Living and Writing via ‘One Word’

Around the Internet you’ll see references to One Word as an alternative to New Year’s resolutions. One site says, “This process provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus…just one word.”

Rachel Olsen, co-author of the book ‘My One Word‘, is a guest on the Seekerville blog today, talking about the One Word she chose in 2012, which was ‘Create‘. She hoped it would help nurture her creative impulses. Her thought: “…if I refuse to create—because I am afraid, or feel inferior, or for any reason really—I’m refusing to live the life God has called me to live. Not to mention I’m refusing to use the talents He has given me to invest, and there’s a little parable about that….” ‘Create’ was a good choice for her.

Joy Ornament

After encountering Sara Frankl online some years ago, I was inspired by her ‘Choose Joy’ attitude, and ‘Joy‘ became my One Word for 2011. (One of my posts about Sara is here.) Through Sara I found Ann Voskamp’s blog, and subsequently her book, ‘One Thousand Gifts‘. My 2012 One Word became ‘Thankfulness‘. Life can get pretty ho hum when we blunder through each day oblivious to the little miracles that surround us. Ann’s challenge was to become observant and each day of the year record three everyday things for which to give thanks.

I’ll admit I wasn’t 100% faithful in always recording three, but my journal that year was filled with little snippets of the everyday I might otherwise have seen but not really absorbed as gifts. Acknowledging and appreciating them brought gratitude, and gratitude brought joy.

Other One Words since then haven’t always provided such clarity, but having just one word on which to focus throughout a year has been far more effective for me than all the New Year’s resolutions of the past. Whether my One Word has been applied to life in general or to writing in particular, each has helped me decide on a progression of desirable ‘intentions’ and stay on track.

My 2015 One Word hasn’t been revealled to me yet. I thought fleetingly of a good one, but I lost the thought before writing down the word! There are any number of inspirational words from which to choose — Rachel Olsen’s website has a graphic offering several that would be suitable, as does the 2013 list from Seekerville — but I’m waiting a little longer to choose one that speaks to me. I’m hoping my lost thought will return before January is over.

We’ve talked here before about resolutions and intentions, but perhaps not about a One Word. It’s something worth your consideration. If you could sum up your desires or ambitions for 2015 in a single word, what would it be?

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2 thoughts on “Living and Writing via ‘One Word’

  1. My one word would be faith. What’s so remarkable is how quickly it came to me. I desire the faith to live a joyful and happy life every moment of every day. I choose to seek happiness through faith, in the belief that everything will be fine every time.

    Love this idea of one word summing up coming year. Thanks, Carol.

    • Carol says:

      That’s a great word! I don’t think we’re guaranteed that bad things won’t ever happen in our lives, but faith takes us through difficult situations with trust that we can endure and overcome. And there’s joy and contentment to be found, despite those situations, when we look for them with expectation. I think “expectation” is the One Word I’m adopting.

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