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My Word for 2021

When I joined the writing world in 2015 I found myself surrounded by all kinds of writers. They were all in varying stages of being a writer, and I enjoyed learning from many of them. One thing they taught me is that words are important.

Not just because you need words to write a story, but because words help you on the journey.

There is nothing easy about being a writer. You have to put in the work, find your voice, do the research, revise, revise, revise, and then, when it’s all said and done, hopefully you have a book someone is willing to buy.

Choosing a word of the year is supposed to help with this.

Maybe it’s corny or superstitious, or it’s like rubbing a lucky penny. Well, in my upbringing it was all about your broom.

I think it was my paternal grandmother who passed down the superstition that I’ve carried with me well into adulthood and through 20-something moves.

Before you move into a new house, buy a new broom. You never take your old broom with you, or you’re subject to carrying bad luck into your new abode.

It’s not silly! I tell all my adult kids to do 2 things when they move. Make a list of things you need to do, and buy a new broom. It’s that big a deal.

In a lot of ways, selecting a word-of-the-year is just as important for the writer. The word gives you drive and focus. It becomes the year-long mantra. It keeps you company while you’re editing or plotting or pantsing your way to that bestseller.

In 2017, I chose the word: persevere.

to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement.

intransitive verb
per*se*vere | \ .per-se-‘vir
Webster’s dictionary

I paired the word with this gorgeous image (because every word needs an image).

Persevere – my 2017 word

And you know what? The word “persevere” got me through writing my thesis for MFA school. It got me through hours upon hours of rewrites and formatting hell. It got me to the end of a program that was challenging – a program that took me out of my comfort zone.

Fun Fact: In MFA school, every other student in my cohort was a teacher or an English major. I was a Psychology major & my background is in mental health counseling. Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb!

In 2019, I chose the word: independent. I used it to launch my literary boutique Author’s Ink following a trip to Seattle & an encounter with an adorable paper store.

I know, you’re likely dying to know which word I chose for 2018, but the truth is, I can’t remember. The same memory failure occurred in 2020, but I’m pretty sure all bad things that happened last year can be blamed on COVID-19.

Here we are in a new year. As 2020 began to wind down, a lot happened in my life. Some of those things contributed to changes I’m already experiencing 3 weeks into 2021. Embarking on change, I considered words like: change and risk. But neither of those felt right.

So, this year, it’s all about trust.

:to commit or place in one’s care or keeping;

:assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.

Webster’s Dictionary

Let’s face it, there’s a lot going on in the world, and making life changes is daunting when life is hum-drum dull. Leave the job you were settled into for a new career? Daunting. Leave the job you were settled into for a new career whilst a pandemic is going on? Crazy daunting. Return to school for another degree? Exhausting to think about. Return to school for another degree while changing career paths in the midst of a pandemic? What am I thinking?!

These activities will surely reduce the output of new words this calendar year, but I believe the timing is right for both the job change and furthering my education. We never know what lies ahead or the twists and turns we’ll encounter in life…but I’m willing to trust the One whose gotten me this far.

What about you? Do you pick a word for the year? If so, I’m curious what you’ve chosen and why.

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