For Those About To Write (We Salute You) #16: Bring On The New Year(s)

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For Those About To Write (We Salute You) will present a writing exercise to the Ploughshares community every few weeks. We heartily encourage everyone reading to take part! 

It seems ridiculous, especially considering this series has been about getting over the blank page and just going for it, but I’ll be damned if I haven’t been sitting here with a blinking cursor for what feels like an eternity trying to figure out how to kick off my last post here at Ploughshares. So, I’ll say thanks muchly to those of you who have been following along over the course of this year; to everyone trying to get back into the swing of things, who needed to nudge yourself out of a rut or wanted to try something new, or wished you had a partner-in-crime to pump up and flex your creative muscles again, I sincerely hope you’ve found something in here that sparked something in you.

I actually found this whole process a lot more difficult than I anticipated, to be honest, but believe I might just be in my gotta-barrel-through phase before things begin to get a little easier (fingers crossed). How did y’all do?

#16: Bring On The New Year(s)

Just as putting pencil on paper was a solid place to start, it’s also where I’m going to end this series. Because ultimately, for all the exercises and prompts and nudges and ephemera, writing requires little more than the desire to do it. We’ll all follow our own trajectories, with their subsequent successes and failures, but first we have to put our thoughts from mind to matter.


-one (1) notebook

-one (1) pen or pencil


The new year is always a convenient time to take stock and make plans, and this one? Yeah, this is a biggie. Your goal is to be a practicing writer for the rest of your life. Oh yes. Oh yes yes yes.

Time commitment: 

Forever sure sounds like a long time, but there are honestly no rules here—only writing. Maybe you’ll make a living putting words on a page; perhaps there’s peace for you in private journaling, or satisfaction in trying out short stories; you may compose the next great American novel, or you might never share your work with another living soul. However you decide to make your way, do it with a pencil in hand, or with fingers on the keyboard. Fit it in when you can, but don’t let a busy schedule keep you from expressing yourself in some way.

Recommended Reading: 

E V E R Y T H I N G . Read absolutely every damn thing that you can get your hands on.

And if you ever get stuck, feel free to click back and revisit any of these, at any time. And hey—don’t forget to have fun.

#15: Eat, Drink, and Be… Something

#14: Let’s Get Small

#13: Sliding Doors

#12: The To Do List

#11: Guided By Voices

#10: Everything You Always Wanted To Write About Sex *But Were Afraid To Try

#9: Q & A & Q & A ….

#8: Cut & Paste

#7: Show & Tell

#6: Stop, Look, and Listen

#5: Take a (Mindful) Break

#4: Go Big

#3: Letters

#2: Prompts

#1: Pencil on Paper