Words are my business. Finding the right words to express emotion, and to show conflict and character development, are fundamental to my work as a writer. I also delight in learning new words through reading, and the word of the day from Dictionary.com
In 2014, however, I took my passion for words one step further. I chose a word to focus on for the year. I was inspired by best-selling women’s fiction author Debbie Macomber’s One Perfect Word, an account of words she’s explored over the years, and how this exploration has shaped her life and relationships.
My word for 2014 was believe. After a number of tumultuous years, I needed to believe there would be resolution to a litany of personal and professional crises. To believe I was following the right path with my writing.
Throughout the year, I focused on my word from different perspectives, in family and friendships, in fiction and faith.
I also focused on making my word tangible. “Believe you can and you are halfway there”, is on the postcard propped on the bookcase next to my writing desk. Many times throughout the year, I reminded myself of that mantra – to believe in a positive outcome, even when things looked dark.
My word for 2015 is goodness. With some unlikely inspiration, this choice solidified for me in the past fortnight .
First, the terrorist attacks in Paris, shocking, tragic and, above all horrific.
Yet, amidst that horror, I’ve been inspired by stories of human goodness, transcending the boundaries of a divided society.
When called upon to do so, ordinary people acted in heroic ways.
And second, I’ve been re-reading some of Louisa May Alcott’s books and short stories. Best known for Little Women, this celebrated nineteenth century American author was also a staunch social reformer and abolitionist, working to combat poverty, promote women’s rights and education, and forge a more equitable society.
In life, Alcott was a heroine as compelling as any of those in her fiction.
So this year I’m seeking to live my life to be consciously mindful of goodness – acknowledging it in the world around me, and finding opportunities to live goodness in my interactions with others.
Do you choose a word to live by for the year? How has it impacted your life?
Suggestions for additional reading
Debbie Macomber, One Perfect Word
Inside Higher Ed, University of Venus, “Inspiration for 2015” (1 January 2015)
Boston Women’s Heritage Trail, Louisa May Alcott