Good morning, and welcome. Let’s breathe deeply and begin to clear our minds. Focus on your breath and the energy it brings to your body and your writing.

As we try to clear our minds at this time of year, it is common to be assaulted by would’ve-could’ve-should’ve’s. The stories we would’ve started, if only…the times we could’ve written, then didn’t…the journals we should’ve kept, but… If any such ideas flit through your mind, don’t hold on to them, but don’t fight them either. Just collect them all and put them on a shelf in your mind.

Feel your breath move all the way into your belly. In and out. Find a place of stillness and acceptance inside yourself.

Now, into your mind, invite thoughts of last year’s writing accomplishments. The manuscripts revised…the characters sketched with clarity…the risks taken to share your work with others. The big and small. The public and private. Acknowledge each act as its own achievement in the larger process of writing.

Take a deep inhale and hold that breath.

As writers, we set our own goals. Then we often measure our accomplishments by how they match up to those goals—particularly goals of publication. Yet we pursue these goals within a world that is not completely within our control.

On your next exhale, let go of any connection between the intrinsic worth of your writing process and publication. Let go of any judgments based on your writing not measuring up.

Fill yourself with breath again and celebrate what did happen over the past year, rather than what did not. Accept the light and the dark within ourselves, the good habits and the bad. Accept the light and the dark in the external world. Know that light and dark will always exist, and neither can do so without the other.

Now visualize the writer you’d like to be in the coming year. You might bring some of those would’ve-could’ve-should’ve’s off the shelf and transform them into intentions. Or you might not. Focus on your process as a writer, which is within your control. Recognize the divine spark inside that connects us all, while making each writer’s voice unique. Feel strong and focused. Find that place within yourself that has both stillness and energy. Dwell in that place of doing and dreams.

The light in my writing salutes the light in your writing.