olw · One Little Word (OLW)

Betsy’s OLW for 2018

Starting the first of January, we began revealing our One Little Word posts each day here on Two Writing Teachers. I have enjoyed reading and commenting on each of my co-authors’ posts knowing how difficult it can be to choose a word to guide you. I usually start thinking about my OLW sometime in November as I conclude my final reflections on the word from the current year. Then December comes and I start writing them down or listing them somewhere in a document or on my phone so I don’t forget in case I think I have found the right one. The funny thing is, just as many of my co-authors have experienced, your word doesn’t let you forget about it. Your word creeps into your everyday dreams and noticings. It doesn’t just flee because if it did, it wasn’t your word, to begin with. However, knowing all of this, I go through the same patterns of behavior, understanding full well that whatever the word decides to be, it will feel right.

This year, of course, was no different. My first idea was the word Pause. I thought it was too similar to some of my previous words, so I wasn’t sure it would actually push me to grow. I spun around the word Real because I thought maybe trying to put an authentic lens on moments would help me evaluate them in a less emotional way and in a more realistic way. Then I realized, there is no taming my emotions when I am passionate about something, and really, I don’t want to tame them. It’s kind of who I am. Absolute seemed like a good word, a “no limits” kind of word. However, I already find opportunities to step out of my comfort zone, within reason. Maybe next year I’ll feel differently.

As 2017 was coming to a close I was thinking about what a year we had as a family and all the people who helped in so many different ways. At the time, when our lives were changing and unpredictable, I wanted so badly to thank everyone I could in a personal way but I was too overwhelmed with grief to even take one step toward being thoughtful toward someone other than my immediate family. I began to think that maybe in 2018 I would try to pay more attention to those who are thoughtful, even in the smallest way. It can be so easy to see all that isn’t going well around us and all any of us really want is to be seen. To be important enough. To feel noticed. What if I tried to notice the small victories that occur around me in a more intentional way and wrote a note of acknowledgment. What if I tried a little harder to note the good and recognize it with a kind word.

On SOL Tuesday, Kathleen shared a video of Amy Krouse Rosenthal that cemented the idea a little more firmly. Amy’s seven-word phrase: “Make the most of your time here,” engages my thoughts every time I hear it. I began to watch the video and was reminded of the seven-words and the connection to the seven notes on a staff.


Hmm, note. Yep, I had my word for sure. A word that would challenge me to find the good among the many mixes of things throughout my days and weeks. A word to help me recognize the noticings and validate those creating and making the most of their time here. Sometimes we just need someone to notice our effort to help us realize the work of living, the will to love, the gifts we can offer are all worth the work.

It makes a difference.

It is bigger than us.

It’s worthy of a note. 



  • This giveaway is for Ali Edwards’ One Little Word® 2018 Workshop. Many thanks to Ali Edwards Design Inc. for donating this workshop.

  • For a chance to win this copy of the One Little Word® 2018 Workshop, please leave a comment on any (or all) of our team members OLW blog posts by Sunday, January 7th, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Stacey Shubitz will use a random number generator to pick the winner, whose names she will announce on the Two Writing Teachers Facebook page by Tuesday, January 9th.

  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so Stacey can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, our contact at Ali Edwards Design Inc. will provide you with a code for the One Little Word® 2018 Workshop. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)

  • If you are the winner of this workshop, Stacey will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – OLW. Please respond to Stacey’s e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.


18 thoughts on “Betsy’s OLW for 2018

  1. I don’t mean to plagiarize or steal another’s idea but I’ve been pondering long and hard for a word and had wanted it to be something to do with awareness and focus. A wisdom to notice what is around or in need of attention. I think “notice” is the word for me. Thanks so much for posting. I can now start noticing and stop fretting over what word to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I tried so hard to keep from changing my OLW by not reading any of the blog posts about one little words for nearly two weeks until I was ready to write my blog. Alas from two different paths we chose the same word for almost the same reason. I put that quote from Mary Oliver up above my desk. Here’s to noticing the best things during this next year. Your word mate.


  3. Just wanted to say how much I love the graphic you chose to represent your word and the quote by Mary Oliver. I’m currently luxuriating in a book of her poetry. “Note” is simple but powerful, indeed – implying careful attention to each moment, staying in tune with all that’s around us.


  4. Wow! I also loved how you found your word. You’ve definitely given me something to think about as I ponder my one word for this year. Thanks so much for sharing! Your graphic was also “noteworthy” as well.


  5. I loved reading about your path to finding your word Betsy. It’s such a versatile word too- can’t wait to find out (hopefully you and others will share this year on the blog) where it takes you. Happy New Year.


  6. What a wonderful, simple, yet profound word. I want to write a poem a day and in that way make note. I think living in the present is important, but when we make note and notice, our world is richer.


  7. I’ve loved reading everyone’s posts and the words that they have chosen. I’m still trying my word on for size. Thank you for sharing.


  8. I love your word and the process of getting there. It is funny how when a word is really meant to be ours for the year, it just keeps hanging around 🙂


  9. Enjoyed reading about how you came up with your word. My OLW is Present. Living in the present moment will be my focus this year.


    1. I think so. Something I have always wanted to do better and maybe making a commitment in this way will make it a little easier to do. It also means I must (twist my arm) get some little cards, stationery, and notepads so I can be prepared! 🙂


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