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How My Life Changes Affect My Storytelling

September 12, 2023 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

I have made the realization this year that as my life changes through the years, the way I view my original story has changed. Change being the central word here. And my word for 2023. So what type of changes in my life am I talking about?

Blog header titled How My Life Changes affect my storytelling by denise M. Colby

Life is full of changes

I knew there would be several big life changes this year on a personal level. Two children graduating and one getting engaged being among the largest change. I also have been making strides in some health choices, adding in yoga daily and working with a doctor to heal specific areas of my body. And then the bonus life change was the addition of our puppy, Ace, in June.

But the other reason I chose the word change this year was for my writing. I wanted to change the way I edited my story. Change my phrasing. And not be afraid to change my characters. All for the better, of course. I felt focusing on the word change could help me mentally make significant changes in my story to make it stronger.

Age changes us

What I didn’t plan for was really thinking about my story from a different perspective. An age perspective. See, when I started writing my story over ten years, I was in a different time in my life. My kids were younger, I was younger and my relationships were younger.

Young love looked different to me. And I’m not as naive as I once was. Life changes over the years have exposed me to new perspectives.

But I’m not upset about all of this. I’m just more aware. And have to make decisions now based on this new awareness. Taking some time to figure out what I believe in, how I view the world, and what’s important to me will help me write better stories. My own life changes can help me develop stronger characters who go through their own life changes.

Change is important

I have enjoyed learning about the word change this year. Change allows us to move forward in life and experience new and exciting things. We all change and evolve daily, weekly, yearly.

I think our writing changes and evolves with us as well.

Do you think your writing changes as you grow older? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Denise Colby loves to write about her word of the year and share quotes that include that specific word in them. Each word builds a new layer in her writing journey (and her life). In 2022, her word was Work. This year, her word is change.

Change Quote by Eckhart Tolle for blog post about life changes
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My Word for 2023 is Change

January 12, 2023 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

My word for 2023 is change.

blog post titled word of the year 2023 is change written in purple on wooden looking background by Denise M. Colby

Why change?

This year will be some big changes in our family. And I hope to make some changes of my own.

What type of change?

First our family changes. With our youngest in his senior year of high school, we will be done volunteering and being involved with high school activities come June. I will miss it. Supporting all the kids, cheering at choir, theater, and other events, and hanging out with other parents. Three kids and 10 years at the same school (for our 3 sons), it will be weird to say goodbye. 

But with goodbye, is the opportunity to spend more time on my writing endeavors. To change my writing process, my manuscript, and my writing time. And hopefully do a little more travel and exploring with my hubby. I’m super excited about that. 

Researching My 2023 Word Change

I like to explore and research my word, finding quotes and phrases that support why I chose the word I did. What I found encouraged me even more that this was the perfect word for me in 2023.

Change begins at the end of your comfort zone

Roy T. bennett

I’m at a place where I know I need to change things in my manuscript to take it to the next level. And I’m ready to do it. After a lot of work (my word in 2022), reviewing and evaluating the entire novel, I know what I need to work on. And embracing change instead of being fearful of it, is how it’s going to get done.

Here’s to a year of change!

Denise M. Colby loves to choose a new word each year and then share what she learns about it. She wrote about her 2022 word, work, in her latest blog post, and created a highlights page for her 2020 word of the year courage on her website.

Taylor Swift quote in neon pink on sparkly teal background, This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change. for my 2023 word change this year.
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Choosing a Focus Word for Next Year

December 12, 2022 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as ,

I’ve written several posts about choosing a focus word each year and work hard (my word is WORK after all, this year) to find ways to study it, learn about it and share throughout the year. Over the past few years, I’ve had my word scream at me by the end of October. This year, it’s a little more subtle and I’m not sure what to choose. Have you picked your word yet?

Wood panels in background with the words Word of the Year 2023 and question marks supporting the question of what Denise M. Colby will pick for a focus word in 2023

How do you start to choose a focus word?

My word of the year journey began in 2015, when I decided to choose a focus word that I could cling to in my writing. I quickly realized that my word applied to all areas of my life, not just writing. And I have found it to be something I love to incorporate in my social media and discussions with people throughout the year.

You can introduce your word of the year in social media, take pics when you find your word, and share quotes and verses which include your focus word.

About a year ago I figured out each word builds on the previous word and a true indicator of my overall writing journey. Now I just have to figure out what my 2023 word will be. 

Here are the words I’ve selected since I’ve started.

synonyms of wisdom block 1
I love to look at all the synonyms of my focus word to see different angles of how to apply it

I have a short list for next year already, I just want to look up verses and see if there’s enough quotes to support and encourage me throughout an entire year.

Do you have a process you use to select your word? Or if you haven’t ever chosen a word, I wrote this blog post on the Wisdom of Selecting a New Focus Word Every Year

If you’ve already chosen a word, I’d love to hear what it is and why you chose it. Please write in the comments so those of us who have not picked a word yet, can find some inspiration!

