My One Word for 2021 #OneWord2021


pine-cone-sig

 

I’ve been participating in One Word since 2017. Wow. Five years.

This quote from 2018 says it all:

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it鈥檚 not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

I’m feeling a bit like Scrooge. Another year? Another One Word? Bah! Humbug.

And so, of course, I was in for a visit from… 馃懟 馃帄馃帀

The Posts of New Year’s Past:

 

One Word for 2020 was:聽Focus. Focus on one thing at a time to avoid overwhelm? Fab plan, lady. Alas…

One Word for 2019 was: Move. Getting unstuck was sort of the idea. I鈥檓 still stuck but heartily sorry for it and flailing for a helping hand out of the pit.

One Word for 2018 was: Self. It was a good choice. It worked. A little. Some of the time. Not as often as I’d hoped.

One Word for 2017 was Accept. I did not accept anything. I sort of UN-accepted pretty much everything. I faltered. Failed. Moved on.

 

What I’ve learned from these Posts of New Year’s Past is I’m trying to be positive, providing some word to nurture, encourage, help… That’s lovely, but something was pulling me away from that. 2020 was a tough year. For many people. For many reasons. The celebration of that year being over is everywhere.

I’m not celebrating. Not yet.

I decided I’m not going to force positivity on myself. Oh, I know I mean well but, hell, things kind of suck at the moment, new year or not. Why not acknowledge the suckiness? And why force positivity when we all know that never works?

When you shove those negative feelings down, they resurface. Always. In one way or another, they bob up like a rubber duck in a tub.

So I’m going with a negative One Word this year.

Sort of.

I’m acknowledging the negativity that clouds my life and letting myself know it’s okay to not be okay about it.

My focus word for 2021:

ALLOW

With everything going on, I’m giving myself permission to feel however I need to feel. If I feel bad, that’s okay. If I feel sad, that’s okay. If I feel stressed, angry, or hurt, that’s okay.

No guilt. No “should”. None of that nonsense.

I’m allowed to feel however I feel.

If I happen to feel good, or even happy, that’s allowed, too. So, yay.

As always, a definition (*nerd alert*):

allow

[蓹藞lou]

verb聽
  • give (someone) permission to do something.

grant someone the right 路聽give one’s blessing toapprove of聽路聽give the go-ahead to聽路聽give the thumbs up to 路聽give the OK to聽路聽give the green light to

I’ve got the green light here, my friends. The go-ahead. The thumbs-up. I’ve been granted the right and given a blessing. What else could I ask for?

  • give the necessary time or opportunity for.

Time and opportunity to feel. I guess that’s what else I could have asked for. *shrugs* Got it.

  • admit (an event or activity) as legal or acceptable.

My feelings are hereby legal and acceptable. Right on.

I’m allowing myself to feel however the hell I feel without the dreaded “should” and “shouldn’t”. And without guilt. I’m allowing my feelings to break free of that self-imposed New Year’s cocoon of positivity, emerging in whatever shape, size, and color they are. If I feel angry, well, The Hulk and I can hang out for a bit. If I feel sad, so be it. If I happen to feel happy, it’s going to be a genuine bubbling glass of joy.

 

Happy New Year, my friends. 鉂 Here’s to your goals, aspirations, resolutions, or whatever floats your boat. Cheers! 馃

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2021.

My One Word for 2020 #OneWord2020

 

pine-cone-sig

 

I was going to switch this up a bit for 2020 but guess what? I’m not. This is (unfortunately) perfect:

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it鈥檚 not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

One Word for 2019 was: Move. Seriously. Like Move Yer Arse, Girl! Or, you know, something nicer, like, Excuse me but would you mind moving? Same, same. Getting unstuck was sort of the idea.

I’m still stuck but heartily sorry for it and flailing for a helping hand out of the pit.

my One Word for 2018 was: Self. It was a good choice. It worked. Some of the time. Not as often as I’d hoped.

my One Word for 2017 was Accept. I did not accept anything. I sort of UN-accepted pretty much everything. I faltered. Failed. Moved on.

Well. Isn’t that something? And here we are again. Another year, another word. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

 

I’ve noticed my blog has its share of posts about overwhelm. Just a few, really, not, like, dozens. Ahem. So I got to thinking about being overwhelmed. Too much. Too many things. So, naturally, I need to make lists. And prioritize. That will work. Except for the times it doesn’t. Which is to say always. Or never. Whatever.

I’ve got to sort out my priorities. This is more important than that. That is more pressing than the other. Things get put on The List, shifted, knocked down a number, back up, and so forth and, soon enough, nothing is done.

