Friday, January 10, 2020


Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald
Doctor Who, Wikipedia.
Copyright BBC

Welcome back to Teaching Authors!

Unsinkable. That’s the One Word that my friend (I will call her Clara) gifted me on New Years Day. The word means full of energy. Not able to be defeated or to fail. Synonyms include soaring and free. Buoyant.

According to the practice, the One Word Resolution brings clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. This one word centers on your character and creates a vision for your future. It acts as a mantra or guiding principle for the new year. The idea is focused around having a central word or theme to guide your actions or what you want to embrace.

I have never considered participating in the One Word Resolution. How can a writer choose just one word?

“Fear Makes Companions of Us All.” – Clara Oswald
2019 had been a challenging year. There have been many transitions, negative and positive.

You may recall in 2017, I separated from my dear agent. I had searched for years for the right agent, firing two agents along the way because they were not serving my best interest. Finally, finally I found the ONE. After five years, and the sale of my two historical fiction middle grade books, my agent decided to focus on picturebooks and so ended our relationship. Since then, despite many hopeful connections and queries, agents requesting revisions and promising possibilities, I have not been able to find a new agent.

Of course, I haven’t stopped writing. I did manage to sell my first graphic novel.

As Rachel Olsen, co-author of  My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word says, this word gives you a focus on how you approach all aspects of your life for this one year. It helps you determine the kind of person you want to become. A word can’t be broken. It serves as a reminder; a filter. It’s who you want to be instead of what you regret.
"Let Me Be Brave." – Clara Oswald
I have now transitioned into Medicare age, and am facing that dreaded process. It is not without it’s own wistfulness. I am the first one in my family to make it to this age. Both of my parents and my younger brother didn’t make it this far. I am the Last One Standing. 

 But I am still here.

And, of course, there are other challenges that comes with age. Loss of beloved friends. Loss of beloved companions. Disconnections and reconnections. Then there's Trump.
"Show Me the Stars." – Clara Oswald
I am teaching more classes at the MFA Creative Writing Program at Southern New Hampshire University. I have enjoyed several of Harold Underdown’s and Eileen Robinson’s Kid and YA Book Revisions online courses and workshops. It has kept my head in the game, and I have managed to finish two novels in the last two years and revised another manuscript, a potential series, now being reviewed.

All things considered, Clara did well in gifting me this word. Unsinkable. Thank you!
What is your One Word?
As you consider your One Word, here is my gift to you, Maya Angelou reading one of my favorite picture books, Life Doesn't Frighten Me.(illustrated by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Abrams Books, 1993)

-- Bobbi Miller


Yvonne Ventresca said...

Love your word! Congrats on the graphic novel. Let's hope for all the good things in 2020.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

"Unsinkable" suits you! Yes, we are still here, a fact that's fraught with issues but still a blessing. Congratulations on your graphic novel and your soon-to-be-novels. I've tried to pick a word of the year, but they never stick. Here's to another year of living fearlessly!

Joanna said...

That is a gritty, empowering word, just like you. The journey certainly seems to have more storms than fair winds at times, but I love your no-quit attitude. Huzzah for the graphic novel and your consistent writing habit. 2020 for the change of wind direction!

Carmela Martino said...

UNSINKABLE is a terrific word! And congrats on the graphic novel. That is VERY cool! My 2020 bring more good news for you. <3

David McMullin said...

This is fantastic. Good choice and I hope your word serves you well.

Anonymous said...

Unsinkable--what a great word to choose! Sounds like you've been busy. May all your dreams come true in 2020 and congratulations on the graphic novel--wow!

Margaret Simon said...

Unsinkable comes with determination and perseverance. You can do this! I've been waning on the idea of getting an agent because I hear so many unpleasant stories. It's a daunting task and one that leads to disappointment. I must not have what you have to stay in the struggle. Good luck to you in your search.

Karol Ruth Silverstein said...

The word I'm choosing to focus on for 2020 is: PROGRESS.

It takes a lot of pressure off. I don't need to do or be some great thing. I need only to "make progress."

Thanks for the post!

Jarm Del Boccio said...

Mine is CONTENTMENT. It’s been difficult to see my writer friends sign contracts and speak at schools and venues, while I sit at home with a debut book (for which I am grateful) and no invites, despite all my work. So, this year, I’m going to rest in my accomplishments and do some writing, submitting and learning, and be thankful for whatever God brings my way. I’m at peace!☺️

Jilanne Hoffmann said...

Love unsinkable! Happy sailing in 2020!

Bobbi Miller said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words and inspirations! Progress is a good word! And Contentment is excellent!

Esther Hershenhorn said...

UNSINKABLE indeed, Bobbi!

You and Molly Brown. :)

My last year's word IMAGINE gave me WAY MORE than I ever could have imagined!

I'm still thinking on 2020's word......

Congrats on your graphic novel. You're doin' it!!!1

Mary Ann Rodman said...

Awesome post, Bobbi--I'm so excited to read your graphic novel (LOVE graphic novels) and as for where you are in life--entering what people call Act 3(BTW, I hate that phrase!), without an agent and the feeling of constant upheaval...I'm right there with you. I need to find MY word. I have to admit when I first read this, none of the words that came to mind were motivational...or even positive. I'll keep searching. I love yours--it always brings to mind the movie, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, as played by Debbie Reynolds. Even in her personal life which had a lot of turmoil and betrayal, she was indeed "Unsinkable." Which reminds me of a song from the movie "I Ain't Down Yet." You aren't and I'm not...and together we'll have an unsinkable 2020. (Just borrowing "your" word for the purpose of this post.)

April Halprin Wayland said...

Bobbi ~

As others have said, unsinkable inspires and lights us on fire!

I have had a word a DAY for years...I condense what I learn in my a daily meditative reading into one word and let it guide me throughout the day. (Apparently this is called an "anchor" word in psychology...who knew?)

Here's what I jotted down as I read your post:

•Bobbi, it's inspiring to read that you haven't stopped writing. You sold a graphic novel (!), finished two novels, revised a manuscript (a potential series!). I hope writing that down helped you to see what you've been able to accomplish--wow!
•Then there's Trump. Yes, yes! This made me laugh.
•Life Doesn't Frighten Me ~ this wonderful book is the brainchild of my friend Sara Jane Boyer (listed as the editor) has stayed on the shelves for years, meriting a new 25th anniversary edition. So glad you're recommending it!