Setting Intentions for the New Year

Groooaan. It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we reflect upon all the experiences, memories, achievements and challenges we’ve faced in the past year. Did we write as much was we hoped to? Did we finish editing that short story? Did we submit the best poem we’ve ever written to the journal that never accepts our work?

It’s easy to get caught up in what we haven’t done. It’s harder to give ourselves credit for what we have done. Take a few minutes to jot down (in a list, perhaps) all the things you’ve done in 2014 to support and nurture your writing life. It could be as simple as waking up half an hour earlier to write, or transcribing your poems from paper to computer.

Done?  Good. Now let’s talk about 2015.

Over the past year, I’ve noticed things that have supported and distracted me from my creative life. Sometimes it’s impossible not to be distracted, and that’s okay. Sometimes, it comes down to discipline, or lack thereof.

So here are a few intentions to help support and inspire the writer in you (don’t wait until 2015! Start now!):

1) Eat Well

You’re in the middle of a sentence and couldn’t be bothered to get up to eat, despite the fact that your stomach is burning with hunger.  Coffee becomes a lifeline, and water is a distant memory.

So, before you drag yourself to your desk to write, have a hearty breakfast. Or if you’re not the hearty breakfast kind of person, have a protein shake. Or a banana. Something (in addition to coffee).

Maybe take a minute before you write to set an alarm for lunch, so you can work until your alarm jolts you out of your writing, and you can enjoy a delicious meal before getting back to the grind.


2) Read

Feeling stuck? Can’t write? Put your library card to use. Sometimes it takes a really good book (or a bad one) to get us out of that writing slump.

Read, and things will be written.



3) Get Outside

You don't have to go that far.

Stroll down a street you’ve never been to before. Have a baguette in a downtown bakery. Hike through a local forest, and make notes of the sounds you hear.

Buy a train ticket. Watch the world go whizzing by you.  Let the rhythm of the rails inspire a poem.

And if you have the time and the budget, take a plane.

4) Try a New Art Form

Draw. Doodle. Paint. Collage. Scrapbook. Knit. Dance. Sing. Play an Instrument. Glue things together. Sketch. Sew.

The possibilities are endless.

Engage in an another art form, and it might just enrich your writing (and keep you sane!)

4) Do a Writing Prompt, or take a Writing Workshop

Yeah, yeah, you’re a professional. You don’t need a writing prompt. And forget a writing workshop. You’ve paid your dues.

But the joy of writing can be sucked dry by deadlines, publishers’ demands and unreasonable expectations of literary brilliance.

What happened to writing for the fun of it? With no goal in sight?

I dare you to try a prompt. Just see what happens.

Happy Writing!

Sheniz Janmohomed
LaVaLab Literary Arts Editor

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