January/February 2018

Our annual Inspiration Issue features 52 ideas for an inspired new year, our thirteenth annual look at the year’s best debut poets, and Jane Hirshfield on reigniting the creative process after a long silence; plus writing prompts, Steve Almond on unlikable characters, advice from agent Annie Hwang, a day in the life of book critic Leigh Haber of O, the Oprah Magazine, a Q&A with Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski, and more. 

Special Section

52 Ideas for an Inspired New Year

by Staff
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From albums and movies to naps and snacks, a series of suggestions from fifty-two authors on how to help keep your creativity flowing throughout the year.

A New Path to the Waterfall

by Michael Bourne
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With insight from authors Jennifer Egan, Jane Hirshfield, and Nayomi Munaweera, a writer explores ways to return to older writing projects with a fresh eye.

Reconnecting After a Silence

by Jane Hirshfield
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“Become an open door,” “Say anything,” and “Begin where you are.” Seven ways to reconnect to your writing, from one of the country’s most prolific poets.

Diving Through Windows

by Justin Hocking
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An exploration of windows as creative tools: how they expand our horizons in the world and in writing, acting as frames for observation and portals to the new worlds we discover in our art. 

Imagination Under Pressure

by Grant Faulkner
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The executive director of National Novel Writing Month and cofounder of 100 Word Story considers how constraints can help writers access inventiveness and increase productivity. 

News and Trends

The Practical Writer

The Literary Life

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Get deep into the fabric of a poem, strike a subversive tone in a holiday story, or ruminate on a relationship ritual—three prompts to get you writing in the new year. For more, check out our weekly online writing prompts. 

You Are Not Alone: Finding a Group of One’s Own

by Hannah Gersen
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Writing groups can provide community, accountability, and a fresh perspective on your work. One writer shares advice and insight on how to start and maintain a writing group that lasts.