There are moments in life when we know the choice we are making isn’t going to make life any easier. Sometimes these are small choices — I’m going to stick to my parenting decision even if it makes a louder tantrum. Sometimes these are big choices — we will pursue another adoption. And sometimes these are choices that seem insignificant, but you know they will impact you in big unknown ways — like choosing One Little Word for 2013.

I’ve been planning on a lighthearted word for 2013. Something like fluff or fun or up. Something that wasn’t so bold.  Even yesterday, I knew these weren’t quite right. I knew there was another word for me. In the first moments of 2013, I faced my fears and opened up, letting my word choose me, instead of me choosing it.

I shouldn’t be surprised.

It is a word I’ve been avoiding for years.

I like to blend in. I like to work behind the scenes. I like to empower others while remaining backstage.

2013 demanded me to be brave and bold.

And so my word is just this. Brave. Bold. And a little scary.

These choices don’t make life easier.
But they do make life better.
Shine on.

Join other slicers at Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesday.

Let's Be Email Pals!

Teaching writers doesn't have to drown us.

Enter your information to receive my free eBook, plus weekly tips and encouragement for teaching writers.

Don't worry, I won't send you spam, and you can unsubscribe any time. (I'd hate to see you go, though.) Powered by ConvertKit


  1. Ruth, I am so glad you shared your fears. We share the same word this year. I will be your bold friend. I love your heart, it is all over your words, blended in like mashed potatoes. Happy New Year.

  2. Oh, what a word! It is definitely a wonderful, beautiful, scary, bold and liberating word. And though it sounds like you might be reminding yourself to shine, like the poster says, in shining you liberate others, encouraging them to shine also. It's a very good word. I may major in “Ordered” this year, but I think I'll try doing a minor in “Shine”! Have a shiny New Year!

  3. Shine is a wonderful word. I think that we should all shine. You have too many talents to hide in the background. So, not just this year but always, SHINE!

  4. Shine is a great word. Like Franki, I think you already shine, in a million different ways, but here is to a year of shininess! You are a lamp on a hill for so many of us… Richest blessings!

  5. I echo the thoughts above me. You have always shined to me, through your thoughts and words that you so willingly share. Here's to a shining year!

  6. I love shine and it crossed my mind as my word last week, but it didn't stick this year. I will enjoy watching you shine and will warm my heart with your light. Happy New Year!

  7. There is bravery in declaring boldly to SHINE! Your quote has me thinking. I am still processing what my one little word will be. I like your example. It is helping to clarify my own thinking and that is part of the shining you often do for me. You light my way so I can see more clearly and I am so grateful to you for that.

  8. Your quote and word choice resonated with me. I struggled to find the right word and chose acceptance for a similar reason you chose shine. I need to accept myself and in so doing others will see to accepting themselves. By being strong and courageous, we spread strength and courage. Shine on!

  9. Ruth-I love your choice! I'm still thinking about my little word…I have considered kindness, hope, and many others…maybe my word just hasn't chosen me yet!

  10. For two years you have been a bright shining light in my writing teacher life. Shine is the perfect word for you, my friend. Here's a to a shiny new year!

  11. You do shine! You light has helped many of us find the path our own soul wishes to walk. Thank you for sharing your fears. Sometimes I think I'm the only one that is afraid to move forward. Thank you for being bold.

  12. Ruth – you constantly inspire me. Sometimes I read your posts and think, “Wow, she is an amazing writer.” Today, though, I also thought, “Wow, she is an amazing person.” So thankful to know you…

  13. Ruth,
    Thank you for sharing this inspiration for your OLW-shine!
    I think I see myself as more like you -in the background, empowering others…and so I will let your word be a goal to aspire to…maybe it is fear that holds me back too…so much to think about here!
    Thank you!
    Happy New Year!