Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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January 1, 2024

One Word to Guide Your Writing Journey in 2024

Illustration of the top quarter of a compass with a royal blue face and a silver gray compass symbol in the center. Instead of the cardinal directions, the top of the compass reads 2024. The tip of the directional arrow is bright red and points to the 2024.

Every year here at Writers In the Storm, we picture one word to guide us through the coming year. It might be an action or a belief or a philosophy. Below are our words. We hope you will share yours with us in the comments!

My word for 2024: Observe

Years ago, I was given some wonderful advice, along with a homework assignment from my eighth-grade history teacher, Mr. Morrissey. I remember his name! This is because he made an immense, positive difference in my life with a few statements.

He asked the student sitting behind me, “What color are Miss Lucey’s eyes?” She guessed incorrectly after seeing me five days per week for six years. Amazing.

Anyway, my household was troubled and chaotic. Since I was pretty much ignored at home, having a teacher pay attention to me in a positive manner touched my heart.

For homework he said, “On your way home from school, look for something out of the way and observe it’s beauty.” We didn’t have to write anything down and hand the assignment in, it was just for our benefit.

To this day I try to be observant, and find beauty in the unexpected.

Cheers!

My word for 2024: Lessons

Yesterday, I was doing one of those word search puzzles where the first four words that jump out at you are the ones to pay attention to in the coming year. While I usually give no credence to that sort of thing, these words exactly fit my recent life. My words in order were: family, change, lesson, creation. Obviously, coming off a year of cancer, I've had a lot of the first two in 2023. But it was the last two I pondered.

I've come to believe that the gift to be derived from cancer is the lessons. Overcoming fear. Patience. Gratitude. Believing in kindness. Giving back. Seizing the day - every day. Everything else comes from these things. So, for 2024, I am focusing on the lessons and seeing where they lead me.

Image of a male hand writing on a see through planning board with the words "plan A" and "plan b" crossed out and plan c underlined.

My word for 2024: Pivot

The year 2023 was full of new experiences for me. I found a new publishing adventure and tried public speaking. I wrestled with technology and iterated my writing business, setting up automations and taking them down. And there have been many challenges as I have tried new ways to sell my books, with each iteration of my writing system leading to twice as many questions as I had before.

What? More questions than before? This means we don't ever get it all figured out? *shaking tiny fist* Darn.

More questions, more confusion, more complex systems to understand, all to tell a good story. And I don't feel alone. It seemed like many of our readers, and contributors here at WITS have had similar experiences recently.

Change is inevitable, so having the ability to PIVOT is paramount to finding success and satisfaction in our writing. Whether it is pivoting through paragraphs or strategizing my social media, I need to remain flexible and willing to change aspects of my writing career. And I wish this for each of you as well.

My word for 2024: Adapt

I live in the space between creativity and technology. With the introduction of AI, this entire space looks like the inside of Dorothy's tornado. Fundamental truths are mostly staying the same (connect with your fans!) but everything else in the space is whirling and twisting.

I'm experimenting and exploring. As each new tool comes out, there is a tiny part of me that says, "you're too old for this...." So I must constantly remind myself to adapt! Explore! Have fun! Find new ways of doing things, while protecting my creative heart and that of my students and clients. 2024 is going to be an adventure.

My word for 2024: Intentional

There is no one way up this mountain we call being an author. It can be difficult and draining and incredibly rewarding. In the past, I have used intuition and faith and perseverance to get to where I am but I want to move to the next level.

Intentional means done by design. It doesn’t mean ignore all intuition or joy. During 2024, I will make intentional choices that include intuition, joy, and peace and I will embrace the data that will help me make intentional business decisions on this year’s journey. Intentional decisions will help me climb this part of my mountain.

* * * * * *

Image Credits

Top image purchased from DepositPhotos.

Second Image by 742680 from Pixabay

Last Image by Image by Anja from Pixabay

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45 comments on “One Word to Guide Your Writing Journey in 2024”

  1. FOCUS - I have had things to do that simply had to be done, and, with very little energy, never got my plotting for LIMBO finished.

    But the IRS deadlines are met, we're almost up to date, and I'm not taking anything else on but finishing the plotting. After that, I can work in tiny pieces.

    Not fair of me, even if chronically ill, not to do what I could for our paperwork, but it cost more than I can explain to pick up the slack, and I can take a breather now, and do this concentrated step in my process FIRST again.

    1. Alicia limitations to our energy is real and the things that must be done easily can sap what little we have. I'm glad you've gotten past the things that consumed your energy and look forward to focusing on your plotting and writing again.

    1. Happy New Year, V.M.! Thank you. Your word is pretty amazing also. There are so very many things that pull at our attention these days. I know you'll use that word wisely throughout the coming year.

  2. I love this. I've picked a word for several years now. Don't want a repeat. This year I've picked STRETCH. I will look to s-t-r-e-t-c-h in all ways. Physically and in each of my various endeavors.

    1. Stretching is a quiet gift. It sneaks up on you in terms of progress. I am going through occupational therapy right now post-surgery and literally all we do is stretch. Rub the scar. Stretch some more. Somehow, after a month, the improvement was pretty amazing.

