Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Write a new story in 2021

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jan• 01•21

2020 was a cruel, exhausting, nightmarish, wrung-out, surreal shambles of a year. So much to bear, grieve, and confront, sometimes with heart-hammering fear. So many adjustments to make amid an onslaught of shocking death tolls and Biblical plagues including swarmclouds of locusts.  In the West the wildfire damage and scars have brutally changed the landscape and ruined lives. Black and brown citizens are still being murdered by police.  So much loneliness and aching for those we could not spend time with.

But here we are at the beginning of another January. Working remotely and wearing masks and waiting for our vaccines. Wary yet clinging to hope.

Whatever you wrote or did not write, lullaby yourself because whatever you’ve chalked under 2020 is okay. And a do-over is possible.

If you wrote regularly you have much to be proud of.

If you finished a big project or  took part in NaNoWriMo you’re a warrior.

Not so much accomplished? Give yourself gentle pass.

Fallow fields can still grow.

You made it through hard times. You witnessed. You managed by innovating and reinventing and caring. You dug deep into your own depths of resilience. Hugging your own empty arms

Turn the page and write a new story in 2021.

Even though large swaths of our future is unknowable, we can still  make doable plans, choose attainable goals.

Mine are simple. Do the hard things. Seek out silver linings. Keep appreciating small wonders. Celebrate what deserves celebrating.  Love deeply. Read more poetry. Support writers, musicians, and artists.

Experiment with and invent new recipes. Buy carryout food from locally-owned restaurants.

Practice kindness and grace. Use my voice. Notice the world through a writer’s eyes. Gather words. Capture thoughts onto the page. Write letters.

Hike new paths. Breathe in the Pacific.  Meet new trees. Grow new flower varieties. As I said, doable.

If you still need a New Year’s boost, here’s a performance by poet Amanda Gorman, “The Miracle of Morning.” She’s a former Youth Poet Laureate who published her first poetry collection at 16.

Keep dreaming, keep bearing witness, have heart.

And please wear a mask.

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  1. Mark Phialas says:

    Love your writing. So clear, compact, efficient.

    • Jessica Morrell says:

      Appreciate the kind words and ALL your kindness. Sitting here listening to Taylor Swift and writing. Feels like a bit of bliss….Wishing you a beautiful and safe 2021

  2. Judy says:

    Earrings. Yes.

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