mary shelley

4 Literary Quotes on New Beginnings

I love January. After the December holidays are over, I feel ready to start the new year off on the right foot. I clean up my workspace, break out a new calendar, and imagine all the things that could happen in the new year.

This January, the season of new beginnings coincides with where I am in my writing life. Last year I drafted all three novels of the trilogy I'm working on. I took a break from writing for the holidays--it's good to recharge--and rang in the New Year by going back to the beginning of Book 1. As I edit and rewrite, I'm starting to feel really connected to these characters and excited about putting the finishing touches on their story.

Well, I'm mostly excited. Editing a rough draft is a lot like looking back at old pictures of yourself. Sometimes you look back and think, "Wow, that was a really great day. I love this picture." Sometimes you look back and think, "Really? Those jeans? That lipstick? What was I thinking?"

So as I'm beginning this new year and taking a fresh look at my work-in-progress, I decided to look for a little inspiration. Here are four quotes on new beginnings from some of my favorite writers:

4 Literary Quotes on New Beginnings |

T. S. Eliot

Eliot seems to have the words for every occasion. He was one of the most influential poets of the 20th century, even though we're still trying to figure out what to make of him. Case in point: he wrote both The Hollow Men and The Triumph of Bullshit. Didn't learn about that second poem in Literature class, did you?

Anyway, here are his (PG-rated) lines about welcoming the new year:

T.S. Eliot quote on new beginnings |

Mary Shelley

We all know Mary Shelley as the author of the horror story Frankenstein, but her own life wasn't too sunny, either. Her mother died shortly after Mary was born, her father remarried a woman who didn't care for her, and she met and started a relationship with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley when she was just a teenager. Whatever may have inspired this quote, it's a great reminder that every day is a chance to begin again.

Mary Shelley quote on new beginnings |

Annie Prouix

Prouix's Pulitzer-prize-winning novel The Shipping News is entirely about new beginnings. Quoyle and his two daughters relocate to the family home in Newfoundland, where they each try to make a fresh start during the cold, stormy winter. Maybe that's why this quote strikes me as especially lovely at this time of year:

Annie Prouix quote on new beginnings | 5 Literary Quotes on New Beginnings from

L.M. Montgomery

I love L.M. Montgomery's novel Anne of Green Gables. Anne is imaginative, headstrong, tempermental--but most of all, she's hopeful. No matter how many times Anne gets into trouble, she's always ready and willing to learn and try again. This line is spoken by Anne to her adoptive guardian Marilla:

L.M. Montgomery quote on new beginnings |


It's a new year--and even better than that, today is a new day. Write on.