My One Little Word : Story

Lovely word of the year necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs. Look for a giveaway from Lisa this weekend.

For 2010 I have chosen the word STORY.

Ever since I started scrapbooking back in 2002 I have been capturing life and telling stories. Over the years I have learned that for me, it is the words and the photos that are the most important parts of gathering and documenting our lives (vs. the products that make the albums pretty and the process visually creative).

The Yesterday & Today workshop I have been leading at Big Picture Scrapbooking for the last three months really solidified and increased my specific desire to get the most meaningful stories told. The preparations for that class and the resulting pages I created left a lasting impact on me.

One of the things I realized through the duration of that class is that I have so many stories I want to tell from the past and the present. Some are big and some are small; some detailed and some only faint memories. I don't feel anything but excitement when I think about working through the process of telling them. I am not upset that I haven't told them yet or worried that there are too many. I just want to make it a priority to get them recorded.

With all that in mind I am giving myself an assignment this year. I am going to aim for one layout (one story) told per week in 2010. Some stories will be long and some will be shorter but I am going to make the time to go through my list and proactively tell those stories that are most meaningful to me. I will be posting my layouts here weekly and will be inviting you to tell your meaningful stories along the way.


The other inspiration for my word this year are two books I have been reading over the last few months: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life
by Donald Miller and Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story
by Christina Baldwin.

Both are all about stories: telling, listening, characters, sharing, living. 

Both have inspired me to focus more on the concept of story and what that means in the context of my work and my life.

The Storycatcher book has a really nice companion website here. This is a good initial read: Becoming A Storycatcher. You can find excerpts from the book here

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years has inspired me to look at my life differently. To literally see myself as a character in the story I am living and that I can make changes to impact the outcome of my own personal narrative. I think in some way or another I have always known this and lived this way at some level, but something in Donald's words solidified and clarified some things for me and has given me a new path forward - a new way to think about myself and my story.

One of the biggest things is that I have a couple threads in my own story that I would like to weave in a different direction. I hope to talk more about these storylines in the coming months as I begin writing & living new chapters for myself.

Story is a powerful word and concept. I am excited to continue investigating it throughout this year and throughout the rest of my life.


One of the thoughts I had as I read the list of words (and the wonderful reasons and stories) over the last couple of days is that it's really not enough to just choose a word. Some sort of action is required to really make a difference. That action may be simply thinking about your word every couple of days. What sort of thing can you make or buy that will serve as a reminder to you? Here's a post from 2008 with a few simple ideas to get you started. I invite you to consider one action you will take related to your word: one little action to go along with your one little word.

EDITED: I just came across this really nice free download "Word of the Year Discovery Tool" from blogger Christine Kane. It's a worksheet for thinking through your word and essentially telling the story of your word. Totally recommended. This is a great action step.

Happy New Year! Peace and blessings to you and yours!

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110 thoughts

  1. says…

    My one little word is "Mommy" I plan to be a better more there Mommy this year. I am involved in all the kids do, they are 8,7, & 5, however there are times when I just want to step away from that word (Mommy). So I am working on being more there for my kids and with that for my spouse.

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  2. Janie says…

    Ali- I just came across your blog from the typepad dashboard. Your title caught me because last night I finished reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and have been thinking of my life as a story. And then to get down to this post and read that his words have inspired you was really affirming. What a creative blogger you are! I am a photographer and love capturing precious moments too. Good luck this year. May we all live more beautiful stories!

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  3. Ali Edwards says…

    Hey D'Nese - just going back through comments - I have a small black notebook from Moleskina and a story folder on my computer desktop. These two things together work pretty well for when an idea/story comes to mind.

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  4. Ali Edwards says…

    Maybe "breathe"?

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  5. Ali Edwards says…

    Thanks for the note Janie and for stopping by :).

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  6. Lisa says…

    Hi Ali,
    I think my word for this year will be "Time". My friend/neighbor passed away right before Christmas. It really hit home that we don't know how much time we have left in this life, so this year I plan to be more deliberate with my time and manage it better. Time is a gift and I will treasure it more carefully.

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  7. Lara says…

    Thanks for this post Ali and the link to Christine's Discovery Tool. I've made a layout with my word, 'create' as the focus, and I intend to frame it and place it over the kitchen table - my usual crafting spot. I want to be able to see it every day, as a little prompt.

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  8. Joyce says…

    Thanks for sharing the link to Christine Kane's Word tool. It helped a lot to identify potential pitfalls for my year's goals! Very valuable to use each year, too! My word this year is INTENTIONAL.
    Happy New Year! Thanks for all the great motivation you post week after week!

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  9. ErinLeigh says…

    Love Donald Miller. can't wait to read this book.

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  10. Terri says…

    Thank you for introducing these books. They are transformative!

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