So, instead of putting my life on a piece of paper in order of importance, I’m changing my mindset. (FYI, this is always,聽always, a good idea. You should try it.) I’ve always sucked at multi-tasking but I’m not sure that’s what this is anymore. I’m thinking it’s more that I’m utterly unfocused.

So here is my ironic focus word for 2020:

FOCUS

I was at a cemetery last month and grabbed my phone to take a picture.

When I tapped on the screen to focus on the little pinecone in my face, the gravestones blurred in the background. And vice versa. Right? Because whether it’s a mobile phone or a fancy camera, it cannot focus on more than one thing at a time.

I hadn’t written my One Word post yet but, there, right then, in that cemetery, I wrote it in my head.

I’m not prioritizing the pinecone over the gravestone. But if I try to focus on both of them, they’re both blurry and I don’t get either one. If I tap and zoom in on one, I get an amazing shot. Then, *tap*, another great shot. Done.

Obviously, there will be times when something will demand my focus be drawn to that issue or situation but I will focus on it and move on.

If I’m constantly trying to focus on everything, then everything is out of focus.

Narrow my focus and, boom, I’ve got a clear shot.

As always, a definition (because I’m a nerd):

 

focus

/f艒k蓹s/

noun

  • the center of interest or activity.

center, focal point, center of attention

Get me a spotlight, man. I’m shining it on whatever shit needs attention. Laser focused, my friends.聽

  • the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.

clear, clear-cut, well-defined

Producing a well-defined, clear-cut visual? Please hold. Your patience is appreciated. The clear visual will be with you shortly.聽

verb

  • (of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.

Seeing clearly? Yes, please. Adapting and becoming able to see clearly are HUGE challenges for me. Two great goals. 聽

  • pay particular attention to.

give emphasis to, highlight

Dude, this makes me want to whip out one of those big, neon yellow markers and highlight the hell out of the book of my life. On it!

 

I’m going to focus this year. I know I said this last year but 2020 will see another book from me. The manuscripts are sitting here glaring at me. They are more patient than I.

Happy New Year, my friends. 鉂 Here’s to your goals, aspirations, resolutions, or whatever floats your boat. Cheers! 馃

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2020.

 

My One Word for 2019 #OneWord2019

 

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Wow. So this is fun. I love reading posts from past years and seeing I’ve learned my lesson…

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it鈥檚 not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

So, last year, my One Word for 2018 was: Self.

It was a good choice. It worked. Some of the time. Not as often as I’d hoped.

The year before that, my One Word for 2017 was Accept. I did not accept anything. I sort of UN-accepted pretty much everything. I faltered. Failed. Moved on.

And…here I go again. Another year, another word, another promise. Despite everything, I really do believe in the power of focus words (and in the power of me not failing). Success to me and my One Word!

It’s difficult choosing just one word when we writers love language the way we do, but, unlike past years, it wasn’t too bad this time. I’ll say right up front, I did shop around for synonyms because it’s not a pretty word but, eh, what the hell. Here it is, my friends:

MOVE

As I said, not the most beautiful word but, seriously, check this out:

 

move

/mo蜑ov/

verb

  • go in a specified direction or manner; change position.

proceed, progress, advance

Proceed? Advance? Count me in.

  • change or cause to change from one state, opinion, sphere, or activity to another.

change, shift one鈥檚 ground, change one鈥檚 tune

Changing opinion/activity as we speak (or, read, whatever). Already whistling another tune, my friends. Done.

  • take action, act, take steps, do something

inspire, prompt, motivate

鈥渟he was moved to act鈥

Dude, just reading this makes me want to DO SOMETHING. Watch me take action. I am motivated! I am moved to act!

  • provoke a strong feeling, especially of sorrow or sympathy, in.

stir up (an emotion) in someone

affect, touch, upset, disturb, make an impression on

鈥淚 was deeply moved by the story鈥

This. Yes. This is what I hope to accomplish with my writing so I’m keeping this one in here. I would love to provoke strong feelings in readers. Affect people. Even upset or disturb them with my stories. It’s all good as long as it makes an impression.

  • make progress; develop in a particular manner or direction.

make progress, advance, develop

I’m marching here. I am. Advancing. Stepping ALL OVER the enemies: self-doubt, imposter syndrome, procrastination, stress, overwhelm… I am making progress!

 

I’m moving. And 2019 will see another book from me. (Preferably two.) Here’s to moving, my friends! 鉂

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2019.

