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Dana’s One Little Word for 2014

Happy New Year from all of us at the Two Writing Teachers!

Have you chosen your One Little Word (OLW) for 2014 yet?  Which word will you live this year?  Which word will you invite into your life?  This week, each of us at the Two Writing Teachers will be revealing and sharing the story behind our One Little Word (except, of course, for Beth who is taking a temporary break from blogging while on maternity leave). We hope you enjoy, and we hope 2014 fills your life in ways you haven’t even imagined yet.  We invite you to please share your OLW in the comment section of the blog throughout the week!

In the past, I have heard people tell stories about how their OLW found them or suddenly revealed itself in their lives, almost from some divine inspiration.  I took these tales to heart and waited patiently for several weeks for my word to show up in my life.  But when the calendar page turned to December, I gave up the waiting and started a somewhat frantic search for my word.

I had been feeling overwhelmed.  Busy at work, busy blogging, busy being a mom, busy taking care of our house and our family, busy trying to maintain friendships and relationships in a busy world.  I had been feeling stressed and short on patience.  I had not been my best self.  Particularly, I had not been a very kind daughter or wife, often speaking with an edge in my voice to those I love the most.  I was tired, cranky, and oh so irritable.  So, I started searching for a word that would remind me to take a breath, to calm down, to relax.  I doodled in my writer’s notebook.


I kept an ongoing list on my Evernote app.


I liked all of these words.  I probably could have just chosen one, but I was feeling indecisive.  I kept looking.  I could not find my word.

Now, I am not a person who remembers my dreams all too often (I sleep like a rock).  However, one night I had this terrible dream that my Katie was trapped underwater.  It was horrible. Then, the very next night I had a dream that I lost my husband’s favorite possession underwater!  “What is with all the water?” I wondered.  I started thinking that maybe my dreams were a metaphor for the way I had been feeling… like I was drowning in the busy-ness of life, like I couldn’t get my head above water.  In that instant, my word found me:


Float.  This year will be the year that I learn to float.  To me, floating implies a certain steadiness, a calmness.  I picture myself floating in crystal blue waters, breathing in and breathing out.  Moving gently with the breeze.  Calm and steady.

I will float at work when I’m feeling there is just too much to do.  I will breathe.  I will slow down.  I will move with the breeze.  I will float at home when the kids are demanding and impatient.  Breathe, steady yourself, float.  I will float when I’m tempted to use harsh words with those I love.  My words will float from my mouth, not spill.

I shared my word with my husband, and I am so glad I did.  Sometimes, I might need a reminder.

Just a couple of days ago, we took a family trip to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis.  Traveling by car with two young children can be stressful.  We arrived at the hotel and made our way downstairs to the indoor pool.  I spent New Years Day floating, literally, with my family.  I knew I had chosen the right word.  (There may have been some splashing, also.)  The next day, I was trying not to be bothered by the impending blizzard, the incorrect GPS directions, the late arrival to the museum, and the crowds.  As we stood in the entrance to the museum, looking at the map, my husband recognized that familiar look of stress on my face.  “Let’s float through the museum, ok?” he asked.  And we did.


I started reading The Joy Diet by Martha Beck over winter break.  Guess what the first step to the diet is?  Do nothing for 15 minutes each and every day.  Do nothing.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Float.

I can’t know for sure what else the word ‘float’ will mean to me in 2014, but I do know that 2014 will be a calmer, steadier, float-ier year than 2013.

Please share your OLW in the comments!




Dana Murphy View All

Literacy Coach, Reader, Writer

33 thoughts on “Dana’s One Little Word for 2014 Leave a comment

    • I found it a little bit funny becuase at times I need to float too. I just had not found the word yet. I will… float … float and…. flooooattt………


  1. We are doing this school wide. I had hoped to paste a quick snapshot of the three walls that teachers are writing their OLW on privately. Words like, patience, light, live, and calm are already added.
    My own word is light.


  2. Love your story of your OLW. Your husband is a true supporter, too. Here’s to your OLW and floating every day even if it’s only for a short while each day!