  3. My word is Perseverance. With all that life throws at you, sometimes you just have to grit your teeth, put your head down, and bulldoze your way through the brick walls the world builds in your way.

  4. Happy New Year, Lynn and everyone here at Writers in the Storm!

    My word is EMBRACE—I want, even more than before, to embrace all aspects of my writing. This means embracing the joy and fun in my creative process. It also means embracing the struggle that is at the heart of the writing process, the uncertainty, the sense I can’t make this work which often comes in the middle of a draft or a revision, embrace that, and work through it. Embrace the work, and embrace the connection through my characters and their stories to my reader self.

  5. These are all great words to guide 2024. I’m going for ‘thoughtful.’ 2023 was great- complete with copyediting and indexing the manuscript for The Grim Reader. But launching the book in January and marketing it afterward will require a thoughtful approach for the upcoming months. I’m also approaching my new fantasy manuscript with an eye toward thoughtfully planning my writing days better, whereas previously it has been a ‘write when you can’ plan. Happy New Year!

  6. Persist
    I've survived cancer and 9/11 and nothing can hold me back from my literary agenda, which holds many historical suspense novels.
    Happy New Year to all, especially Jenny. I support you 100%.
    Joan Ramirez

  7. Happy New Year to all of you here at WITS! Y'all are so dear to me, and I am wishing you a glorious 2024, filled with joy and accomplishment.

    Remember...sometimes just getting through something is an accomplishment, so celebrate yourself accordingly. 🙂

  8. Two words: SIMPLICITY and WONDER;
    I need to work at simplicity by decluttering, choosing simple and direct over complicated and chaos. In addition I need to take in all of God’s wonder in creation.

  9. I’m grateful to all of you Writers in the Storm for sharing your wisdom and experience all year long. My word this year captures a lot of feeling in three letters: AWE

    1. Awe is a powerful word, Chris. It has many awesome uses. Thanks for sharing. If you are comfortable sharing a little more, I'm curious to know how you plan to use it as your guide for this new year.

      1. Thanks for asking, Lynette. I’m a novice at this, but my intent is to use awe as a springboard to get into the flow. For me, awe incorporates wonder and gratitude and humility. Last year I worked with manna as a reminder that there’s always enough,(inspiration, story, time) but it’s important to go out and gather what you need every day.

  10. I love reading everyone's words! My own word for 2024 is WHATEV (as in Whatever; I borrowed the shorter version from my nieces). And while I know that sounds like I don't care, it's actually the opposite for me.

    In mid-2023, I finished a year's worth of treatment for inoperable lung cancer. I'm doing well right now, but of course I know that can change, although hopefully, I'll stay stable. One of the gifts cancer gave me was a clarity as to what's most important to me — and to make the most of what I can do, not mourn what I can't do.

    If I can't travel to all the places in the world I wanted to see, whatev; I'll enjoy traveling with my husband to closer places, and we'll have fun as long as we're together. If I never finish another novel, whatev; I can enjoy and tinker with the ones I HAVE written. If I never get published, whatev; I can still write for the love of writing itself.

    I'm not done striving, by any means, but I've become more selective in what I strive for these days.

    1. Cancer sure does clarify thing. Fist bump to you, Linda, for stabilizing and getting through. WHATEVER you choose to spend your time and energy on is going to be amazing.

  11. My word for 2024 is "Nuts."

    I already knew it was nuts when I was young to expect having a stellar career writing books. So, late in life, when I finally gave myself permission to make a second attempt at a career in writing, there was even less question I was nuts to try.

    However, writing is my first and longest love and I've learned and improved my craft considerably over the past eight years... to the point where I'd be nuts to quit and go nuts without it.

    So, now I say "Nuts" to anyone who thinks I'm wasting my time. I wasted over 45 years I could've been learning and refining my skills. I'm not wasting another minute, and I'll pick up whatever additional skills I need to get my stories out there. Life is too short to let waste away.

  12. Best wishes for the new year. I like Ellen's word: observe. Not just observe what is around me, but notice how what I see makes me feel. I want to especially observe what my focus is in my painting and in what I want to get across when I write.

    I want to fine tune my observations so that when I complete a project, I've accomplished why I started it in the first place. I was finding that some of my paintings, were lacking and I didn't know why. (I'd gotten caught up in all that I saw, I didn't focus on what drew me to paint in the first place.)

    I've come close to finishing the draft on my first "teen" book, and although I am pleased with my work, I find it was easy to get caught up in the lives of my characters and loose some of my focus as to my original purpose for the book. (It is lacking.)

    I"ve been thinking about this lately. Nice to have a word to define it.

    1. Congratulations to you, Barbara. You have finished creative endeavors and have observed what they brought you. Everything you wrote in your comment is a win in my book!

  13. My word for this new season is: Release

    I am fighting my way out of the pit of writer's block, much of which is immersed in negative voices from my past. My journal on the 30 December 2023 reads:

    It's a new season, mourn the passing of the old, then bid it farewell, to remember it fondly, and move on. I sat on a familiar beach in November last year, listening to the past, allowing it to be examined. The laughter and tears of those years are a faint echo in the shushing of the waves, the seagulls, the whales, who all carry on as if none of that tumult ever happened. Time to let go, to walk into my destiny with confidence.

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