 

My One Word for 2018 #OneWord2018

 

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Well, I did a bang up job last year with my One Word for 2017: Accept. I didn’t. I raged, raged against the…everything. It was brutal choosing a focus for the year and I faltered. Failed. Time to move on.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I don’t do ‘resolutions’. However, I do believe (previous failure aside) a focus for the year is an excellent idea.

This is how I figured 2017 would work out. It did not. But, still, props for trying:

Choosing ONE word for the entire year? Not easy. I finally narrowed it down to three:

Present

Engage

Accept

I want to be more present in my life and I realized that, if I fully engage, I can be. And to engage, I need to accept some things. (This is how I worked it out, anyway.)

Therefore, my one word this year is:

Accept

 

I’m going to try again.

I’ve really had a time of it, this year, choosing a word. I even thought of cheating and picking two (or three). But, if I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to do it right. So I’ll work it out again.

I like the words I narrowed it down to:

Present

Mindful

 

I had passing thoughts of choosing something like Assertiveness, Determination, or Focus but they didn’t feel quite right. It’s just that I’ve been yammering on this past year about standing my ground, choosing me, sticking up for myself, keeping on target, saying “NO”, etc. so these seemed good, too.

It’s all about me, right? Sure. Why not? I went into this weird line of hyphenated “self” stuff:

Self-Esteem

Self-Motivation

Self-Care

Self-Awareness

Self-Kindness

Self… Er…

Self… Um…

Self-Centered

Self…ish

 

Crap. Never mind.

But I do need something “self”-like.

So, when continuing to narrow down my choice, I decided it must include me.

 

I’m sick of being stressed-out and overwhelmed, of not doing what I love, of doing things I’d really rather not be doing. I’m sick of ALL OF THE THINGS!

 

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it鈥檚 not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

Forget it! I’m done. Or, at least, my OneWord is done. And here it is:

Self

This is my favorite definition from Webster鈥檚 New Explorer College Dictionary:

 

self

combining form: to, with, for, or toward oneself

 

See? I’ll be kind to, gentle with, caring for, considerate toward…myself. Brilliant.

By choosing Self, I’ll be incorporating all sorts of other wonderful words I’ve been thinking of here: Awareness, Mindful, Focus, Kindness… How can I have Self in front of me and actively abuse or dismiss it? I cannot. It would be awkward. And weird. And mean.

As I said last year, this is not going to be easy. I’ve got to change my whole mindset to get to the point where Self is what I focus on first. I’m up for the challenge though.

I’m taking my Self out of here, wishing you a Happy New Year and hoping you all can find a perfect OneWord for 2018. 鉂

 

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2018.

 

My One Word for 2017 #OneWord2017

 

pine-cone-sig

 

Choosing ONE word for the entire year? Not easy. I finally narrowed it down to three:

Present

Engage

Accept

I want to be more present in my life and I realized that, if I fully engage, I can be. And to engage, I need to accept some things. (This is how I worked it out, anyway.)

Therefore, my one word this year is:

Accept

I hear you sneering (or perhaps it鈥檚 me), 鈥淎ccept?! You鈥檙e just going to accept whatever happens? That鈥檚 so鈥o鈥︹

Crap, huh?

To accept something seems passive.

However, I am choosing this word as my focus for the entire year above all the other glorious words in the English language. I鈥檝e thought a lot about this.

I lost count of how many times I鈥檝e caught myself saying, 鈥淚 can鈥檛 believe this happened.鈥 Or 鈥淚 can鈥檛 believe she did that.鈥

鈥淚 can鈥檛 believe鈥︹ Well, gentle readers, it鈥檚 about time I start believing some things, you know?

Accept.

The Webster鈥檚 New Explorer College Dictionary definition:

 

ac路cept

verb: to receive as true

 

Ah. Truth. Now we鈥檙e getting somewhere.

I do not mean 鈥済et over it鈥, 鈥渢hat鈥檚 the way it is鈥, or 鈥済ive up鈥.

I鈥檝e heard “accept” used in these ways my whole life so it has always had a negative connotation for me.

Now I鈥檓 going to flip this word on its ass and my attitude is going with it.

I will not accept that the roof is leaking in the sense that I鈥檒l shrug and live with a leaky roof. I鈥檒l accept that the roof is leaking in the sense that once I accept it, I will do something about it.

Accepting my life the way it is doesn鈥檛 mean I won鈥檛 keep fighting. It means I will receive it as true instead of raging about how it shouldn鈥檛 be this way. It is, dude. It really is that way.

I need to act.

But acceptance isn鈥檛 the act, it鈥檚 what precipitates the act.

