The time is now. There is a good reason why those words appear all the way at the top of this issue’s cover. They serve not only as the title of our popular weekly series of writing prompts, a sampling of which appears in our special section on inspiration (page 46), but also as an important reminder that if one doesn’t take the time—or, if it’s not there, make the time—one’s writing can all too easily fall by the wayside.
Believe me, I’m writing this to myself as much as to you. I’ve never felt this busy in my life, which is saying something. After all, I’ve been through some pretty hectic stretches of time. There was the year following the birth of my son, when my daughter was only two: My wife and I moved our young family to a new borough, the offices of Poets & Writers relocated to lower Manhattan, and, oh right, I was recovering from back surgery. Now that was busy. But the past year or so has felt even busier. The pressures (and, don’t get me wrong, pleasures) of work and family, to say nothing of my personal pursuit of writing, are approaching seismic levels. (I was under the impression that the toddler years are a family’s busiest. Now, as I run to my seven-year-old son’s basketball game, having just delivered my nine-year-old daughter to choir practice—after a day of deadlines at the office, with homework, dinner, and dirty dishes to look forward to, followed by some writing wedged into the wee hours—I see the error in my thinking.)
No matter your circumstances, I’d wager many of you are feeling the same way. We could blame at least part of the problem on the twenty-four-hour news cycle and this strange feeling that we really do need to know everything that’s happening everywhere all the time. Perhaps we should point to Facebook and Twitter, both of which seem to manufacture a thirst—for what? information? insight? an answer to a question we didn’t even realize we had asked?—that is impossible to quench. If we keep checking our e-mail (both accounts) and our social media feeds, trust me, we will find something: more things to think about, more things to worry about—more work, less time to write.
This year’s Inspiration Issue comes at the perfect time. These essays, articles, and interviews illustrate the limitless possibilities of the creative imagination. It’s a new year. The time is now. We are writers, so let’s write. Don’t wait. Read the last word on the cover. There’s a good reason for that one too. Go!