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1 resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative

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The thing that eludes you when you want to be it.

As of today, it’s been nearly three years since I wrote anything. Well, that’s not true. I’ve written about air conditionings. And hinged plastic boxes. I’ve waxed poetic about fire pits and patios, explained tension bushings and how to clean out a koi pond in the spring. I’ve enticed people to install new security cameras in their homes and to get their furnaces serviced in fall.

I haven’t met a character count I can’t conquer for the sake of one of my marketing clients, and there’s a certain amount of creative satisfaction in coming up with yet another way to use an empty plastic box.

But I really really love words and writing them, and I would really really love to write more of them in the pursuit of my own creative passions.

It’s just that most days I don’t have a story to tell. Not one that I want to use many, many words for, anyway. Not ones that I feel are worthy of putting into the world. So it becomes sort of a downward spiral of nothingness. No creativity means no stories, no stories means no words, no words means no creativity. And the spiral perpetuates itself.

It’s what Netflix binges were made for.

But then I happened upon perhaps a not-entirely-brilliant plan, but one that I experimented with for the month of December 2021 (that godforsaken year that followed the godforsaken year of 2020), and it felt nice. It felt, if not exactly creative, at least the stirrings of it. A little bit of something in the nothing.

The plan was: come up with one word each day to think about.

I tried daily gratitude (witness my ridiculously long post from 2019, and that was just January). I tried daily affirmations. I tried daily reflections. But the one-word project turned out to be challenging and interesting and fun, in a way that I wanted to do more of.

Now here we are, about to start a new year, and maybe it will be more of the same (Covid, anyone?) but I’m going to take it one word at a time.

So as of January 1, this is my project.

It’s an ambitious project for someone who has written nothing of consequence in almost three years, but I’m ready for it.

Are you ready to hear about it?

If not, I suppose this is where you click off and go watch Netflix, but if you’re still here, the plan is this.

Every day, come up with a single word to think about, to reflect on, to ponder and contemplate and expound upon in whatever way that means on any given day.

There are no rules. The words don’t have to be anything special. They don’t have to be things I will do or be or figure out. They don’t have to be positive or productive or meaningful. They can be random words that sound interesting, or something I need to fix, or something I never heard of.

They can be a way to improve myself, or someone else (a pursuit generally pointless and futile, but that doesn’t stop me from trying).

They can be a thing I appreciate, or something I’ve learned that very day. They can be things I love or hate, things I feel or wish I felt.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is the word, and how I choose to consider it on the day it’s chosen.

That’s all there is to it.

In the process, I will write about that word, why I’ve chosen it, and what it means or how it has affected my day, if it’s affected my day at all. Maybe the word will be gratitude. Or cupcake. Or excommunication, or go.

It’s meant to be fun, reflective, creative and just… words. Because I love them.

If you’re in the mood to join me, then come up with a word of your own, or use mine, or just read about them here. One way or another, 2022 has to be different than its two predecessors for the love of god, so maybe I can make that happen one word at a time.


**Update March 2023**

Word Project fail. I made it to nearly the end of March then derailed. Well, not totally. Just temporarily. Besides, it’s my project and I get to do it however I want. So it is no longer a 2022 project. It is simply a project. One in which I will endeavor to write something every day for an entire year. If things fall apart again in July, then next year I will pick up where I left off. If I have anything to say in between, then it will go into a different category, one for non-word-project thoughts.

It’s as simple as that.

If you were expecting an explanation or mea culpa, you are about to be sorely disappointed. I have lots of words to write about, and “explain” isn’t one of them.

Onward. To more and better things ahead.

**Update September 2023**

The Word Project continues. My goal remains to write something every day for a year, whether that is across a single year or ten. However, it is not precisely a Word Project anymore. It is, in fact, a Story Project.

The stories still revolve around a word, but sometimes it’s two words, or a phrase or an idea. Words are wonderful, but words in the service of story are transcendent.

I no longer start with a single word but with something I want to say. Or maybe nothing I want to say. I just start. Eventually, a word falls out. I have found this process to be far more fulfilling and meaningful, which is perhaps why I made it to September where last year I fizzled out in March.

If you’ve been along for the journey, I thank you. I know my words have touched a few, and perhaps there are more who will receive them with love or anger or entertainment or irritation or thoughtfulness or gratitude. As a writer, this is all I can hope for.

Photo: The 4th of July, 2021 from Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee.