Skip into the New Year

by Nancy Casey

One of the traditions of this season is to look ahead to the coming year and think about what it’s going to hold. There’s a whole imaginary year ahead of us. We can imagine it any way that we want.

People talk of making resolutions, setting goals, and changing their schedules. Not all your New Year’s thoughts need to be about discipline and resolve, though.

Today in your writing, as you think about the imaginary year ahead, ask yourself, “What shall I just skip?”

Imagine yourself skipping everything that you find tiresome or unpleasant. What don’t you want? Go ahead and skip all that. What kinds of experiences would you rather do without? Skip them, too.

Consider each of your five senses. What will you skip seeing? What won’t you hear? What foods, when offered, will make you say, “No thank you.” What trip won’t you take? When will you plug up your nose?

Think about the infinitely many ways you could finish a sentence that begins, “I will skip…”

Before you start to write, set up your page. Draw a line across the top where you will put a title after you have finished writing. Set aside some space for illustration or doodling. Drawing and doodling will keep your pen moving on the page while you are thinking up something to write.

On the first line, write the words, “I will skip…” and finish the sentence by naming something you will (or would like to) do without this year. You can explain as much or as little as you would like about it. Then begin a new sentence with “I will skip…” and continue down the page in this way.

When the page is full, go back over your work. Make small changes if you need to. Add some color or decoration to the page if you haven’t already. When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title and write the date on it, too. 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.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She taught the Write-For-You writing class at the Recovery Center last summer and will return again in the spring. For more information about classes and writing certificates, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

What Lights Your Way?

by Nancy Casey

When there is no sun, what lights your way?

This time of year, when you hardly see the sun, you can answer that question in the most literal sense by looking around you when it’s not light out. How do you see where you are going when it’s dark? Maybe you have a favorite lamp. What is the last light you turn off at night? Do you use different lights for different tasks?

You can also think about light figuratively. Consider inner light, and inner darkness. Can a light inside a person show the way? Have you had experiences with a sensation of light inside of yourself?  Can an idea inside of your mind light the way by overcoming darkness? Can light shine in a person’s heart somehow?

Can the light that shines in somebody’s life take the form of a person? Think about the sayings, “You light up my life,” or “You are the light of my life.” How does that kind of light show somebody the way?

Today for your writing, think about light and all the different ways it dispels darkness. Think about how helpful light is when you are trying to get where you are going. Think about how helpful it is in not stubbing your toe. Think about how light can keep you from getting lost or feeling afraid.

Set up your page with a line for the title and some space for an illustration. As you do that, try to empty your mind of all the things you had planned to write. Then, just as you are about to write the first word, something will pop into your mind. Write about that.

When you have filled a page, take a careful look at your work. Make small changes and add illustration if you want to. When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title and write the date on it, too. 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.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She taught the Write-For-You writing class at the Recovery Center last summer and will return again in the spring. For more information about classes and writing certificates, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Month by Month

by Nancy Casey

Before the year 2019 slips away, you can use your writing to recall events that were important to you and to notice the many things that have changed for you as those 365 days marched by.

Set up your page first. Draw a line at the top where the title will go. Divide the remaining space on the page into 12 more-or-less equal parts. Label the parts with the names of the months, January through December. Don’t write the labels too big because you want to have room to write something in the space, too.

Scan back through your memories of the past year. Try to recall the different months. What comes to mind as you remember your year? What month was it?

In the spaces you made on your page, write something down about every month of the past year. Anything that you remember. Skip around the different months, don’t try to force yourself to do it in order.

It can be hard to remember something specific from every month right away. Sometimes it takes some thought.  Doodle on your page and see what pops into your mind. Or get up and do something else for a while.

Sometimes you can jog your memory by reviewing the year’s weather. What do you remember from the seasons when it was warm or cold? Did you get rained on this year? When?

You might think of special events. Holidays and vacations. Birthdays—your own, or somebody elses?

Maybe you had a change-of-heart or a new realization about someone or something. Maybe you learned something new or understood something for the first time.

Perhaps you have experienced or witnessed major life events—births, deaths, marriages, divorces, job changes, illness, moving, a new friend. Ask yourself, “In what month did all that happen?”

When you have recalled something for every month and written something about it in that month’s space, look back over your work. Make additions and small changes if you like. Add color or illustration if you choose.

When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title and write the date on it, too. 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.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She taught the Write-For-You writing class at the Recovery Center last summer and will return again in the spring. For more information about classes and writing certificates, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center