What’s New?

by Nancy Casey

Tradition has it that we must emerge from the holiday season with a resolution or two that will make the year ahead better for us in some way. Very often, by the second week in January, those resolutions exist only in memory.

What if, instead of (or along with) organizing something new into our lives, we celebrated all that is new already? As you set yourself up to write a page, consider your possessions, your surroundings, and your attitude. Ask yourself, What’s new?

Think about your most recent shopping—whether in person or online. The fruits of that endeavor will be new to you.

Did anything new come your way over the holidays? Maybe a gift. Maybe a new friend?

Is there anything that you think of as “new,” even though it’s been present in your life for a long time?

Have you tried anything new lately? Think about places you have gone and foods you have eaten. Have external factors changed your routine so that you have new habits, whether you want them or not?

Attitudes might change slowly, but once they do, something about you is “new.” Is there some aspect of your approach to life that is different from a month, a year, or a decade ago? What’s new about it? What does this change mean to you?

Newness and change don’t always bring us joy. Perhaps there is a new aspect to your life, but you like the old version better. You could write about that.

Maybe your writing will come out resembling a list. Or maybe you have a whole big story to tell about something that’s new to you—how it came about, what the “old” was like, and what the change represents.

As you ponder the newness of the new, draw a line at the top of the page where your title will go. Set aside some space for illustration if you like. Start drawing or doodling in writing ideas don’t come to you right away. (Whatever you do to the page will make it “new.”)

As soon as you get an idea, begin writing about it. If you don’t think the idea is very good, write about it anyway. Maybe it will turn into a good one. Maybe a better idea will crowd it out as soon as you start writing and you can write about that idea next.

When you have filled up the page, look back over your work. Add illustration or decoration if you like.

Do your ideas form any kind of a pattern? Do they seem to be about a bigger idea that you hadn’t really planned on writing about? If they do, maybe you can use that insight to think up a title. If they don’t, make up some kind of a title anyway and write it at the top of the page.

Put your initials or a signature on the page, too. And write the date on it. Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.

Raised by God: The Autobiography of Patricia Clayton is a new book that grew out of the Write For You program at LRC. It is the story of a person making herself new after years of addiction and trauma.

Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like some help or encouragement with any kind of writing project, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

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