The first edition of Project 99 was launched on the 19th of January, 2019.
My dear friend Shani, author of such wonders as “Piper”, “Private” and “Breathing the Dead”, had been telling me how thanks to some rather annoying trolls, her self esteem and her confidence about her writing had really taken a beating. She was feeling down, about life, about writing, about the Wattpad community. Now, I haven’t been part of said community all that long, but if I know anything, it’s that we’re a wonderful bunch of people and that a few shit-talkers don’t represent us.
To giver her confidence and her enthusiasm for writing a proper boost, I started up an appreciation project, Project 99 (named after a Barns Courtney song that I was obsessed with at the time) in which her fans (and she has a lot of them) could tell her how much they love her and her stories. In order to keep her from finding out what was going on, I told her it was a fan project for Barns Courtney (Barnaby, if you read this, sorry not sorry), and since she doesn’t listen to his music (which she should, all of you should, he’s awsome!) she didn’t suspect a thing.
I messaged well over 500 of her readers and friends, and over 100 of them sent in what we call a “care-package”: funny, appreciative, short or long messages, pictures and manips, videos of themselves telling her she’s amazing or of them freaking out at a new update of her book.
Submissions closed a week later, on January 27th, and the same night I went live on Instagram to do the reveal. To my infinite disappointment, there weren’t any tears. I think Shani was too shocked to cry. But there was unkempt hair, surprise written all over her face, and a bunch of cusswords to do a sailor proud. She was, to say the least, over the moon.
Barns Courtney may be miffed that I only pretended to do a fan project for him (he’ll live; I bought tickets to two of his shows to compensate and appease my guilty conscience), but Harry Styles would be proud of every single participant for turning his rhetoric into action.
To all of the participants I say THANK YOU! Y’all are awesome. Continue treating people with kindness, continue spreading love and affection.
“Be a lover, give love, choose love. Love everyone. Always.” (Harry Styles)