Okay, so it's not a stack off the "New Releases" shelf. It's just a notebook or three with empty, blank pages staring at you, demanding ink. But that's what the new year is supposed to represent, isn't it? A new beginning. A chance to finally get it right. Naturally, we'll screw up 2010 just as badly as 2009, but we've got at least one day to dream! That's why we get a vacation day on January 1st. That way, we can say we've gotten through the first day of the year without completely hacking up our lives. No work, no mistakes. You can't mess up your teenagers, because they'll sleep all day. Wives will be taking down the Christmas tree and husbands will be outside ripping down the lights (we don't care if they break, we've got a whole 11 months before they have to go back up).
So here's what you do: go to your nearest Borders, Office Max, or any other notebook seller, and shop. Yes, shop. Do you know how many notebooks there are? You can go with the basic legal pad or lined notebook, or you can go all the way and get Moleskine. I went in between this year and got Piccadilly. One large for home and one medium for the truck. Both have rubber band thingys to hold them closed. You never know when a sudden gust of wind will try to rip them open.
A blank notebook isn't like a blank Word document. Notebooks won't be submitted for publication. You can do anything in there. So no pressure. I started mine with the proclamation that I am, indeed, a writer and set a few goals. Right there on the first page. Now I can't miss it. Do that. Write a letter to yourself on the first page. Be encouraging yet demanding. Set your goals and take no prisoners.
It's a blank page. Just like a new year. You write the story.