women and who can keep up with our brilliant minds and witty banter because we are the friendship equivalent of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Find us on Hinge. But don’t actually; we won’t message you back.