Write for You: Probably and Probably Not

by Nancy Casey

The New Year is coming up.

In your writing today, you will have an opportunity to think about the coming year. You are going to need a few art materials for this: crayons, colored pencils or markers, glitter and glue, anything you like. At a minimum, make sure you have you two colors to work with.

First set up your page. Draw the line at the top where the title will go. Then draw two lines straight down the paper to make three columns that run the length of the page. At the top of the left-hand column write the heading “Probably Not.” For the right hand column, write the heading “Probably.” Leave the middle column blank for now.

Certainly the year will bring changes and surprises, but much of the year will also meet your plans and expectations. In the “Probably” column, make a list of things that will probably happen during the coming year. There will be lots of them. Think of all the parts of your daily routine that are unlikely to change. Think about plans you have made that are likely to work out. Think about things you have to do whether you want to or not.

Don’t put anything on the “Probably” list unless you are pretty certain about it. Sometimes it’s the most simple things (rain, for instance) that you can be most sure of.

In the “Probably Not” column, make a list of things that you are quite certain won’t happen. Once you get going the possibilities are endless. Will the moon be crashing into the ocean? Will you be growing some new fingers?

Once “Probably” and “Probably Not” are all filled up, fill the middle column with doodles. Yes, doodles. This and that. Scribbles. No planning ahead. No trying to get it right. Just doodle.

While you are doodling, let your mind wander to the uncertain parts of the coming year. Good and not-so-good things that are beyond your imagination will happen to you. Opportunities and people will present themselves. You will unexpectedly change a habit. You will resolve challenges and be met with new ones. You will begin to dislike something you like and start to like something you currently dislike.

What’s in store for you in the coming year? The whole year ahead: winter, spring, summer, fall, and winter again. What’s going to matter most to you by then? Who knows? Just doodle.

If you have doodled up the column in one color, switch to another color and add more things. When you feel like you are all done, add just a little bit more.

When your page is filled, your it will look like the coming year. There is plenty of certainty, but down the middle of it all, a whole lot that you never guessed was going to turn out the way it did–until you did it. It’s colorful and intricate. You took each step even if you didn’t know where it was going. When you step back and give it a look, it’s all very interesting. And it’s yours.

When you have finished, look over everything and give your work a title. Make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. You can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. Sometimes she teaches writing classes at the Recovery Center. You can find more of her work here. She offers (free!) writing help to anyone in recovery. This can be for any kind of writing project—resumes, letters, stories novels—email latahrecoverycenter@gmail.com for more information.

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