Thursday, December 29, 2011

Next Year's Words

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
                                                                                                                --T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

The new year beckons with fresh pages like a new journal. What words will we write? From this vantage point we don't know yet, but isn't it exciting to think of the possibilities?

There are three words for sure that I'm going to start with. In fact, I'm going to write them down on the year's first page, day one, and until they're internalized, use them as constant reminders from January to December. They are:

RELAX. Writing is a gift, not a competition. Time is a gift, not a race. Relish the two, and enjoy the process. Rushing through it all only adds stress and angst.

WRITE. There's nothing new here, although it often seems like we need the reminder. Get words down. In whatever form, every day if possible. Journaling, freewriting, descriptions, prompts, new stuff, revised stuff, fun stuff, serious stuff. Doesn't matter. Doesn't even matter if it's not intended for publication. Just write--practice--and keep the process going. Eventually that which is meant for publication will be published. But you have to write it first.

CREATE. Imagine. Visualize. Stir the pot of creativity and see what comes of it. Seek--and seize--new opportunities and see where they take you. Translate them into words, and keep the process energized. Will I follow my own advice? Well, there's the Photo-a-Day project at Kodak (here and here) that I'm considering doing--taking a photo a day for 365 days, designed to "jump start" creativity. Hmmm, where would that take me? Then there's the possibility (oooh, I'm really saying it, Keith!) of a trip to Spain ahead of us in the new year. Will I jump on that? We'll see. Still, no matter what, be open, receptive, curious--and create.

Relax. Write. Create. Those are my three words. I think they'll serve me well. Looking back over the past year, I see a number of postive things. Queries on my MG novel are out, final rewrites completed, a bilingual picture book (in collaboration with my daughter) on submission, targets set/many met, research, character sketches, a writer's conference attended as well as a literature conference and book fair. A moderate mix of wordplay, writing prompts, right-side of the brain exercises, to-be-read pile chipped away at. Watching the (grand)children grow, and playing right alongside them. If I take my three chosen words to heart in 2012, there's no telling what I'll be able to report this time next year! It's a goal worth working toward, you think?

How about you? What words will spur you on in 2012?

*photo courtesy of


  1. Ah, I love your three words. They are excellent! :)

    I haven't thought about what my three words will be for 2012, but I do know that one of them will be SURRENDER.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks, Karen! I like your word choice, too--surrender. It suggests its own possibilities :-)

    Happy New Year back to you. Hope it's full of special things...

  3. Oh, my, I wish I could live by those words. Unfortunately, my job precludes the "relax" part. I guess my word would be "commitment." I have made a personal commitment to write as often as possible, every day if I can - even if it's only for half an hour.

  4. Oooh, I love those three words. They put it all in perspective, don't they!

    BTW, I left an award for you on my blog. Stop by and pick it up (and pass it on.)

  5. Peggy--hope you can "relax" at least a bit, especially in your 30 minute writing time! And commitment is a fantastic word. We need reminders, don't we, or other things crowd out the writing part...

    Elizabeth--thanks so much. I actually just dropped in at your blog and saw the award before realizing you'd stopped by here. That's very nice of you :-)

  6. They are great words to start the year with. I love the quote at the top.
    I think persistence is one for me. I've had a few almost quitting moments this year

  7. Possibilities is the word that spurs me on. I love setting goals, and seeing what I am able to accomplish, as well as how the goals get changed within the process. Life is indeed a gift and a joy; I cannot wait to experience each day. I can hardly sleep at night, because I so want to get up and experience what the new day will bring.

    I would LOVE to see you do a 365 picture project, Kenda, and see each day's picture posted to your blog. That would be so cool.

    In fact, I might even steal the idea. :)

  8. Michelle--thanks for stopping by sharing your word. And you, too, Catherine. In fact, I love the combined list of words everyone's come up with: "surrender, commmitment, perspective, persistence, possibilities." Sounds like a hopeful and positive new year ahead :-)

    As for the 365-day photo project, Catherine, I'm going to give it a try. We'll have to see what comes of it all. But please, go with the idea! I'd love to see what develops for you, too.

    Happy New Year, everyone...

  9. I love your words. Someone else also said not to hurry with our writing, so I'm really struck by that and your relax word. I'm going to 'try' to keep it in mind and remember to enjoy the whole process, not rush through it. :)

    Happy New Year!

  10. The photo a day for 365 days is very cool! Have you seen the Flickr group? They have awesome photos.

    And yes, Spain is waiting for you guys!!!!