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New Year writing inspiration and prompt challenge

BY Katie Smart
1st Jan 2022

The new year provides the perfect excuse to reflect on where you're at with your writing journey – and where you’d like to be. Perhaps you want to dust off a long-forgotten project, start something new, or maybe even give writing daily pages a go? If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some writing goals and ideas designed to kick-start your creativity and energise you for the year ahead. Plus, read to the end of the blog to find out about our January daily writing prompt challenge.


Do you want to finish the first draft of your novel by the end of the year? Perhaps you’d like to get to work on your memoir? Or write at least four new short stories and submit them to competitions? Whatever your ‘big’ goal is, write it down. Now you can make a plan and work out what small steps you should take to make your bigger goal a reality. Set yourself more manageable goals along the way to reach it and establish the habits that will help you get a bit a closer to your dream. This could be anything from word count targets, sticking to a writing routine or taking a writing course to help you on your way. Below are a few tips and ideas to help you with some of the smaller steps of your big plan.


If you’re serious about working on a book, the best way to show yourself and your writing respect is to find a regular time you can dedicate to it – and then stick to it. Writing a book can be both exhilarating and, at times, a difficult slog. It’ll completely fall away if you don’t keep it up. It’s hard to hold your novel in your head, so that you can get down to work quickly and easily – if you leave long gaps between writing sessions and work erratically, you’ll be giving yourself an uphill struggle and you’re much more likely to give up. What a writing routine actually looks like will vary from person to person. It could be the famous dawn session that many people wake up to each day. It might mean grabbing an hour to write every afternoon while your baby sleeps, or taking your laptop or notebook on your train journeys to and from work. Perhaps you can manage three hours on a Sunday afternoon but none during the week at all. Regularise those writing hours as much as you can – stick to the schedule and make sure that others around you understand that it’s important for you to be able to do this.


Great writers should also be great readers. You need to understand trends and know what’s working in the market, as well as learning your craft by examining how the experts do it. Why not make yourself a long list of books to read this year? Include the latest prize-winners and bestsellers, classics you haven’t got around to yet, novels that have been turned into films. Ask friends what their favourite books are and add those to the list. Be sure to read within your chosen genre, but also remember to read outside of it. You never know what helpful techniques you’ll discover and be able to borrow for your own work. Note how language and sound are used for effect in poetry, how worlds are constructed in fantasy, how suspense is created in crime/thrillers…


Take the pressure off writing and return to the joy of it. Try some automatic writing exercises – for example, set aside ten minutes a day to write, without the goal being for it to be read by anyone else. You could use this time for anything: you might find that your daily pages become regular journal entries, a place to jot down half-formed thoughts and ideas, puzzle out problems on the page or even the origins of poems or short stories. You’ll be surprised what gems you’ll discover when you write just for yourself – rather than aiming for something polished or finished. Some solid ideas for bigger projects may even start to take form from these daily scribblings. If not, it's still a great way to get the creative juices flowing. By writing what comes to your head without stopping to edit or criticising, you’ll stretch your writing muscles. Daily pages will help lift the filter that sits between your head and your writing hand and will set you up for your ‘real’ writing (a bit like stretching before a run).


We’ve created a daily prompt challenge to take place across the whole of January! We’re inviting you to write a daily response to our prompts (31 in total, one for each day in January). These can be journal entries, poems, short stories – anything you want! Respond to the prompts for yourself, or use #CBCNewYear to share your work with our writing community on Twitter or Instagram. We hope that it will be a great source of inspiration, as well as a fun way to help you establish a regular writing routine that will give you the momentum to keep going for the whole year.


  1. New Beginnings
  2. Resolution
  3. Frost
  4. Catalyst
  5. Hustle
  6. Dream
  7. Mirror Image
  8. Curiosity
  9. Egg Shells
  10. Tide
  11. Lonely
  12. Bright Star
  13. Fortuitous
  14. Iris
  15. Open Door
  16. Investigate
  17. Wolf Moon
  18. Slow and Steady
  19. Silver Platter
  20. Invincible
  21. Feast
  22. Community
  23. Bird's Eye View
  24. Circus
  25. Mouse
  26. Serene
  27. Myth
  28. Rivalry
  29. Metamorphosis
  30. Courage
  31. Cycle

We hope you're feeling motivated to get writing! You might even want to refine your response to day one's 'New Beginnings' prompt into an entry to our New Beginnings Poetry Competition. You guessed it – the theme for this competition is ‘New Beginnings’, and your poem can respond to the theme in any way you choose. Poems must not exceed 40 lines (excluding title). This prize is free to enter. The prize judge is award-winning poet Anthony Anaxagorou. The winner will receive £500, a free place on our new six-week online Writing Poetry course and publication of their poem on our blog. Find out more and enter by 21 January 2021.


We are also currently running a special New Year Discount, to help you put pen to paper this year. For a limited time only, you can get £20 off selected courses when you use code NEWYEAR20. This code is valid for £20 off the full price of our four-, six- and ten-week online courses. Offer excludes new courses running of the first time in January or February 2022. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. Offer ends midnight, 31 Jan 2022.