I’m not a huge fan of staying up late in a drunken haze, singing “Auld Lang Syne” (who is this old man Lang with a sign, anyway?), watching a disco ball drop in Times Square and kissing strangers in the cold, so the typical North American New Year’s Eve traditions don’t really resonate with me.
That’s why I decided to make a list of the Top 10 Ways For Writers and Book Lovers to Ring in the New Year. These also work if you’re a bit socially phobic, or simply need a few ways to spice up your annual routine of watching When Harry Met Sally for the 949th time.
So without further ado, onward to the ideas!
10. Attend a reading by one of your favorite authors
Okay, so most bookstores and libraries actually tend not to schedule events on New Year’s Eve for reasons I can’t entirely fathom, but guess what? There’s this awesome little thing called The Internet, and it’s full of videos and recordings by all of your favorite authors! Whether you prefer genre or literary fiction, there’s sure to be something out there to suit your fancy. All it takes is a bit of Googling. Or you can enjoy the video above, which has lots of interesting info about Margaret Atwood, who recently celebrated her 75th birthday.
9. Throw a literary-themed party and dress up as your favorite author
If you’re the host, be sure to include a bookish cake – or cupcakes like the ones pictured above – to get everyone into the proper spirit of bookish mayhem. I would also encourage cross-dressing, so the guys can show up as their favorite female authors and the gals can get all hoity-toity with them as their favorite macho male authors.
8. Write your resolutions in a nice new notebook
Breaking in new notebooks is one of my favorite New Year’s traditions. Get a pretty one and stop giving a shit about how bad your handwriting is already!
7. Brainstorm a new book
A writer’s work is never done – not even on New Year’s Eve! Take advantage of all the positive energy and fresh new pages in that notebook to brainstorm ideas for a new book to be written in 2015.
Here’s a prompt I made up that’s sure to inspire:
A writer, brainstorming her latest novel on New Year’s Eve, is invited at the last minute to a New Year’s Eve party thrown by her secret crush… will she finally find love as they’re thrown together in a remote cabin during a freak snowstorm?!
6. Imitate Hemingway: Write drunk (edit sober)
Never written drunk before? You’ve been missing out! And what better time to give it a whirl than on New Year’s Eve – a celebration dedicated to champagne kisses and letting go of your inhibitions? Silence your inner editor with some booze, and let your creative mind howl at the moon. Put on some jazz and try Kerouac’s automatic writing method. Experiment on the page. Just don’t get so drunk that you’re too busy worshipping the porcelain god to hold a pen.
6. Build a bonfire
No, you’re not going to burn books (you are a book lover, aren’t you?) – you’re going to toss the old year’s regrets and misfortunes into the flames. Write down everything that bummed you out or pissed you off about 2014, then toss that old news into the fire and let it all go. (This is, incidentally, also a great way to let go of past relationships or any other negative energy that’s been plaguing you, and can be done any time, not just for New Year’s Eve.)
5. Hit the beach
Alternately, if you live in a part of the world where it’s not currently snowing, dump your 2014 regrets into the sea. You can write them in the sand at the edge of the beach, then watch the tides slowly erase them for a truly eco-conscious way to start the New Year off right.
4. Fuck it, Dude, let’s go bowling
This is actually one of my favorite ways to spend New Year’s Eve (as detailed on my blog Shoestring Austin), because it’s both cheap and fun. Booze, bar food, a little exercise and friendly competition – what’s not to like? It may not be particularly bookish (unless, of course, you decided to dress up like characters from your favorite book), but it sure is a good time.
3. Typewriter tip tip tip
Step one: Find a typewriter (try your local Craigslist).
Step two: Bust it out at a party so that everyone can write you some groovy New Year’s wishes, resolutions, or drunken messages.
Step three: Typecast it on your blog the next day as a reminder of your pals’
incriminating remarks creativity.
2. Start a book club
That’s right: when you’re out partying, rope all your drunk friends into joining your new book club! To make sure they actually follow through on their booze-fueled promise, let them each pick one title to share with the group once they’ve sobered up.
1. Read your favorite book again – or start a brand new one – in bed
Thanks to fellow writer Jessica McHugh (who, by the way, has a brand new website, mailing list and forthcoming vlog), I realized I’ve rung in the past two New Year’s by reading her books. I’m going for the threepeat this year, as I (unbelievably) still haven’t read my signed copy of The Green Kangaroos. What better way to start off a brand new year than by reading some dystopian fiction? Hey, if you start off in the darkest place there is, your year is pretty much guaranteed to get better from there, am I right?
So tell me, what are your favorite ways to ring in the New Year?