Tonight I’m (literally) writing my way into the new year, which I’m choosing to interpret as symbolic rather than as a symptom of procrastination. Since writing is the vehicle that will bring my one little word for 2020 to life, beginning the year with laptop a-tapping feels apropos.
The inspiration for my one little word came out of some blogging I did a couple of weeks ago (link to post). Faced with a potential fork in the road of my writing life, I was absolutely spinning, and once I had written my way through it, I felt calm. Clear. I could see the opportunities in front of me. The question shifted to whether or not I would dare to do something about it.
There is something a little irreverent in the word dare, an implied understanding that feathers might be ruffled, norms disrupted. A flicker in the belly that signals the unexpected might happen. There is no safety in the word dare.
To me the word dare is about agency. It’s not about an outside force pressuring me to do something (no, “I triple dog dare you!”); it’s about spurring myself to action. It’s about taking risks—because I can feel deep down in my bones that I’m ready. Because in order for me to maintain full engagement in my own professional life—and I have high expectations in that department—I have to be moving with intention toward the kinds of actions that are challenging and compelling enough to knock the intellectual wind out of me.
This is a state I crave, cognitive dissonance combined with deep investment in whatever learning and application is needed to work my way through it to the next big question. And while my role as an instructional coach provides endless opportunities for this type of collaboration and thinking work, I can feel myself seeking more. Perhaps “more” isn’t the right word. . . seeking a more highly specialized focus for this intense cognitive and emotional engagement.
The word dare communicates boldness, an unapologetic pursuit of goals that align all the way to my core—even if, or perhaps especially if, those goals seem out of reach.
For me that core is writing: my own writing (fiction and professional) and the teaching of writing. I want to take actions that prioritize these strengths and that open new doors. I love my work as an instructional coach. . . and it is true that not nearly enough of it is centered around writing. In 2020, I dare to imagine a future in which writing and writing instruction comprise the majority of my professional life, as opposed to where they fit in now as periodic waves and around the edges as a building-based coach.
It’s daring (and terrifying) to consider what it will take to make this happen (and to say it out loud). What sacrifices might be necessary? Which safety nets might need to be removed? How will I differentiate between small steps forward and great, big jumps—what counts as daring? I’m excited to figure all this out, and I appreciate the opportunity to share my thinking as part of the One Little Word Challenge with Two Writing Teachers blog.