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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Prepare for a Writer’s New Year


52800366 - man hand writing new year fresh start with black marker on visual screen. isolated on sky. business, technology, internet concept. stock photoThe New Year promises a fresh start, but only if we truly bring the current year to a close. If you don’t resolve the physical and emotional “incompletes” in your life, January 1 will look remarkably like December 31, with the possible minor difference of needing to clean up after the party.

One of the paradoxes of creative polarities is that the only way to finish is to get started. And the only way to get started is to finish.

Let Go of What Should Be

One of the hardest things to be done with is the idea of what your writing (or your reality) should be:

  • I should write this new piece the way I’ve written before
  • I should invent a new way to write every piece
  • I should write for x hours
  • I should be able to just show up when I feel inspired
  • I should always write freely, easily and without struggle
  • I should be willing to struggle and suffer for my art

It’s easier to let go when you know what you’re letting go of. Try freewriting to see how many ways you can complete a sentence that begins with “I should write…”

Let Go of What Was

66510559 - goodbye farewell phrase saying leave later conceptYou might want to write a goodbye letter to 2016 acknowledging what experiences and events you’re grateful for and what experiences and events you regret or grieve. Or you can make a list of your Wins and Breakthroughs in 2016 and your Losses and Breakdowns in 2016.

Consider these questions as you write:

  • What are you proud of?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What do you regret?
  • What accomplishments did you experience?
  • What came to you as unexpected, unearned blessings?
  • What disappointments did you experience?
  • What grudges did you or are you carrying?
  • Who do you need to thank?
  • Who do you need to forgive?
  • What old beliefs and behaviors no longer serve the person you want to be?
  • What do you need to clean, clear out, organize, toss or give away?
  • What physical objects are out of place in your writing space, your home, your car? What digital “things” are out of place in your devices? What objects, tangible and digital, need a new place to be?
  • What do you need to fully celebrate?
  • What do you need to fully grieve? 

Share your letter or lists with a trusted friend who knows how to listen appreciatively, that is, without interruptions that divert the focus from the person speaking. This is always works best when both partners have a chance to speak and a chance to listen.

Open Yourself to What Could Be

62267036 - goodbye 2016 welcome 2017 written from sparkle firework with firework backgroundYou can’t embrace someone when you’re hugging someone else. Reviewing the previous year, gives us a ritual to acknowledge, surrender and bring closure to those events and experiences.

Letting go of last year’s wins and losses creates space for new wins and losses in the coming year; letting go of last year’s breakthroughs and breakdowns creates space for new breakthroughs and breakdowns.

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, consider writing a welcome letter to 2017.

  • What do you want to continue from 2016 into 2017?
  • What new experiences and events do you want to experience?
  • What kind of person you do want to become?
  • What kind of person do you want to continue to be?
  • What qualities do you need to develop?
  • What actions do you need to take?

What do you need to finish so you can start 2017 with joy, anticipation, energy and commitment?

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15 Comments on “Prepare for a Writer’s New Year”

  1. goldfishc January 1, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    Very helpful ideas! Thank you, Rosanne!

    Like

    • rosannebane January 5, 2017 at 5:07 pm #

      You’re always welcome, Debra! It’s gratifying to hear the post was helpful.

      Like

  2. tessaradudley December 31, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

    Letting go really is so often the key to moving forward, isn’t it? Thanks for this insightful post—might give that letter-writing a try!

    Like

    • rosannebane January 5, 2017 at 5:09 pm #

      Tessara, let me know what comes about from your letter-writing. If you feel inclined, it might be the core of a guest post other BOYR readers would appreciate. Let me know if you’re interested.
      And yes, letting go is often the key. I wonder: do simple truths endure in part because we take so long to act on them? 😉 Or is that just me?

      Like

  3. Lorna Faith December 31, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

    Thanks for the great blogpost Rosanne! Just what I needed to let go of the bad, and be inspired about the good of 2016 so I can move forward in 2017 🙂 Good stuff!

    Like

  4. Stephannie December 31, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

    Reblogged this on Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors and commented:
    I love this post and wanted to share it with you all. It’s a great idea for writers to say hello to the new year by saying goodbye to the old year.

    Like

    • rosannebane January 5, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

      Thanks for re-posting and sharing my piece with other writers.

      Like

  5. kperrymn December 31, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    This is a useful, challenging and inspiring way to end 2016 and to get ready for 2017. Thanks, Roseanne, and Happy New Year!

    Like

    • rosannebane January 5, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

      Happy New Year to you, too, Katy! Thanks for the good wishes.

      Like

  6. Anonymous December 30, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    Thank you for this beautiful post, Rosanne!

    Like

    • rosannebane January 5, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

      You’re most welcome. Thank you for your appreciation — it’s gratifying to know someone thinks the post is beautiful.

      Like

  7. rosannebane January 5, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

    Thanks for reblogging my piece, Mighty Mumford. (Was that a character in Rocky and Bulwinkle?)

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Another Way to Prepare for a Writer’s New Year | Bane of Your Resistance - January 6, 2017

    […] previous post, Prepare for a Writer’s New Year, encourages you to let go of what should be and what was so you can open yourself to what can be in […]

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  2. Prepare for a Writer’s New Year | By the Mighty Mumford - December 31, 2016

    […] Source: Prepare for a Writer’s New Year […]

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