Accepting something isn鈥檛 the end, it鈥檚 the beginning. 鈥淚 accept this鈥ow what am I going to do about it?鈥

This is not going to be easy for me. Eh. I accept that.

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2017.

 

First Lines: Young Adult Novels (YA)

 

Another First Lines post to feed my passion and your imagination.

So, I’ve shared some children’s and middle grade firsts with you.

Now.

The time has come, the blogger said, To talk of other things: Of love 鈥 and loss 鈥 and fantasy 鈥 Dystopia and kings! Yes, I’m talking YA. Hold on to your socks.

As you all know (since I’ve included this little tidbit about myself pretty much everywhere) I love YA.

Before you close this out, please give it a chance. The post, yes, sure, but the umbrella that all YA books are hanging out under. Interestingly enough, I’ve found that more adults refuse to read YA than they do middle grade or children’s books.

Conversations go something like this: “I’m not a teenager.” “I have no interest in reading about idiotic kids in high school, thank you very much.” “Why would grown-ups read this crap?”

Yes, they go something like that.

There is a lot of controversy over adults reading YA. Which, quite honestly, makes me wonder about the adults who spout off about this and, also, the price of potatoes in Jaipur.

Onward! First lines…

 

鈥淚 bear a deep red stain that runs from my left shoulder down to my right hip, a trail left by the herbwitch鈥檚 poison that my mother used to try to expel me from her womb.鈥

His Fair Assassin Book 1: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

 

鈥淓veryone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that鈥檚 true.鈥

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

 

鈥淚t has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.鈥

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

 

鈥淚n all the years I鈥檇 existed, I鈥檇 never expected to be free.鈥

The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter

 

鈥淧etunia was knitting some fingerless gloves to match her new red velvet cloak when the Wolves of Westfalian Woods attacked.鈥

Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George

 

鈥淓very morning, the sun comes up and turns the earth red, and I think: This could be the day when everything changes. Maybe today the Society will fall.鈥

Matched Trilogy Book 3: Reached by Ally Condie

 

鈥淟ate in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.

Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.鈥

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

鈥淭here is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.鈥

Divergent by Veronica Roth

 

鈥淭hey hung the Unregistereds in the old warehouse district; it was a public execution, so everyone went to see.鈥

Blood of Eden Book 1: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa


鈥淲hen I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim鈥檚 warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.鈥

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

鈥淪pring in the mountains of Morravik was a about as predictable as a tired two-years child in a house of wonders…鈥

The Raven Ring by Patricia C. Wrede

 

鈥淛ust so you know, when they say 鈥極nce upon a time鈥欌hey鈥檙e lying.鈥

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
(I cheated on this one. Technically, this isn鈥檛 the first line of the novel but it鈥檚 the first line of the 鈥淥liver鈥 chapter鈥攖he main character of this book within a book)

 

鈥淟et me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you鈥檝e heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn鈥檛 win.鈥

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

 

鈥淗e began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air.鈥
Book 1

鈥淪he spoke to him before the world fell apart.鈥
Book 2

鈥淚t was the smell that began to drive Thomas slightly mad.鈥
Book 3

Maze Runner Series by James Dashner

(James got a hat trick. I mean, really, he nailed every first line in each book of this trilogy.)

 

First Lines YA

 

Next up:

First Lines: Socially Acceptable Books for Grown-ups

As a reader (and a writer) how important are first lines to you?

 

Words, Don鈥檛 Fail Me Now

 

Why am I stuck? I’m trying so hard (first clue) to put my feelings into words (second clue) for this momentous occasion (and…there’s the third). ThoughtBubble

What happens when you sit down to write something inside a book or card for a special event? A birthday, wedding, or anniversary? A letter to your newborn or college-bound child?

These things leave me utterly speechless, in a writing sort of way, and I wind up with an embarrassing outpouring of unintelligible sentences or an empty page.

When I’m forcing myself to write, I often can’t. Simple as that.

When I attempt to put deep, profound feelings on paper, I find the words aren鈥檛 meaningful enough.

The pressure of finding a sentiment that is perfect and unforgettable sends me running from my keyboard and diving under the covers.

Words are my world.

They can鈥檛 fail me when I need them most. This is the irrational thought I have before I beat myself up.

Why can鈥檛 I write this?!

Though I鈥檝e basically answered my own question and outlined the reasons why, I still have a nagging feeling. And I think to the words, 鈥淧lease. Don鈥檛 fail me now.鈥

 

I can't write - sig

This is what I have so far…

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.