Monday, January 02, 2017

The Most Wordful Time of the Year

I hadn't planned to jump on the "word for the year" bandwagon which has been rumbling around for a few years; I've never been a resolution maker and am generally more of a symbol person than a word person (which you might think is ironic for a writer but I think it makes perfect sense; remind me to write some time about I sit at my desk looking at a pile of rocks and a jar of feathers and a pine cone shaped like a heart...)

Where was I?
Oh, yes, my word for 2017.
It came to me in a roundabout way, starting with a Vancouver writer blogging about her word for the next 365 days so I did a Google search to learn more. Then the idea worked its way into the opening of this week's Field Notes column, and it fit in perfectly with my sermon for church yesterday, which happened to be January 1st (it's a Christian church, friends, and we kinda have a whole thing going on about "the Word").
So some time on Saturday, while thinking ahead to what I'm working on this month and next, and what I'm jettisoning because it makes me distracted and unhappy, I said to my husband, "This year is all about focus."
And there you have it: a word for the year was born.
It's been in gestation for twenty years.
By focus, I mean "single-minded" as opposed to "being in". They are different concepts and in my case, I'm committing myself to the single-minded focus on my writing that I've never granted it before. What I've always wanted to do has always been totally in focus; not even a blurry edge. The problem was I couldn't see it, not because I'm near-sighted but because there were too many distractions keeping me from a clear sightline. Self-created distractions, which are the worst.
I mean, is this the reason I'm making noises about adding another cat to our household? The anxiety of starting something new makes me seek out distractions. 

Where was I?
Oh, yes, focus. It's my word for this year.And if you want it, it can be your word for 2017 as well. It's a friendly and open word, what with that big O sitting there like an embrace. What one project would you like to start, to work on, to complete? And what one thing can you do, what one thing (or person!) can you jettison, that would improve your focus?

Sometimes it helps to narrow the focus so let me share what Nova Scotia author Kate Inglis wrote in her latest newsletter: If you write 1,000 words a day, in three months, you will have 90,000 words. That's a book. For three months, all you have to do is write 4 double-spaced pages a day (and it's a first draft so it can be as shitty as it wants, no one will see it) and you will have a book. You will have written that story that's been bouncing around in your brain like a bee in your bonnet, like ants in your pants, like a stone in your shoe. You will have built your hive, your hill, emptied your soul.
Please tell me you got that.
Find your FOCUS, my darling dreamers, and make 2017 the year you rid your body of those flitting, wriggling, poking ideas that are driving you crazy. Because there's enough crazy in world right now -- we need more hearts to sing.

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