And no, its selection has nothing to do with the visual connotation of 2020, though I do appreciate the symmetry.
Rather, its selection logically follows my 2019 word, SPEAK.
A little context…
I’ve been a writer almost as long as I’ve been a reader, but writing–and finding the time to do it well–has almost always been an afterthought, a luxury for which my overfull days as a working mom almost never had room. In 2019, I determined to change that. First, by speaking up about what I need. Second, by speaking out in my writing and telling the stories that I want to tell.
What did that look like? I began scheduling regular writing time rather than waiting for those elusive free minutes. I joined an online critique group. I accepted the StoryADay May challenge, becoming a “superstar” and meeting the most wonderfully supportive and encouraging community of writers. I began setting, meeting, and tracking my writing goals. I launched this blog.
I also wanted an audience and am thrilled beyond measure that three of my stories were published this fall. A fourth will be available in 2020. In different ways, their protagonists all struggle with the issue of voice. Not so coincidentally, protagonists in my current WIPs share similar dilemmas: What is the price of silence?
Short answer? More than I’m willing to pay.
So as 2019 drew to a close, I began to reflect and plan for 2020. I wondered, How can I continue to build on this year’s successes? What strategies can I employ to effectively mesh my writing and non-writing lives? And how can I wring every second out of my allotted 24 hours?
As I said in an earlier post, I can’t do everything. No one can, so why even try? Instead, I want to work toward my big picture writing goals, prioritize activities that get me closer to achieving them, and eliminate distractions.
One of my biggest distractions? Guilt. Nothing derails my best intentions faster than feeling guilty for not doing more. For saying, No. For not living up to other people’s expectations of what my life “should” look like.
I recently read Michael Simmons’ Medium article on business magnate and philanthropist Warren Buffett. According to Simmons, “Buffett is a master at ruthlessly prioritizing the few things that matter and cutting out everything else.” The article details Buffet’s lifelong strategies for success and provides a model for implementing them in readers’ lives as well. And guess what its core tenet is?
Step #1: “Kill the busy work.”
Check in soon for an update.
Until then–What’s your word? Post yours in the comments below and thanks for sharing!
(You can read Simmons’ entire article here: https://medium.com/accelerated-intelligence/warren-buffett-really-successful-people-say-no-to-almost-everything-ab78832ffebc
I highly recommend it!)