When I first began teaching a mentor told me to create a folder labeled “Why I Teach.” 
 
She said working with humans was rewarding, messy, and unpredictable. Some days would be high points. Others would be the pits. 
 
Ninety-five percent of the time, I would have no idea whether I made an impact, or if I did, what that impact was. 

That was twenty years ago. My mentor was right. Teaching is rewarding, messy, and unpredictable. 
 
Teachers must have faith that somewhere, somehow, we are making a difference and our efforts are enough. 
 
Whenever someone thanks me, their card or note goes into the “Why I Teach” folder that still sits in my file cabinet. On hard days, when I worry that I haven’t been helpful or I wonder if all this hard work is making a difference, the folder reminds me to stay the course. 
 
Four years ago, I started this newsletter with a simple mission. I wanted to pay forward the support I’d been given on my writing journey by sharing inspiration and tips I’d learned along the way. 
 
Writing this newsletter is an act of faith. Ninety-five percent of the time, I have no idea whether it has an impact. 
 
To those of you who have sent me thank-you letters or shared your stories, I am deeply grateful. 
 
Your words are printed and placed in my folder so I can remind myself why this is important. 
 
Whether you’re a new subscriber or you’ve been with me from the very beginning, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. 
 
Thank you for believing that your stories matter. 
 
Thank you for working to perfect them so they can change the world. 
 
For those who have worked with me, thank you for trusting me with your stories and your precious creative lives. Your projects and tenacity inspire me. I feel so honored to have had the privilege of watching you grow. 
 
Over the past thirty days, you have written a new end to 2020—one that is filled with love, connectivity, and hope. 
 
You’ve donated $20,279 to families in need.

You’ve supported independent bookstores across North America.
 
You’ve written reviews for your fellow writers.
 
You’ve donated $2,245 to literary organizations at a time when they desperately need your help.
 
You’ve thanked countless mentors.
 
In January, I would like to say thank you by inviting you to join my 31-day writing challenge. 
 
During this 31-day writing challenge, you’ll receive a short (as in 3 – 4 sentence) daily email that will help you start or build momentum on any project.
 
There are no costs associated with this challenge. 
 
All you need to do is sign up by sending an email to lisa.cooper.ellison@gmail.com and then check your inbox. 

Because we’re all busy, emails will only be sent to those who actively sign up for the challenge
 
So, as we wrap up 2020, I hope you reflect on the good in your life even as we hold space for the uncertainty and hardships we’ve all faced. 
 
I want to wish you the happiest of New Years.
 
I can’t wait to see how your writing life unfolds in 2021.  

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