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"Working with Anya has forever changed my relationship to writing, pulling it from deep in my unconscious up into the light of inquiry." -- Annie Lewis

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Fiction Writer; Poet; Teacher of Creative Writing; Manuscript Consultant; Writing Coach; Founder of the Writing for Social Change: Re-Dream a Just World Workshops; Writing Workshop Leader.


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Writing and the New Year: A request for writers.

Dear Writers and Friends,


Almost 2013!


I have a request, for you and for myself, for the new year. We have plenty of other work for our imagination to do, and so—let’s free it from that need to imagine we are writers, and write with an imagination freed to do its enormous labor of play and magic!


Voices still bothering us? Claiming we are not writers or couldn’t be, poking us with reminders of all that we have to do—must do!! Must do first!!! And second!!! And third!!!! That whole long and deadly list of what we must do—and you know, especially those who know me, that I have a long and deadly list of what I must do before I write, or rather than write—but I am aware, more now than ever, that the list of good and bad and responsible and wild and healthy and mature and frightened and distracting tasks…is item by item a march into prison. A death sentence for my writing. My best and smartest friends, who love me and my work most, urge me to let go much of that list. It seems cleaning the stovetop I can let go before some other things which I believe are of use in the world. Let go some things. Re-organize the numbers, the priorities.

But however you negotiate with your own long and deadly list of what works against your writing, and makes you someone who wishes to write, rather than someone who writes, decide now to knock at least a few items off, or to change to a higher priority that work of writing, if that is what you deeply desire. If you will never be happy unless you write, and write, and write… change/shift/explode that list now, and join me on January 1st, 2013, at any time of the day, for an hour—more if you like, and can—of the most delicious writing, the deepest journey into language, the most fearless facing your subject, your own heart and mind, that you can. Perhaps you want to dedicate this hour of writing to a particular person, one who will remain in your heart all this coming year and beyond; or to a specific event and group of people in struggle or in loss or in growth and joy; or to a character in something you are writing, one who will continue to inspire you, teach you, shake you, and surprise you for the year to come—let that character know you are here and ready to work for them and their story.


Write for an hour on January 1, 2013, with the most open path to truth and language and beauty and story. And know that you will stay on that path all year.


That is how I will start my new year. Writers, I wish the same for you.


Blessings on our work, our hearts, our struggles, our creativity, written and daily and in all we do.


Here’s to a very new year.


Anya Achtenberg


Comment from Vicky Ferguson
Time: December 27, 2012, 3:11 pm


I haven’t written much since our last class, but I will write for one hour with you on Jan 1, 2013. One hour a day! Okay, I will give it a try.

Comment from Gerardine Baugh
Time: December 27, 2012, 4:33 pm

Dedicating an hour of writing on the 1st, to someone other than myself, is a great way to overcome procrastination and the perfect way to start out the year. Great article!

Comment from Anya
Time: December 27, 2012, 8:10 pm

Hello Gerardine,

Thanks so much! And I’ll hope to hear it was a wonderful hour for you!

All best,

Comment from Anya
Time: December 27, 2012, 8:12 pm

Dear Vicky,

I’m looking forward to that hour so very much, and I will be glad to hear from you that it was actually pretty fun!

A beautiful new year to you,

Comment from debra stone
Time: December 28, 2012, 10:33 am

I’m going to write for an hour too! Great way to start the New Year!

Comment from Anya
Time: December 28, 2012, 10:41 am

Wonderful, Debra! It will be a good day, and here’s to the rest of the year….

Comment from
Time: July 4, 2015, 6:41 am

Writing Story / Finding Poetry / Freeing Voice Writing and
the New Year: A request for writers. is the very best short article of

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