The Celtic year ends on Halloween/Samhain, so November 1 is my New Year’s Day. (Although I celebrate the other one as well because hey, any excuse for a celebration!) And for at least five years now, I’ve been picking a word for my year. Something I want to take in, to embrace, to expand into my life. It’s generally geared towards my career, but usually applies to other areas of my life as well. Previous words have included Joy, Focus, Create, and last year’s Trust.
Trust ended up having a profound effect. I first started thinking about it at the annual publishing summit Master Class I go to most every year on the Oregon Coast. It’s a week of intense learning about making a living as a writer and keeping up with the whiplash-inducing changes that are happening in the publishing world nearly every day. I realized at the workshop last year that I was letting fear hold me back in a lot of areas. If something seemed “too hard” or “too much to learn,” I never let it rise to the top of my To Do list—and that clearly had to stop. Avoidance is not the way to success.
It took me a while to find the right word. I knew I wanted to opposite of Fear, but Courage wasn’t right, nor Fearless (which hides the negative in the positive), nor Bravery. I actually found Trust by looking at thesaurus.com on November 1, after a Samhain ritual the night before where we talked about what I was trying to embody, and brought it in as best I could.
I told a writer/publisher friend about Trust, and a few weeks later, a surprise showed up in the mail for me: she’d made me a ring that said Trust. I started wearing it every day. Alas, one day it disappeared (no idea how), but I ordered myself one from Etsy, and now I wear that every day.
I trusted myself to have the skills to figure difficult things out. I trusted the smart, savvy people around me to help me when I asked for assistance or explanation. I trusted my subconscious, my creative core. So many things stopped being scary, and started being fun—and surprisingly easy once I got out of my own way.
This year’s word hit me like a cosmic two-by-four a month or so ago, although in the wrong form at first. And since then, the universe has been showing me again and again that it’s the right word at the right time. It’s absolutely what I need.
I thought it would be Challenge, but I realized I might be inviting the universe to throw challenges in my way, and that’s not what I meant at all. I wanted to challenge myself. Not necessarily big challenges, but little ones, too. It might be challenging myself to write an especially high number of words on a day when I don’t have any freelance work. It might be challenging myself to try something new (now that Trust is firmly engrained).
Since Challenge wasn’t quite it, I meditated some more, and it came to me: Dare. Not only to be daring, but to dare myself. Big dares, little dares, double-dog dares if it comes to that. In August, to reboot myself after a few months of a mini-depression, I dared myself to write a minimum of 500 words a day. I wouldn’t go to bed until I’d done them. At the end of the month, I had a nice chunk of words. That was my first cosmic two-by four. There were more to come at this year’s Master Class.
In this spirit of that, I’m not exactly doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but I’m doing my own personal dare version. I have two novels to finish (one coauthored, one solo), as well as a novella, and other projects if I can get to them. In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I’m gunning for 50K words this month.
This will be a challenge, because my mom’s still in town until Saturday morning, I’ve got three days of Orycon plus a friend coming early to help me with website stuff, and I’ve got a slew of freelance work on the schedule. But I also wrote 1200 words on several of the days at the Master Class, in between sessions, and 500+ on a couple other days, so I know I can get words out even when I’m busy—and I know that I’ll have days when I get fewer words written than the average, so I’ll just have to have days where I write more.
I won’t be posting all my dares throughout the year, but I’ll talk about them on and off, if anyone’s interested. Just be prepared to see more words, more projects, and more fun. I dare you!
(The image above is of the necklace I’m waiting to arrive from Etsy…)