I don’t always choose a word for the year. Sometimes a word or theme reveals itself to me through the year, and in other years I have set a word and forgotten about it.
This coming year I want to consciously direct things more (in 2022 I went with the flow a bit too often and it caused me a great many inconveniences which I would prefer not to repeat in the coming year).
It’s a directive in that it reminds me that my priority is to engage with the act of writing. Plus it encourages me to embrace the writing life.
Over the years I’ve resisted writing and the writing life for many reasons. Some have included;
✎ being ungrounded in my body which made it difficult to sit quietly and/or focus for long stretches of time (ongoing work on healing trauma + moving to an introverted city helped enormously with this),
✎ a notion I picked up – who knows where – that the story I had to tell first and foremost was ‘my story’ and therefore I had to be willing to sit with trauma and relay it in my writing and really rake myself over the coals in order to get me to the point where I could write about other things (as it turns out, that’s a false notion and by spending more time focused on healing work, I’m now in a place where the big traumas in my life don’t loom so large. This, in turn, has freed up my voice to speak about other things. Hurray!)
✎ imposter syndrome (years at law school + writing a philosophy thesis had the opposite effect to what you might think. It made me less confident of my own intelligence rather than more so. Surrounded by really impressive thinkers still has me doubting that I have anything really useful or important to say or that I know anything at all…)
✎ limiting beliefs around whether it’s really worth putting time into writing a book (being so aware as I am of both how much time it takes to write a book, how many books get written every year, and therefore, how likely it is for a book to gain traction in the market).
In deciding on the word ‘write’ for 2023, I found a few definitions that I particularly like:
(1) to set down in writing
(2) to be the author of:
: to compose in musical form
: to express in literary form
: to communicate by letter
: to use or exhibit (a specific script, language, or literary form or style) in writing
: to write contracts or orders for
: to make a permanent impression of
: to communicate with in writing.
Just the process of finding this definition has been helpful. It has reminded me that I’ve been writing all my life and in fact, have written tens of thousands of words every year since I started university back in 1992.
So the act of naming a word, and then investigating it, has shown me that I don’t actually have any resistance to the act of writing itself. It’s the form of writing that presents a problem. Books specifically. This, despite the fact that I wrote and self published a couple of short books a few years ago on how to run a yoga retreat at home. Plus I wrote a WHOLE LOT of words this year on how to prepare your visibility strategy. The visibility strategy work has ended up as a course because that ended up being the best form for the concepts and for ease of consumption by the user. And knowing how to match words with form, I realise now, is actually something to be extremely proud of, not something to judge because ‘it’s not a book’ (a very boring story I’m now 100% ready to dump).
When I investigate my resistance further, there’s also my enneagram 7 resistance to choosing, to containment and confinement, to having options taken from me. The container of a book feels immense, like I’ll lose my thread and myself half way through, like I’ll get bored and want out before the job is done.
Which brings me full circle to why I’ve chosen ‘write’ in the first place. Because at this point in my life, I’m more interested in having a few longer term projects to immerse myself in than I am in whole handfuls of short term projects.
And big projects carry the risk of all of these things happening; losing inspiration, becoming bored, losing our sense of direction and purpose, losing ourselves in the project.
So writing out my reasons for choosing my visibility word for 2023 shows me what I actually need to focus on;
✎ dropping the story that I don’t like writing
✎ valuing the writing I do every. single. day
✎ supporting myself in the process of committing to a big task.
And this, in and of itself, is why I love the act of making things visible. I love the process of revealing truths to myself. Of allowing myself to really see my motivations, my stories, my fears, and the world around me.
Which makes the practise of choosing a visibility word for the year so much more valuable than it might otherwise appear. By inviting me to a form of self inquiry I would not otherwise take, it opens a door for me. And that feels like a perfect way to start a new year.
A few notes about settling on a visibility word for 2023;
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