In the meantime, I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas.



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My Work In Progress, Applying My 2022 Focus Word

November 12, 2022 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

I love the play on words with the term Work in Progress for my 2022 focus word. With my word being “work” this year, I, myself am a work in progress. Just like what us authors call our current manuscript, work in progress (WIP).

I have found this word to be a great word to focus on. The word work can mean many different things, and I have focused on the noun.

Exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; productive or operative activity

My favorites have been the synonyms for the word work. These highlight what I wanted to focus on this year.

Books on bookshelf in background with the word Work synonyms in front by Denise M. Colby

Interestingly, for my manuscript work in progress, I have been able to focus on digging deeper into editing, reviewing each chapter with my critique partners and learning through editing their work as well. I also have entered additional contests and participated in classes and online learning. With the limited time I’ve had, I feel I have continued work on my manuscript and have made progress.

My Personal Work In Progress

Personally, I am always a work in progress, but especially this year my focus has been on my health. Even with a significant car accident earlier in the year that put me in physical therapy for many months, I have made great strides in my health. I’m sleeping better, I have more energy, and I can eat a larger variety of foods again. 

It has taken a daily commitment to build new habits in both of these work in progress areas. Sometimes it’s been challenging. Sometimes I wonder if I would ever get better (both in my writing and my health). But as days have become weeks, and weeks, months, I do see progress. The best complement I received recently from a dear friend; they could see how much healthier I look. And as I reflected on those words, I realized I do feel healthier and happier. 

Creating Fun with my word, Work

 I like to make my word each year fun and memorable and find all sorts of quotes and verses with that word in it. The last few years, I get to the end of the year and I haven’t posted as much as I wanted to about my word. That too, seems to be a work in progress. And then it becomes a mad dash to do just that. So bear with me as I share these quotes and verses related to my word work.

I hope they inspire you in your own work in progess, whether it is your writings or your personal life.

Denise M. Colby loves to write words of encouragement blog posts. She also loves to write about her word of the year she chooses each year. She created a page on her website on her 2020 word, courage, a blog post about her 2021 word, wisdom. She started 2022 sharing why she chose the word, work

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Being Out of Balance Stifles Creativity

January 12, 2022 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

Do you ever feel out of balance in your life? Where you find your days lopsided in your to-do’s, and you aren’t able to dig into your well to do what you really want to do? Have you found yourself with the desire to create stuffed inside but no way to come out? Am I the only one who needed a mental and creative break at the end of last year?

Blog header with rocks stacked on top of each other and words Being Out of Balance Stifles Creativity by Denise M. Colby

When I say creative break, what I really mean is giving my brain a chance to catch up with itself. Taking the time to organize thoughts, goals, wins, and losses, and get out of the funk I found myself in.

Time to conduct a Sacred Rest Assessment

Susan May Warren added the Sacred Rest assessment in her 2022 Brilliant Writer Planner (that I love!). It’s a way to determine the rest you are lacking (and what you are not). It’s all about balance. And she organizes our needs into these buckets:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Creative
  • Spirutal
  • Social
  • Sensory
  • Mental.

When you find your life is out of harmony

For me, my mental and creative areas are sorely lacking. And taking time over the last two weeks to purge through some to-do piles, evaulate my year, and write out thoughts, made me realize I don’t schedule this type of downtime for my brain enough. 

And that’s exactly what the assesment is supposed to do. 

Help you figure out areas you should focus on this year.

For me, I like time to let my mind catch up with my inputs. Let my mind wander. With my scheduled life, I don’t get a lot of time to do that. Yet when I did recently, I found the creative juice I’ve been missing.

Ideas began to pop into my thoughts. Energy to dive in and get to work.

Finding Symmetry

And that what was so exciting, because WORK is my word for 2022. Something I chose because God isn’t finished with me yet. And I am not finished with this writing journey. 

He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. Philippians 1:6.  

Noun: exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something

Dreams don’t work, unless you do.

My manuscript is a work in progress

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart….Colossions 3:24-25

Which is exactly what I plan to do for 2022.

I process my thoughts by writing. I explore what’s in my brain by writing. And what I found myself not doing at the end of 2021 was writing.

It takes work to write. And I’m now ready to get to work.

Figuring Out Balance

In her Sacred Rest Assessment, Susie May asks three questions at the end 

1. What areas do you need to focus more on this year?

2. Why do you feel you are depleted in those particular areas?

3. What activities can you pursue to refresh your life with Sacred Rest?

And just like that I figured out how and what to schedule (what I need to bring balance back to my life) into my week.

How about you? Are you in balance with your Sacred Rest?

You may want to schedule some time to assess to help you bring yourself back into balance this year and together, maybe we can help each other do just that!

Denise M. Colby loves to write words that encourage, enrich, & engage. Every year, she chooses a word to focus on. Her word in 2021 was Wisdom. If you’d like to see more of Denise’s posts on this blog, you can check out her archives.

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