• Maggie Shayne

Word for the Year

A group of friends and I have a tradition. We each choose a kind of a focus word for the new year. Usually it’s a word we think of as a goal. Something we want to do more of or do better Last year I chose “Balance.”

It seems to me, at the end of 2020 as I look back at the year I’ve had, that the word we choose teaches us something. We don’t necessarily become more of our word, although sometimes we do. But sometimes, I think we just seem to inhale the word. We assimilate its meaning into us. That is, it’s meaning to us, personally. All its associations and permutations. We process it through all our systems. Mental, emotional, physical, spiritual.

A focal point

The word we choose is our keyword for the year so it’s on our mind a lot. It has our focus. And things we associate with the word, then, will start showing up all around us. By the end of the year we have come to understand why that word was the one we chose and what it has to teach us.


I think I chose balance because I spend most of my time either writing fiction or if I’m doing absolutely anything else, beating myself up because I’m not writing fiction. I feel almost a servant to it, sometimes.

She rises a little higher


As I began to expand the Bliss side of my life by launching this newsletter, the shop, the books, and trying to post blogs more frequently, I find myself wanting to spend more time on this. And I want to do it without feeling guilty. Hence the notion of balance. The image is of me, effortlessly juggling all parts of my life in perfectly equal measure. And without guilt. If I could offer quality time to all the things I love every day in roughly equal amounts, maybe I could ease my guilt.

The guilt is tightly bound up with money. The novels are what pay our bills. So that’s “work” in my mind, and this is “play.” BlissBlog supports itself through the shop, the books, the readings. And that’s nice. But there’s not an income from it. It doesn’t cost anything, but it doesn’t make us anything either. It’s self-sustaining. Besides, I love writing novels. As a career, it has been and continues to be very good to me.

So I have identified a flawed belief here, haven’t I? Deep down, I believe that novels equal income and Bliss does not. There is no reason that has to be true. No reason other than my own belief.

So there’s one big goal for me in 2021. Change that belief and watch reality morph and change with it.

But wait, there's more!


And she emerges


Over the course of this year, trying to achieve the elusive thing I called balance, I have come to understand one very important thing. The muse wants what the muse wants, and the more I go with her flow, the better all parts of my life will feel. And really, what is more important in life than how we feel while we’re living it? Isn’t that kind of the whole point? Shouldn’t the goal be to spend as much time doing what we passionately want to do as possible?

So that’s another of the lessons I’m taking from 2020. There’s no such thing as balance. Sometimes you feel more like doing one thing, sometimes another. By following the heart, we’ll always be aligned with Source. Where there’s alignment, there’s inspiration.

So doing what I feel most inspired to do every minute of every day to the greatest extent possible, and without an ounce of guilt, is going to be my 2021 goal. And I believe I’ll end up writing more and better novels as a result, and expanding the Bliss business even further than ever

I need to come up with a word that encompasses all that as my touchstone for the new year.

The Fool


Devotion to Bliss. I kind of love that as my 2021 theme. Devotion to Bliss.

If it had to be one word? Hmmm…

Blissvotion?

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