But what? Why?
What word - how could I pin down all of my aspirations, hopes, dreams, plans and focus into just one word when it presently looks more like the abstract to a twenty thousand word thesis? That was the point. Condense, refine and analyse -- what do I really want 2017 to look like.
Why choose a word in the first place? My head is like a computer with twenty different browsers open all the time - and most of the time, that's fine, it's exciting and it's energy. It allows me to skip from one task to another with ease and efficiency--- but sometimes, that's not fine, sometimes it can lead to a massive crash and feelings of being overwhelmed and having a word - just a single word that reminds me of my true focus of my true goal is like having a reboot and recovery button all in one. It stops all the words and gives me the answer that I need.
So what is my word for 2017 - It may seem random on the surface but it's a word that has been so carefully selected; a word designed to create a magic sense of soothing calm amongst all the creative turbulence - and my word of the year is....
Tend: To care or look after; to give one's attention to.
Why the word Tend? Okay, so it's not the most exciting of words - but it really does sum up what my main focus for 2017. Last year was a year of innovation, of change and of creation. Some amazing opportunities came up which will come to fruition this year. I underwent a complete rebrand, released several books and sowed the seeds for a lot of projects.
It's tempting when goal setting to fall into the mistake that goals have to always be out there pushing the boundaries, being all shiny and new, that in order to make progress, you have to accumulate more opportunities, more contacts, more projects -- more, more, more ---- but the revelation that I have come to (after hours and hours and hours of insomnia) is that this year isn't about moving forward, it's about moving within. It's not about accumulating new networks, projects, friends, colleagues, readers - it's about nurturing, tending to the ones that I already have.
I am blessed. I have everything I need in the present to grow something beautiful. I have 9 books out, each of which I love, but perhaps need a little care and nurture in light of the Katie M. John author-thing evolving. I have an amazing network of author friends, who I really want to give my attention to. I want to champion their new releases and spread the word about their work, rather than looking to expand my circle ever bigger and losing touch with those who mean so much to me. I have an incredible conference planned for August, and it's not about scale and glory, it's about gathering and tribe and sharing.
I am involved in several writing projects, which are fun and clever and a great way to give to my readers and to organically reach new ones. I am building a newsletter for my fan base who have supported me over the years. It's a way for me to pay back into that relationship - to nurture that precious relationship between storyteller and listener.
Tend is also a word that reaches beyond my book world into my family world. I am blessed to have two daughters who are growing at twice the speed of light - and it's easy to become absorbed in stories and risk missing the greatest story of them all; that of my daughter's childhood. They are now approaching nine and five.
But TEND is also a word that applies to self. To tend oneself or in easier terms #SelfCare. Self care isn't about being selfish, but for someone who feels so deeply when others' suffer, and who feels the urge to fix things - all of the time - the idea of paying attention to oneself is really important, and one of the hardest things to actually work. I'm a great believer in meditation and mindfulness and need to ensure that this is going to become a natural part of each of my days --- that and the dreaded exercise.
So yes, the word of the year is TEND and I'd love to hear yours and why you have chosen it.