What are your writerly New Year's Resolutions? Write down five realistic goals for 2009. Mine are:
1. submit more work to journals
2. submit more work to competitions
3. organise myself to work some evenings - particularly important this year which has a heavy teaching load.
4. attend more poetry readings
5. do a little work each week on each writing project I'm pursuing.
and another writing exercise - what New Year's rituals did your family follow? My mother always sent her partner out as close after midnight as possible - it was necessary that a dark man come through the front door. I don't remember that but I love the winter solstice ceremony one of my friends organises in which we discard stuff from the old year and welcome new energies into the next year. Give one of your rituals to a character - what happens if they don't do it? What would it take for them to abandon it? Abandoning rituals is big - though it can be accompanied by a certain amount of relief, too. This can be a good story starter.