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“Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you.”   Marsha Norman

Can one little word provide some vision for a whole year?

I stumbled upon the idea of this ‘one word‘ while reading author Christina Katz’s new site.  She moved her “WriterMama Riffs” blog over to ChristinaKatz.com.     Christina chose her one word for 2010 — Prosperous.  That is a good word.  It has connotations of not only copious output, but also well-earned income to go with it, always a bonus when doing something you love to do.

Through Christina Katz’s word I found blogger Ali Edwards.  (One of the things I like best about these things is that one writer’s ideas lead to more ideas and on it goes and grows…)  In Ali’s blog, she shares  One Little Word 2010.  Here is her explanation:

“Essentially the idea is to choose a word (or let it choose you) that has the potential to make an impact on your life.

Maybe you want to invite something or maybe you are hoping to subtract something. Maybe your word will be practical or hopeful or creative or fanciful. Maybe you need a big word, something in-your-face that will challenge you everyday. Maybe you need something smaller and quieter that will whisper gentle tidings as you make your way throughout the year.

Whatever word you end up with, make sure it is your word (not your sister’s, mom’s, partner’s, child’s, etc). You can share it publicly or keep it close to your heart.”

Hundreds of her readers commented on their one word for 2010, and Ali published a list of her readers’ words. I find the list thought-provoking and inspiring.

I did not know what my word was a year ago, in the first month of 2009.  Forced to choose back then, I may have volunteered the word “Bewildered”.  Or “Ready To Step Off The Precipice Of The Known”.  Wait, that last one is way too many words.  Maybe “Embark”?

With the clearer view afforded by hindsight, I can now see that my word was “Exploration”.  I started the year with a plan to write children’s books (age 4-8), so I was learning all I could about that genre.  Then I received the exciting news that one of my short stories would be published in an anthology, so I also learned as much as I could about that genre.  Then I discovered blogging, and threw myself wholeheartedly into learning that bright new world.  Then I researched the options of freelancing for magazines and newspapers, writing humor essays and finally rounded out the year by writing a 50,000 word NaNoWriMo draft of a middle grade children’s novel.  So 2009 ended with a great deal of ground covered, a lot of information crammed into my head, and I softly landed somewhere between a lack of focus and a world of possibility.

I finish January, my first blogiversary, with many lessons learned…  The discipline required when granted the gift to do what I love to do but damn I don’t feel like doing it now but I have to do it anyway because it is important for me to write every day to reach my dreams.   Moving beyond the guilt inherent in that previous sentence.  Learning where I have a natural aptitude, and what will actually pay, and how to combine the two.  Sorting what currency in which I want to be paid — money, confidence, fulfillment — and how to combine all three.

A year ago, I read a blog post from a writer that I now cannot find.  In my memory, it was brilliant, and I want to quote it here because it completely describes in a humorous but honest way, how she made it through this same phase. It had the power to stick in my head for a year, in the way that words can do when they speak to your soul.

But I can’t find her.

Still obsessing Moving on, I’ll share the essence of her story: she wrote of ‘blind-dates’ with many genres of writing, and having each genre, time after time, not be “the one”.  She would fall feverishly in love with each one for a while, but then would see the foibles and faults and know she had to keep looking.  But if she had not given each one a try, she wouldn’t know what felt right when she found it.  Which she did.

Dang, the analogy was so much better than that.

Thinking about the next year, I am still on that path of searching and exploring.  But my choice for my one word in 2010?  Embrace.

Embrace the gift.  Embrace the challenges.  Embrace the unknown.  Embrace inevitable failure.  Embrace inevitable success.  Embrace the discipline I must muster.  Embrace the journey, even though I may not know the destination until I find it.

What’s your word?


“Where are we going?  Good question.  I’ll know it when I see it.”   Anonymous