January is named for Janus, the Roman god of doors who faces both after and before. A vagrant, half-formed time at once cheesy and magnificent in its dark/light transitions. A cauldron time. In the writing life, I think there’s much to be said for playing around in this vagrant space, revisiting the old, stirring it around, sensing the new. Here are some ideas to get you going:
Think of a book that you enjoyed reading last year. Find a passage that stood out for you. Make notes on what it meant for you at the time, how it affects you now. Write a creative piece in response to your chosen passage.
Think of an incident from last year that has stayed in your mind. Write a piece exploring that memory. What would you say now to that memory now?
Write a letter poem to 2019
Write a poem to 2020. Be bold – mix fear and fantasy, utopia and the mundane. We are looking towards both frightening and hopeful scenarios, with the possibility of robots made from living tissue, the loss of ice or its salvation. Let your imagination run wild!
Go over last year’s note-books. Pick out some phrases, or ideas, or observations that get your attention. Play with them. Begin to write a creative piece based on one of them.
Here’s a mindfulness inspired exercise to connect your imagination to where you are in the here and now. Go outside somewhere. Walk ten paces then stop and focus on the sounds and detail and sensations of what’s around you. Repeat this about five times. While doing this, find something that gets your attention – a fallen leaf, a pebble, something discarded. Bring it indoors and then start to write about in a very descriptive, concrete way. After a while, address it in the second person, then switch to the first person. Go back over what you’ve written, looking for connecting themes or images. Use it as the basis for a narrative or other creative piece.