If you could choose ONE WORD to guide you into the year ahead, what would it be?
Since 2015, I have followed a practice shown to me by my dear friend Michelle Martin Dobbins of selecting a “Word of the Year.” As writers we often talk about the importance of words, but yet we focus on their value being related to their quantity.
When we’re just starting out, we might aim for 250-500 words a day. For NaNoWriMo we obsess with writing 1600 words per day to hit the 50k-word month of November, for our novels we’re reaching for 60-80k, and some of my friends writing epic fantasy can’t even envision a universe in which their story is told in less than 120k.
But what about the power of just ONE WORD?
Back in 2015 I was still a hungry entrepreneur, continuing to build a writing and teaching business that would not only sustain a small community of authors but also the financial needs of my household. It was a courageous and possibly foolish undertaking—leaving my dependable job as a library director to help would-be writers reach for bucket list dreams—so I adopted the word “BRAVE” as my guidepost.
And almost every action I took that year required some level of bravery. I created over 100 videos on different elements of writing craft, including a 28-lesson, 4-hour course on how to self-publish your children’s picture book. I launched York Book Expo, a festival featuring 80 regional authors and headlined by New York Times bestselling author David Rosenfelt. In advance of the event, I interviewed more than half of those authors on film and shared those videos on my YouTube channel. And scariest of all, I rose to the call and helped publish 50 books in a variety of genres.
Beyond the edge of busy, and battling a lifelong obsession with perfection, the one shift that made 2015 a success was allowing myself to complete lots of things “Really Good” rather than not completing anything “Perfect.”
I used to obsess about precisely folding recital programs, church bulletins, and tri-fold brochures so that all the corners matched, and then use a bone folder to give it a sharp crease. But the deep intrinsic worth I assigned to that task did not match the value assigned by others. And more importantly, the hours I spent on the mundane were keeping me from creating content that would inspire hundreds of other writers to reach for their bucket list dreams.
As I look to this year, I’ve wrestled with words like “happy,” “contented,” and “joyful,” because the biz hunger of entrepreneurial famine has been quenched and I now have a waitlist for new authors. But none of those words inspire me.
After listening to Oprah’s Super Soul podcast on my morning walk, I wrestled with “abundant,” “inspired,” and “intentional”—all of which have elements that resonate with how I feel and who I want to be.
Ultimately though I’ve chosen “RADIANT” after hearing various messages proposing that what we attract to our lives is a result of that which we radiate.
What do you most seek to bring into your life this year?
Can you begin to imagine a world in which you’ve already achieved that goal? What does it feel like? How does it change the way you see yourself? How do you imagine it will change the way others see you?
My goal is to RADIATE inspiration and joy and intentionality and abundance, in the hope that you and I can experience the most fulfilling year ever… one in which we find the courage to believe in our dream, the bravery to take the first and next steps to move toward it… and the gratitude to recognize the achievement when we get there.
What ONE WORD will guide you this year?
Let me know in the comments below!