Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Slice of Life: The Power of One Little Word

Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants. 

The house is quiet this morning, for a little while longer, anyway. Left to their own patterns, the girls sleep late. As long as Okie has had a morning run around the yard, he is content to lie down next to my chair when I read and write.

The morning bloggers have reflected on their One Little Words for 2017, and I love that two of them share by 2017 OLW of brave. I haven't done a lot of public reflecting about my word, although I have loved reading about Fran's progress. That being said, it has been a great focus for my year, and I have pushed through some challenges with the nudge of my OLW. Some of those challenges have felt like short-term dares--diving through the waves when the Rhode Island ocean water is still cold or lifting my legs into a wobbly headstand--or longer term goals like presenting at conferences and submitting my writing to contests and agents (for rejection after rejection).

I am the first of the TWT authors who will share my OLW for 2018, which I have to say feels brave; I'm not sure how I ended up in that first place position! Right now, for those who are still reading and contemplating taking on a word for a year, I'm going to make a strong pitch for it. Resolutions were always tough for me to remember. Some times (often by the second week of January) I forgot what they were and most times (probably always by February), those resolutions were tucked into the back of a drawer within my mind; any potential to change any aspect of my behavior or life was gone. But just one word---

Just one word has been easier to remember, and I'm not sure it had so much to do with the word as much as it has to do with the grounding, centering, and intention the word provides. Each year has brought about challenges--personal and professional, positive and negative, short and long-term, family and friend-based-- and when I think about those challenges, any of my past words would have inspired me to push through; it hasn't been the power of the word as much as it's been the focus of the intention. The practice of choosing a word and living with it throughout a year has slowed me down, inspired me to reflect, bonded me with others who share my word or the practice, and given me an anchor when I felt floundery. (I know floundery isn't a word, but I like it!)

If you're waivering, if you're debating, if you're wondering about taking on a word for a year, give it a try. If you think it would help, write your word down in places where you see it. Remind yourself of your word on your drive to work now and then, telling yourself why you chose it, what it meant. Return to your word when you're feeling floundery--we all have that feeling sometimes. Share your word or keep it to yourself, but let it serve as a beacon or an anchor. You might be surprised at the power of one little word.

If you're off this week, enjoy the time to slow down and rest. Happy 2018 to all of you.


  1. I love this: "I'm not sure it had so much to do with the word as much as it has to do with the grounding, centering, and intention the word provides." This is exactly what having a word of the year does for me. It gives me a little extra something to hold onto as I strive for personal progress. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. I like the idea of this word being either "a beacon or an anchor." I am leaving 2017 and he word routine which acted as my anchor. I still have 6 days to pick my next word...maybe a beacon this time?! Thanks for the added nudge to pick my next word!

  3. So true that OLW focus you and gives you an anchor. My one little word for 2017 was "doshare" - not exactly one word, but share wasn't strong enough so I added do! It, I think, is part of the reason I began slicing - what better way to put yourself out there than with writing and reading and responding! Thanks for you insightful words on the purpose and practicality of OLW!

  4. I had forgotten that we had "brave" in common. I loved your honest reflections. I love the commitment that OLW reminds me to make. When we are back at school January 8 I will have a whole new crop of OLW posts to inspire my third graders as they choose their own. I can't wait to see what your word is for 2018 (I liked having a cohort of "brave" people with me- not sure if my new word will be as shared).

  5. You've reminded me why choosing a word can be a powerful tool for a new year. Thinking...

  6. You're right about the power of one little word. My word stayed on a chalk board in my laundry room all year. I thought that my 2018 word came to me early, but I'm still thinking on it. I love how the one word can adapt itself to most any situation or challenge we come across. I also enjoy reading what others choose.

  7. Melanie,
    Can't wait to see your 2018 word. Mine is just about decided! Thanks for the shout out.

    I love this . . ."Just one word has been easier to remember, and I'm not sure it had so much to do with the word as much as it has to do with the grounding, centering, and intention the word provides." and of course "floundery" which is the perfect word. Let's tweet it out and make it a new word for 2918!

  8. Thank you for sharing your reflections on OLW. It is something I have not yet tried.