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Making 2016 Better

How are YOU going to make 2016 be a BETTER year for YOU?

I hope you received a few gifts during the holidays and that not only did you receive them, but also that you opened them and are now using them. A New Year is a bright and shiny GIFT ready to be opened and used, and I’m excited for the possibilities that come along with the arrival of 2016. It’s always exhilarating to look ahead at what’s possible and hope for positive outcomes when we encounter anything new, and that’s what early January offers.

A New Year means…

Second Chances
New Beginnings
A Hopeful Future
Anticipation for What Lies Ahead
New Opportunities
Fresh Commitments
Clear Direction
And much more

The all-encompassing thing about the New Year is the NEW YOU that YOU can make. But, not just any old NEW YOU, but a bright, vibrant and CREATIVE YOU! One that is ready to take one step (or maybe even two or three) outside of your comfort zone to achieve your soul’s desires. Did you know that we are wired with desires? They come in the forms of…


And all of those things can lead us to the place we long to go. To a place filled with wonder at what’s possible if only we took ONE STEP toward the DESIRE. Oh, don’t think that this whole one step idea will come easily or without risk. As any risk-taker knows, it’s scary out there where the practical people with common sense and safety zones stay. They are the bubble dwellers, and but for those creative and vibrant desires in your soul and mine, so are we.

However, here we stand, at the BEGINNING of a NEW YEAR—and it’s downright EXCITING, if not a bit INTIMIDATING because we have people to meet and places to go and plans to fulfill. And not ONE of those elements of life would happen, if we didn’t take a step toward meeting those people, going to those places and fulfilling those plans.

For those of you who are VIBRANT and CREATIVE and oh so POWERFUL, DECIDE what it is you WANT for 2016 and take one STEP—just ONE toward that stirring in your soul.

About 18 months ago one of those BIG steps I took toward meeting a personal desire was to facilitate The Empowerment Project’s Writing Our Path. We launched the group with a couple of devoted women and simply started writing and sharing bits of life at each monthly meeting. What I had not expected when I took this step was how the beautiful individuals who would come to the meetings would touch me. Each of them arrived from a different route. Some came from the local community while others came from relationships established with A Woman’s Place. Regardless of what led them to our little room at a local church, each person (women and men) who has become a part of the group came ready to take ONE STEP outside of their comfort zone toward a personal desire to burst that bubble of security and seize an opportunity to spread their creative spirits.

Their words make up the stories of their lives where they courageously released their thoughts on paper. Their stories have captured not only my heart, but also the hearts of the attendees who have shared in the similar longing to write. Ernest Hemmingway honestly states the need to write like this:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Figuratively, that is exactly what writers do. We sit down and open a vein as our pens glide across virgin paper or our fingers click the keys of a keyboard as we watch a blank document come to life. While we mold and shape a document with one word at a time, the bleeding inside starts clotting as the need flows out and is fed by thoughts and stories being freed from the recesses of our minds.

Writing is a solitary and lonely undertaking, which is why so few of us actually do it. We are creatures designed for relationship, and sitting before a blank page is too quiet. The advantage of gathering as a group is the human connectedness of knowing that we are not alone in our whimsical pursuit of writing. In this sacred space of alike-ness, no one is rolling their eyes or judging us for our far-fetched creative spirits because we are ONE with each other. We ‘get’ our fellow writers and cheer on each other’s efforts.

The bonds of our group go beyond writing and into understanding the contribution of each individual who touches our lives. This encourages us to continue our pursuit because as William Faulkner stated, “If a story is in you, it has got to come out.” When it comes out, the healing has begun, and we are at peace with ourselves for taking that ONE step toward fulfilling a personal ambition.

As we look ahead to this bright and shiny gift of a new year, our writer’s group will continue welcoming new attendees each month. Some will long to write and share their writing, while others will desire to keep their molded pieces to themselves. Regardless of your path and reasons for craving to write, we only seek to ignite your spirit so that what needs to be expressed is nurtured and given flight.

If you take this ONE step toward releasing your own creative spirit by crafting your unique narrative, you will find a new freedom that is yours and yours alone. Writing is an imaginative flowing liberty, and it takes courage, dedication and community to believe in yourself and your story.

Remember, when you take ONE step or you write ONE word at a time, you will accomplish great things. Is this your year to unleash your story? If so, then it’s time to pick up that pen and paper and bleed.

Esther Hughes
The Center for ELITE Women Communicators
AWP volunteer & workshop facilitator

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