Writers take heed: The time is upon us. After a busy year of great excuses for why we haven’t been writing much, at last, the mother lode writing opportunity (including a captive audience) presents itself—clear, unpretentious, a ghost of past, present and future reaching out a scrawny finger, beckoning: Come. It’s time.
Perhaps you are squirming in your seat right now because you know what is being requested. And, deep down in your soul, despite the Scrooge-like withholding of writing this year, you know you are up for the task: the thematic weaving of this year’s good and bad, the drawing from events of the past year to arrive at the present, the happy messages of goodwill for the future—in other words: the annual holiday letter.
Yes. That’s right. The dreaded annual holiday letter, my writing friends, is in fact an optimal opportunity to practice your writing skills.
Think of it as a writing prompt that starts with “This was a year of . . .“
And then use it to hone your skills, to search for a theme for the year, to synthesize disparate events, and to show rather than tell your family and friends what your life has been like by including little scenes from the year. Practice finding your voice. Is your letter snarky, self-deprecating, or philosophical?
Allow your holiday letter to be the forum by which you communicate what you have discovered this year, what lessons you have learned, and what you wish for others.
So, throw off the chains holding you back. See that your future writing self is in fact generous with words and loves to use them to reach out and connect—to lift up and inspire the Tiny Tims among us.
Friends, it’s time. As we end one year and begin another, go forth and cast your writing spells.
I’ll leave you with the opening line of my own holiday letter:
This was a year of climbing up formidable rock walls and leaping off metaphorical cliffs, of ending, beginnings, challenges and some notable peak experiences.