Ring out the old.. Creative Writing exercises for the new year

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How do you feel about new year? Do you find it exciting and full of promise, or do you mourn the passing of the old year? For some, it’s a cause for celebration and hope, or a chance to wipe the slate clean and start again with good intentions. For others, it’s a time of gloom or regret. Our household is divided on this. I’ve always liked new year. To me, it feels ripe with possibility. But JP, my other half, wants to drive a pin through the world to stop it spinning. He loathes the countdown, symbolising, as it does, the passing of time.

This week’s two part exercise explores some of those feelings. Here’s what you do:

Part 1. Ring out the Old:

Write a letter to the year just past (or if you prefer, choose another year in your life. You might want to pick a year where momentous things happened, or one that stands out in your memory for whatever reason). Notice your emotions as you think about the year. The letter you write could be a thank you letter, a love letter, a letter of complaint, or an angry letter. You might grieve for the year, or be glad to see the back of it!

Part two: Ring in the New:

Now think about the year to come. Are you approaching it with hope, or trepidation? What do you wish for? Again, note your emotions. Write a similar piece addressed to 2019.

For both of these pieces, if you’d rather not write about yourself, you can write from the perspective of somebody else, real or fictional. When we did this at Maggie’s on Friday, it produced some powerful pieces of writing.

The penultimate paragraph of F Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece sums up the optimism I feel at the start of a new year. Whatever has gone before, I begin each year believing ‘tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…’

Whatever else 2019 year brings, this will be the year I publish my first novel, and I now have a likely launch date! Sunday 31 March at Nottingham Waterstones. More details to come. Watch this space…