One Word in 2017: Listen

Last week I wrote about three words–past, now, and future— to begin the year 2017. Today I want to share my One Word for 2017–listen.

The word “listen” doesn’t reflect excitement or adventure ahead. So why would someone pick it as their one word for an entire year?

Give a “listen” and find out…

Listening is important in all we do. defines listen as follows:

  • to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear
  • to pay attention; heed; obey.
  • to wait attentively for sound.

The word “attend” appears in each of the above definitions in some for or another. Perhaps the word implies the importance of learning because if we pay attention we generally pick up more instruction. Using the ear to give attention to someone or something implies giving our full attention.

WHY THEN would a writer choose the word “Listen?”

Perhaps to learn from others the grander points in the world of writing. Or perhaps the writer is hoping to pick up tips on things essential to publishing a book.

It seems it would be obvious that a writer may also be looking for ways to make his or her name known, and he or she listens for the names of those writers from whom to learn in the classroom, via podcast or video, or some other means.


The hardest thing I try to do is listen to my own heart and mind. Those two places are where I believe everything I feel about my writing is stored. Storage places I can access in the quiet to listen to my personal dreams and desires about writing.

Do you find it hard to listen to your heart and mind as it relates to your writing life?


Meditation comes close to what I believe is listening to our own thoughts and feelings, much like meditation can bring a person into communication with a higher power. Personally, I have always found it difficult to settle myself into a meditative state of mind. I was raised by a mother who believed we had to be busy 24/7. Settling into a meditative state takes great effort on my part.

The choice of the word “listen” forces me to practice a meditative state of mind in order to hear those things I hold dear about my writing life. If I don’t assume quietness, I will not hear the thoughts and dreams encouraging me to move forward in my writing practice.

In a few days, I will be sharing a post in which I pose a question to all of you about your own writing life. This is a question I have struggled with in 2016, and a question I have come close to answering this question in a way that may surprise you.

These are the kinds of questions I believe we need to spend some time reflecting on early each year to get our writing lives in order. This meditative state will not only help us focus on our dreams, but also on our writing.

12 thoughts on “One Word in 2017: Listen

  1. Sherrey, what a refreshing post. I’ve been ruminating on this myself lately and appreciating the growth that happens when I practice being still.

    1. Cristen, thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts. Being still, as well as listening, have never been my best traits. I know I’ll see and hear so much more by doing both.

  2. Sherrery — I have a friend who’s business (what she does for a living) is listening. The name of her practice is Wise Ears. I love it!

    1. Laurie, wherever you are, I appreciate your taking time to comment. Wise Ears is a great name for a business devoted to listening. I love it too! Happy writing during sabbatical.

  3. I think writers also listen to stories and ideas shared by others. Helps us give our own writing a different perspective and angle. Lovely post!

    1. Yes, writers do listen to others’ stories and ideas. I’ve done a lot of that and also a lot of reading of other writers. It does help to create a perspective on your own writing. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Sherrey,What a great word! I believe listening is so key to writing, at least it is for me. Learning to listen for God’s still small voice, and also to myself as far as what I’m really feeling and thinking. Blessings on your 2017 🙂

    1. Dolly, thank you for your gracious words. You always lift me up, and that goes a long way to helping me continually take another step forward. Blessings on your 2017!

  5. Just today s speech-language pathologist began following my blog. Her website is intriguing, and though her practice is mainly with pre-school and elementary schoolers, her concepts apply to all ages. You may enjoy hearing about her work, which touches on many of the points in your important post:
    I try to listen to my intuition which guides me in how I pace myself, whether or not to believe what my mind is telling me, and sense when my energy level requires a nap or walk in the woods. Good choice, Sherrey!

    1. Marian, thank you for sharing the link to Whole Body Listening. Fascinating! I found so much to go back and read. I also appreciate your comments about how you listen. Very helpful and motivating.

  6. Listen. Something I need to do more of in several areas of my life. In regards to writing, I didn’t listen to my dreams for a long time. So glad I finally did.

    1. Don’t we all need to do more listening in our lives, Joan! I’m so glad you finally listened to your dreams too. Congratulations on a successful 2016, and best wishes for a great 2017.

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