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2019's Word(s) of the Year: Live Deliberately

This was not my intended motto for this year. When I started thinking about what I wanted to focus on in 2019, the words that came to mind were "Risk It." I have big plans this year: I'm on sabbatical from my day job until June, I'm teaching at an international writing conference in Mexico in February, I'm trying some very different things with my get the idea. There's a lot of risks ahead to embrace.

Then the Universe sent me a bunch of messages that caused me to rethink everything:

I received a Christmas card from my friend Shelagh, and enclosed were some faux tattoos containing phrases from Henry David Thoreau. Pretty cool, right? I tucked them away, figuring I'd find something fun to do with them. Next, I read an article about how the state parks all around the country have a First Day Hikes program, where they host nature walks on January 1st. It going to be a scarily balmy 56 degrees on New Year's, so this seemed like a great way to start the year. The closest one to me? Walden Pond.


My daughter and I got ready to go, and I remembered the tattoos. We were running a little late, and I fumbled through the choices. She grabbed "wild and free," and the one I kept coming back too? "Live deliberately." I stuck it on my arm and off we went.

Listening to the guides talk about Thoreau, whom I've read and taught in classes, reminded me again about his commitment to not only living simply, but within his moral code and with integrity. The full quote that my tattoo pulls from is: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

Of course it was printed on the biggest sign at the park.

How could I "risk it" when over and over I was being told to live deliberately? "Live deliberately" felt right. So that's what this year is going to be about. And the more I thought about it, living deliberately does not mean living without risk. To me, it means making choices that are thoughtful and proactive. Here's how I'm going to do that: Writing: I am over halfway through a draft of a MG novel, so I want to finish that. I have several picture book ideas that I want to explore, plus a YA that's been teasing me for 17 years. This is the year it gets drafted. Plus, I'm working with a co-writer on some projects that are outside of the kid lit realm that are super exciting. More on those soon! Lastly, SECRETS OF A FANGIRL releases in May. Making conscious choices about using my time is going to be paramount to getting this work done.

Reading: Same as 2018, I'm centering my reading on writers of color and Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge. Aiming for 60% of my reading to be writers of color.

Health: I am going to make breathing/meditation and more activity my focus. Although I eat really well, my activity level suffers when my workload gets too high. Making a deliberate effort to prioritize my health in 2019.

Family: I'm keeping up with the "take the kids someplace new every month" that I've done for the past three years. This year I've identified some adventures and already plugged them in to the calendar, to make sure we get there. The kids are also really into board games now, so I want to do a board game night a couple of times a month.

Financial: Husband and I set some new goals this year, and we need to make conscious choices in order to meet them. So this is a continuation of the focus we put on our finances for the last two years.

Politically: Continue to stay engaged and invested. I'm excited to see what comes with the women in Congress, and I look forward to being engaged and supporting them.

Looks do-able, doesn't it? Oh--one more thing: as I was preparing this post, I went back and looked at the words I'd chosen for the past six years. In 2014, my motto was "Be Deliberate." This is is a full-circle year, friends. I can't wait to see what it brings.

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