Ideas for Clearing your Head and get Ready for a Good Writing Year

1 unfinishedmancom

At the end of a year and before the next begins, it is a good idea to spend some time ‘taking stock’ of our lives. During the next few days, get your journal or a notebook, go and sit in a quiet place and contemplate. Then make two lists.

List 1

List the following in your ‘To think about’ list:

  • Difficult choices you had to make;
  • Changes that occurred in your private and working life;
  • Mistakes you made;
  • Names of people you have to ask forgiveness for or to forgive. (Then forgive them.)
  • Bad things that happened to you or around you;
  • Problems you have that is still unsolved;
  • Good surprises;
  • Good things that happened to you or around you; and
  • Things you are thankful for.

Take Time to Think in Between

Take some time to think these things over. If you have gone through an exercise like this last year, go through your lists and mark the things that you wanted to do, but didn’t.

List 2 

Make another ‘To do’ list about the following:

  • Things that you really wanted to do during the last year, but didn’t;
  • Things you want to change – personal and workwise;
  • A few things on your ‘bucket list’ you want to do the coming year;
  • Things you want to do for someone else; and
  • Solutions to solve those unsolved problems from your first list.

Get into Some Creative Action

  • Now that your head is (hopefully) clearer, turn the page of your journal or notebook and write down as many story ideas you can think of if you are a fiction writer.
  • If you are a non-fiction writer, jot down ideas for articles, booklets etc.
  • From then on, take one idea per day from your last list and free write about it.
  • After free writing, tackle one thing on your ‘to do’ list and write down what you are going to do about it. Write down small goals and keep to it. Revisit this list weekly to see how you progress and make adjustments if needed.
  • After you have done this, take time to sit somewhere quiet to think and relax.
  • Spend some time with your loved ones.
  • Make a habit of these four steps by repeating it at least weekly.

Enjoy your time of rest.


© 2014

I, Fielies (Riëtte) De Kock tries hard to be a Proverbs 31-woman – excellentest wife, finest mom, greatest lover and successful ‘wordpreneur’ all at the same time. I temporarily share my living space in Cairo, Egypt with my husband, almost-university-student son, the building’s ginger cat – and the space in my head with way too many ideas and multitudes of story characters to live as a normal functioning human being.


My Favourite Days


A few days ago we went for a drive on a seaside road while on holiday in the Western Cape.
“These are my favourite days,” our son, Michael, said.
I asked why and his explanation made sense. I actually realised that he put into words how I always felt. It was the day after Christmas and the frenzy was over.

Michael’s argument was that people get quite crazy during the weeks before Christmas and on the day after they calm down and just chill until new year’s eve at least. I realised that he was right, because between 2 January and 25 December each year the world is a crazy place.

In our country, school starts again early or mid-January, depending on which province you live in and those who are lucky enough to have had leave from work, has to go back to their jobs. And the stress starts building and get more and people start dreaming about that end-of-the year holiday again. And when the holiday comes, families fall prey to the frenzy of buying gifts they can’t afford, because they are following a man-made tradition (yea, actually Jesus had never been the “reason for the season” and Christ had never been “in Christmas”. Go Bible it – or Google it if you don’t believe the Bible…)

Anyway, suddenly, when the Christmas wrappings are in the bin and the food is eaten and the family feuds had reached their climax, it is the morning after – 26 December. The day on which the world (according to our country’s rhythm at least) calms down for just a little while. It seems that for the next six days people start relaxing – really relaxing. They care less about little unimportant differences (except in my family, it seems), they enjoy life a bit more deliberately, they look around to (literally) smell the roses,  they actually see the little children’s footprints lining the beach, they watch the seagull fighting the South Easter, they recline on a couch to read a book or watch the cricket or a movie and they sit on benches and stare at the large, living ocean, dreaming new dreams, making new plans and resolutions. Or, if they don’t have leave from work and are doing the ‘garden route’ (as we call staying at home and doing work around the house in South Africa), they take the time to braai (barbeque) on a week evening or they sit on their camping chairs in the drive-way or on the stoep and watch the neighbours spending their days of calm. But whatever people here do, they take things easier. They enjoy just being.

It  may just be the best time of year to finally negotiate ‘world peace’, I actually thought for a moment. But that was until I turned on the TV news, only to see the fighting in Syria continuing, bombs exploding in Iraq, differences dividing the Sudans again, etc. Oh well, maybe in a world without people it would have been possible.

c 2013 Riëtte De Kock