As a writer, the idea of designating one word for the New Year, in lieu of resolutions, appeals to me. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been a bit lackadaisical when it comes to actually making those resolutions (not to mention keeping). 

Writers are wordsmiths and so it seems all the more appropriate. But wait. How does a writer select just one word for a whole year when there are myriad beautiful words floating around out there for the picking? Here are seven suggestions:

1) PRAY: After Christmas, I began tumbling words in my brain. I wasn’t sure how I would spot “my word”.  I wanted something with a ring to it. Maybe something catchy. Pretty, musical, a poetic word, I hoped. New Year’s Day arrived and I still didn’t have my word. Every time I gave it some consideration the word “return” popped into my mind. What kind of “word for the year” is that?  

As the end of January approached, I despaired of finding my word. And then I did what I always do when I feel hopeless: I prayed. I read my Bible. Of course, the answer I received was my word was there all of the time. And the lesson well learned? Don’t wait until you are discouraged to RETURN to our heavenly Father. 

2) USE IT: Once you know your word, use it. At least once a day. Include it in your prayer time and if by the end of the day you find you have not used your word try to think of as many ways it fits into a sentence. A favorite of mine is to write a short story, one paragraph long, using my word as many times as I can. How refreshing to give yourself permission to break the rules! 

3) SHARE: Don’t be afraid to tell people what your word is. You don’t really have to know how your word applies to you. Part of the fun is finding out why the word is “your word”. You will find your friends are curious about your progress and provide motivation to continually strive to decipher the meaning of the word in your life. 

4) REFLECT: At the end of each month, think about how the word worked in your life. Or didn’t. Ask yourself questions. Does it have a different meaning for you than it did at the beginning of the month? Did it make a difference in your life? In what way? Does it make you view your world, your writing, your family and friends in a new way? In a positive way? Great! If not, why not? What can you do to change that? 

5) REVISE: Begin each month afresh. Be flexible in your interpretation of your word and what it should mean in your life. That is the power of a word. It will not always mean the same thing to different people. And it won’t always mean the same thing to you. 

6) BE OPEN: This is so much more than being flexible. Embrace the possibilities. It’s amazing how much one little word can mean to you when you open your arms wide and let it flow over you. Sing it, shout it, whisper your word. Think musically, think poetically, draw your story out. Express your word in a way that really moves you. 

7) RETURN: This is your chance to shrug off those resolutions that frequently cause so much regret by the end of January and live your word. Then RETURN often with prayers of thankfulness and give the glory to God.  

I can’t wait to see how my word RETURN directs my life next month! Returning to my roots come to mind. Hmmm, I write historical romance, so maybe. And I really look forward to finding the meaning of RETURN this December. I can’t wait!

What is your word for 2012?

Rebecca DeMarino is a retired United Airlines Service Director and worked as an Office Manager at the Natasha Kern Literary Agency from March, 2008 until September, 2010. She currently works part-time as a Carnival Cruise Line representative from her home office. She recently signed with literary agent Barbara Scott with WordServe Literary.


  1. Rebecca, this is the first year that I’ve gotten a “word.” It’s BALANCE. I knew the first time it dropped into my heart that I need to balance my work life with my spiritual and home life so that I stay healthy and my husband need not worry about me driving myself into the ground. I tend to be a workaholic, so it’s been tough for me to set boundaries and balance out my life. When you think of me, say a prayer that I will serve my authors with honor, integrity, and diligence, but that I remember the word “balance.”

    1. I like your word! It’s something we need in our lives, but so easy to overlook! Your in my prayers!

  2. I think my word for this year is “trust.”

    Authors have so much to worry about: writing, marketing, editing, social media, etc. It would be so easy to focus on not having the things other authors have (photo skills, PR agencies, technical skills, etc). Instead, I completely trust my book is God’s book so he knows the right people to connect me with where I lack. As I’ve made this my attitude in just the last month I’ve seen so many God-incidences. He is faithful.

  3. I really appreciate the challenge to think of a word for 2012. God gave me a verse(s): “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” Heb. 12:12,13 ESV

    With that in mind,
    is my word.

  4. I read earlier in another blog about choosing one word as a resolution for the New Year. After much pondering, I chose the word “diligent” which impacts many of my activities. It has been in use throughout this month and I hope to continue to use this word to motivate my life into a conscious decision of how I daily live my life.

  5. This is the first year I’ve used the one word strategy, Rebecca, and I love it. My word is ORGANIZE, and goes much further than organizing things around the house. I work at organizing my thoughts for the day, I visit that place a few times a day. I’ve always been a pantser and am working at organizing my writing plan each day without being a true outliner, this has been difficult. And I’ve been organizing what I call my personal self-management, which includes saying no without guilt, and setting boundries that help me stay focused. It’s working. I like your idea of reflecting about the word and how it’s influenced our month. Perfect timing. 🙂

  6. Love this post. So many different groups of people have taken on the one word for the year that there is a real sense of community in sharing across groups. I have a different approach that may interest or supplement the word. As a Master Facilitator I got an affiliate site on 11-11-11 so you can go to and get a daily/weekly/as needed word from the Virtues Project ( a multi-cultural/multi-faith global project). Just click on A Virtues Pick on the RHS. If you go to the tab for Personal Life at the top you will get a 5 Card Spread and explanations for it. Last year I used the 18th of each month to take the time to reflect on the past month – prepare for the next month and appreciate the NOW of that day. I intended to change the date for 2012 but when I ended up with a specialist appointment I stayed with it – and yes I need to have a hip replacement for my 14 year old hip so it WAS the right day to review and prepare. My words – Reliability -Courtesy -Modesty -Serenity – Honour. I wonder what February will hold for me?

  7. This was the first year I sought God for a word. Toward the end of December, this was the word I received…INTENTIONAL. It has been interesting to discover the many different areas in my life that God is working this in. Intentional about my writing goals…intentional about my marriage…intentional about my creative pursuits…intentional about my parenting…I could go on.

  8. Hi Rebecca, Thank you for this post on how to “live” my word this year!
    My word is JOY. It was my privilege to fill in for a pastor the second week of January and share JOY with the congregation. Preparing for that “talk” (I don’t do sermons!) really helped me get a handle on what JOY was all about. The next week my father had unexpected surgery and my mother had a stroke, and I was so glad that God had given me JOY to help me get through.

    1. My dad had a major stroke almost two years ago, so I can feel what you are going through. It’s been been a long recovery for him, but at 88 years old, he is living by himself on his 100 acre ranch, taking care of himself, his horse and finishing his first novel – a western romance! So, I’m hear to tell you recovery is possible! He started his book before the stroke and that is the thing that keeps him going! Isn’t it amazing how God brings us comfort in the storm? Thank you for sharing! You and your parents are in my prayers!

  9. My word this year is focus. I have so many projects going that instead of scurring around trying to get it all done at once, I really need to focus on each one then move on to the next. One of my projects is setting up a writing blog which I named….MY WORD…hmmm. Thanks for your post!

    1. My OneWord 2011 was “focus.” My first “Word” for last year on the subject was “Seek first the kingdom of God …” (Matt. 6:33). Great word!

  10. Thanks for sharing, Rebecca! And it’s fun to hear everybody’s words here. Mine is “shine” and “unashamed” since they kind of go together. Those words help remind me that there’s only one person we need to impress, and that’s God.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: