One Little Word : February 2010

wood type letter O letter N letter E

letter L I letter T letter T letter l E

W o letter R D

One of the things I am planning to do this year is a monthly post about One Little Word. My hope is that it will serve as a reminder, a check-in, and a chance to re-focus.

I am starting off with three basic categories: learn, create, and write. Each word includes a suggestion for an action to take related to your word.

Here's three simple actions for February 2010:

LEARN : Locate a book (online, library, bookstore) that addresses your word and make it a priority to read/learn something new about your word this month. Let it feed that part of you that is wanting to make a change. I am planning to get back into a book I started on a recommendation last fall called Writing Motherhood.

CREATE : Grab your camera and photograph the letters of your word. This is a really fun exercise that can be done as you go about the normal routines of your life. Look up, look down, keep your eyes open for cool typefaces. Upload them and print them out and as a visual reminder of your word. If you can't get out or you want a little instant gratification you can always check out Spell With Flickr (what I used to create the "one little word" above). 

WRITE : This idea came from the One Little Word comments. After she chooses a word each year, Lynnelle at A Writer's Life writes a letter to her future self. Consider writing out where you hope you will be in one year and the role your word will play for you in 2010. Here's a nice write up of suggestions about writing a letter to yourself: If You Could Talk To Your Future Self What Would You Say? You can even send an email to your future self at

Hoping that your word is already making a difference for you in your life.

46 thoughts

  1. Jan Barlow

    2010-02-01 03:41:24 -0500

    Love the idea of checking in monthly and really revisiting and thinking about our words.
    Regarding photographing the letters for your word - I have an acquaintance who goes around photographing "letters" that she sees in life around her - but formed by nature or architectural elements or just happenstance and not actual letters you'd see on signs. For instance, if you think about the side of a swing set, you have a letter "A". (Thought you'd really appreciate that one, Ali!) :) A manhole cover could be an "O". And so on... Talk about being on the lookout all around you... She saves these digital photos, of course, and then uses them for creative gifts. When my son was married, she made them a framed work that spelled out their last name. It was SO cool!
    Thanks for the inspo!

  2. Jan Barlow

    2010-02-01 03:44:21 -0500

    I should also mention that she took the photos in black and white, so you could really focus on the form of the letters...

  3. Suzette Mahoney

    2010-02-01 03:48:42 -0500

    Fantastic idea, Ali...thank you!
    Question: after your project life post I decided to play along. Do you plan to occasionally update us on your progress? I hope so. You made me realize it is ok to not stress if I don't get a picture daily!

  4. Deb J

    2010-02-01 04:28:46 -0500

    Ali, these are great ideas. I can't wait to try them. I am doing a modified version of Kolette Hall's "Every Needful Thing" journal and have made a section for my Word. I put the questions and answers from Christine Kane's discovery tool that you told us about in it. I will put the results of these ideas in there too.

  5. MaRiA

    2010-02-01 05:05:42 -0500

    thanks for the inspiration! i like the three points very much but i love the idea of the letter to my future self, i chose "magic" for 2 reasons: because i think i need "magic" to achieve some of my dreams but i think that in the meanwhile i can also put some other "kind of magic" on my daily life. the letter will help me to check my achievements in one year from now.

  6. Ali Edwards

    2010-02-01 05:50:15 -0500

    I definitely plan to update - probably once a month :).

  7. Paula

    2010-02-01 05:53:45 -0500

    very cool idea with the letters :)

  8. Meredith

    2010-02-01 06:26:53 -0500

    Giving Thanks: The Gifts of Gratitude by MJ Ryan is a book worth checking out.

  9. Michele in Texas

    2010-02-01 06:38:04 -0500

    Ali - thank you for being such an inspiration. I love the letters!

  10. Lori

    2010-02-01 07:19:49 -0500

    Hey Ali-
    With CHA last week - have you seen all the new products released? Do you have a top 5 or 10 list that you want to include in your future layouts :) Just curious what you saw/liked.

  11. Teresa

    2010-02-01 08:18:52 -0500

    Thank you for this post. I definitely need to check in with my word. You've given me some great ideas in order to do so.

  12. Terri Q

    2010-02-01 08:47:35 -0500

    Great ideas. Thanks. I find that if I really FOCUS everyday on my word, which ironically is "FOCUS" I not only accomplish my daily goals but have a much happier self at the end of the day. What fun it would be to walk around the neighborhood, camera in hand, searching for my letters. Unfortunately we are still dealing with the 3 inches of sleet and ice covered by 9+ inches of snow that we got on Thursday & Friday - and it snowed lightly again yesterday - and I'm in OKLAHOMA. We've had more snow in the last 2 months than I've seen in my entire life here. My FOCUS is being tested! Maybe if I FOCUS on a beautiful warm beach it will happen...the warm that is. Hard to get a beach in such a landlocked area. I already feel warmer!

  13. leanne

    2010-02-01 09:23:13 -0500

    Really fantastic ideas, Ali. You provide such inspiration and creative spirit to me, and I thank you so much! I'm bringing the camera with me, now, and will look for my letters TODAY! Thanks so much for sharing with us again and again and again!

  14. Suzette

    2010-02-01 09:37:29 -0500

    awesome...thank you! I love your take on the project.

  15. Canay

    2010-02-01 09:44:23 -0500

    Well, I finally jumped into the word game but wasn't sure what to do with my word. Thank you so much for the inspirational ideas.

  16. Peggy

    2010-02-01 10:04:58 -0500

    Ali...great ideas...can't wait to start. I sat here after work today thinking about how a month has gone by and I haven't done much with my word. That ceases today. I'm going on a quest for books...and pics. Thank you!!!

  17. Poppy Simpson

    2010-02-01 11:48:32 -0500

    My word for this year is Fearless and the first book I read this year was "Fearless" By Max Lucado.(I planned that on purpose. lol!) So since I have the Learn part down from your article, I think I'll start on the Create and Write part of your article this week. Thank you for such great ideas that inspire us to think outside the norm and search a little deeper into our creative souls. Thanks Ali!

  18. Heidi

    2010-02-01 12:18:27 -0500

    Hi Ali: Are you familiar with this site:
    Users contribute words they photo. I even have a few! :)

  19. Maria

    2010-02-01 12:43:06 -0500

    Love this idea... Great way to learn not only something about the world but about yourself too... Thanks!!!

  20. Melissa

    2010-02-01 14:12:43 -0500

    Ali, thanks for the link to Martha Stewart's "Family History in the Making"... I am checking it out and am SO EXCITED to have some fresh ideas as to what to do with all of the fun memorabilia I've collected over the years!
    Awesome ideas for creativity (yours and links to others') and awesome sponsors are the reason that your blog is the first one that I check every morning. Uh, after so that I know how to dress the kids, that is. ;->

  21. Lynnelle S

    2010-02-01 14:16:49 -0500

    What a surprise, Ali! I just warmed up a cup a tea to enjoy my favorite blogs and I read away and I see my name! Thank you for mentioning this. On a side note, I just returned my former students letters and as I read them I had a wonderful time responding to them and wishing them well in 2010. Thank you again, Ali...very honored.

  22. D'Nese

    2010-02-01 15:19:48 -0500

    Oh Ali this idea totally just knocks my socks off. Love the starting 3 suggestions. Can't wait to see what is in store in regards to One Little Word. You are such an amazing person and the hope and positive energy that you spread is above and beyond.
    Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

  23. Dawn

    2010-02-02 03:13:05 -0500

    Thank you for sharing these ideas.
    Your little A is just the sweetest!

  24. Effie

    2010-02-03 05:23:19 -0500

    Ali... since you're exploring story... I thought you might like to see this article I just read, where the author talks about trying to write narrative non-fiction about someone who lived 50 years ago... and how the details she has spent years searching for -- the look of a shoe, or the color of a wall -- were the most valuable. And it occured to me that all these scrapbookers doing what they do (I do it a bit too)... and especially those picture a day/week/year collections ... might be just the thing someone needs to tell our stories 50 years from now.
    from a longtime lurker...
    <3 Effie

  25. Natalie

    2010-02-06 13:13:00 -0500

    Thanks for the suggestions :)

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