This post will offer some guidance to help you respond to the following Spellbinder Instagram prompt, and will be especially useful for nonfiction writers and photographers.
Write or draw something about the month of January. What does this month mean to you? Now that it is over, do you feel relief or pressure? Take this chance to reflect on how you’ve experienced this January compared to the previous one.
Suggestions for Nonfiction writers
January is an important month as it marks the start of each new year. This can often have symbolic and nostalgic relevance within people’s lives. It is a time when people reflect on the past and make resolutions for the future. This situates it in very unique terms because it forces humans to confront both the arbitrary and the all-consuming nature of time. As an essayist or creative nonfiction writer, this is your chance to explore this very philosophical topic.
It might be useful to begin by considering the following questions:
- A lot of people talk about the importance of mindfulness or living in the present or the moment, but what exactly does that mean to you? Is it valuable to prioritize the present over the past and the future, and if so why?
- We might all accept that the past is bound to shape who we are as individuals and that it effects everything in our present from our behaviour, to our beliefs, to our physical condition, but what about the future? How does our understanding of how our life will play out shape our identity in the present? How do our hopes, dreams and ambitions influence how we consider ourselves in the present?
- Why does the new year inspire such a passion for resolution making and enthusiasm for change?
Suggestions for Photographers
January, the month of the new year, is often one of the most reflective times of year because it forces people to think about their own memories, what they have achieved and what they want to become. For this reason, I thought it would be interesting for photographers to consider the construction of self-identity through the lens. Can you portray the person you are through artistic photographs? Can you depict how people might perceive you? Can you show who you want to become?
Cindy Sherman is well-known for her self-portraits in which she depicts herself in a number of different ways in order to explore stereotypes, the multiplicity of personality and the interesting effects which appearance can create. Have a look at some of her work on the Tate website and think about how you too could experiment with presenting yourself in different ways through photographic art.
We would love to hear any interesting new year’s resolutions that you made for 2021. Comment below!
Amber Kennedy, Editor-in-chief