  3. Dana,
    I love the vision of floating. I’m reading “One Thousand Gifts” right now. The author, Ann Voskamp, is a mom of six, a farmer’s wife, a home schooler. She wanted to slow herself down and started keeping a gratitude journal, with the goal of collecting a thousand moments. The book is really speaking to my heart, and reading your entry makes me wonder if you might enjoy it too. Happy New Year!


  4. Love your word Dana I have being thinking a lot too about changes I need to make to my year and decided rather than struggling every day to get through it i’m now going to ‘Float’ through my day. Try and enjoy my day instead of trying to get through it . I want my family to benefit and by the end of the year instead of feeling bad about how I spent my year around family and friend,s stressed and tired and just trying to please everyone. I want to look back and see how making small changes made huge differences.


  5. My word for 2014 is Forgive.
    Forgive others
    Forgive myself
    And move on, let go of what has been holding me back from feeling like my best most healthy, lighter, joyful self.
    2013 was crappy, letting go right now!


  6. Love hearing this, Dana. I’m posting tomorrow about my one little word, so won’t share, but your word is just lovely, and so fun that your husband remembered, too! Glad you had a nice few days around New Years Day!


  7. Dana, I loved reading your story of how your OLW found you. I also appreciate that your husband listened and already reminded you of your focus for this year. Float. Sounds dreamy. I have a word in mind, but not sure it is the right one…waiting for the sign, I guess.

    Happy new year and may you enjoy it in a “floaty” style!


  8. I love the process! And all of the “discarded” words- which simply by being written down will shimmer in your subconcious, are great too. I have to think about this OLW for a bit and decide on something…. it is January isn’t it? How did that happen?!


  9. Dana,
    I love how you and your word found each other. My word–joy–connects with your post. It comes from a similar place of being overwhelmed with too much. Thank you for sharing a book that I think I now want to read–THE JOY DIET sounds like just what I need.


  10. My word this year will be TRUTH! I’m releasing my second book this month, titled 18 Truths, and the more I thought about it, the more I wrote it from experience. I have trouble being brave enough to speak the truth, afraid people won’t like me, but it’s time I start being true to myself and my beliefs, and hopefully those around me can agree to disagree if they don’t share my POV 🙂 I like your choice of ‘float’ too!


  11. What a great journey to your word. I love how you shared your whole process. It took many of the wrong words to find the right one, and in a dream no less! Great choice and I hope you float all the way to December.


  12. I appreciate the way you shared your process for finding a word and deciding upon it. It seems like the perfect fit for how you want to live your life this-coming year.

    I look forward to hear how float suits you in 2014!


  13. I have a bothersome habit of picking up my phone in the middle of the night on my way to the bathroom. Just checking to see what I’ve missed while I was asleep! I’ve decided it’s not bothersome anymore after reading your post at about 3 a.m. today. I actually went back to bed thinking and dreaming about what my olw might be. I woke up some 2 or 5 hours later and I had it. TRY. That’s my olw for 2014. Thank you Dana!


  14. Dana,
    I love your process. It feels natural, just right. I’m seeing the stress created by problems just float away. I think it is interesting and quite lovely how we all gravitate toward words that we need.A sort of healing and restorative process.

    I was so concerned that my OLW not be just for my current moment, but one that would be a guiding light for the year. I played around with several words — first patience, then reflect, then balance, then possibility I finally came to WONDER. Wonder as in the question and wonder as in amazement.

    I would love to try to get my students to come up with words to guide them in their year. I’m WONDERING if anyone else has tried this.


  15. I love reading the stories about how words find others…sometimes quite unexpectedly! I wrote about mine last week and will expand in my slice tomorrow. Curious about the Indy Museum…are you from Indiana?


  16. What a beautiful post Dana! I love your analogies and the way you listened to yourself so carefully. I found it so helpful to read that you shared your OLW with your husband. Sharing our goals and hopes helps us remain focused on them. I will do the same!


  17. I love how fitting the word is to what you need in your life, more time to just be. I think of floating as a child in the swimming pool and looking up. I hope you can capture that childhood feeling of wonder while you float.

    My word is OPEN. Trying to be open to all things possible. When you get to be my age (50 something), you can get pretty set in your ways. I want to be open to whatever may be looking for me to find. I blogged about it in the form of a poem.


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