My One Little Word [Slice of Life]

slice-of-life_individualAll week I’ve been thinking about my One Little Word, and everyone’s posts lasts week were inspiring–and a bit intimidating.

A couple of mornings ago, I woke up knowing my word.


My life and to-do lists and home are overly full. They are full of wonderful stuff, but too much stuff for me to deal with in a day. This is especially true in my writing life.

I want to write poetry, write books, mentor and teach other writers, visit schools, connect with educators, connect with readers, volunteer in some literacy capacity, create courses for writers, publish poetry in magazines, create imagepoems–

And the list goes on and on. There are just so many cool things to do. It’s an amazing world that fills me with awe. And I greedily want to do everything I want to do within that world, largely through my lens of writing and teaching.


My schedule is not maintainable. I just can’t get it all done. So, I need to clear stuff out. I want to do all of it, but I have to cross off what I want to do the least in order to make more room for what I want to do the most.

This morning is a great example. I didn’t sleep well and wandered downstairs at 4:30, rubbing my eyes, and made some cinnamon tea. I sat at the computer and thought, I have a whole hour–I can do 3 blog posts. Then I went to Canva to make a graphic for my OLW. And suddenly, 45 minutes were gone. I’ve never had difficulty with Canva, but this morning, I couldn’t find the image I wanted, couldn’t get the fonts right, etc. 45 minutes. On one little graphic. Finally I dragged my zillion layers of paths through forests and empty highways and beautiful fonts in all the wrong colors to the trash can icon and got smart. And came here to write instead.

Really, I feel more like decluttering my mind, but de-anything sounds like a removal, a loss. And I know I will gain by clearing. So I’m going to call it clearing–my brain, my schedule, my home. Keeping only what matters most to me, in a very thoughtful way. At least…that’s my hope:>)

I like the way some of y’all shared how you were going to focus on and implement your OLW in different ways throughout the year. I’m going to think about that some this week. I do know that for January, my efforts toward


will be all about my goals for the year. I’ve already set them. Now I’m going to go back and cut at least 1/3 of them out. I can’t accomplish my most cherished goals if I’m spending too much time trying to create a graphic to show a goal to you!

Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for this weekly gathering. Head on over for links to more Slice of Life posts!





28 Responses

  1. This is funny. I made a Canva yesterday for my One Little Word and that’s all I have to post. I love how our creativity draws us in to do things, but I also see how necessary it is, sometimes, to just be clear, in words, no images. A OLW exercise I do myself and with my students is to use the online thesaurus to find synonyms. You can click on a word and it sends you to more words. I think clear would be the kind of word that could lead you to discover more.

    1. Oh, it could. Of course, more is pretty much what I’m trying to eliminate! Going down those rabbit holes. Sometimes they’re a wonderful journey that leads to something important. But sometimes they’re just a time suck!

  2. Clear is a beautiful word — creates space and brings calmness. I like reading what other people choose and how their words help them. Something to learn from everyone.

  3. Focusing on the positive side of things rather than the negative–what I will gain instead of what I will lose–is such a helpful insight!

  4. Clear is a beautifully, calming word and has so many layers and levels to it. It will be exciting to see how it works in your life this year! I have to agree with you that sometimes our choices lead us down a long path to nothing that forces us to turn around and try again or give up. But as Margaret mentioned, this is sometimes part of the learning process! Pick and choose the paths … may they be clear for you to forge ahead!

    1. Thanks, Michelle. Yes, those meandering paths–such rewards, such time loss:>) I just try to save those paths for my writing process, where they can end up in some wonderful new project. Instead, I squander too much time on little details…bah!

  5. I love how you touched on how you can’t accomplish your goal if you are spending so much time creating the graphic to go along with it. As a teacher, I feel as if I spend a lot of times making things (like my anchor charts, presentations, and worksheets) cute and perfect, when all my kids need is the information. Yes, it still must be engaging, and part of that is the cuteness; however, I spend SO LONG working on them, when I could be adding enrichment activities, stations, finding mentor texts, etc. I think I might need a little CLEAR as well 🙂

    1. Thank you, Brooke–this is EXACTLY what I’m talking about! That balance of surface engaging versus actual content/meaning. You need both, but… (I don’t know how those teachers on TPT do it, though maybe the cuteness, for some of them, is their artistic outlet. Still…)

  6. Laura, I love how you chose a word that is an explicit guide for your journey. Clear is an important word as you find ways to declutter your pathway and hone in on what really matters. (BTW: I just found the email from you that I was looking for-your winter imagepoem.)

  7. Clear is my January word, although I didn’t realize it. I think we all need time to clear our minds and our space and start anew.

    1. Oh, maybe that’s what made the word occur to me in my mental wanderings! I agree–it’s why a blanket of snow feels so relaxing and wonderful to me. It’s the old cleared out and a blank slate for the new.

  8. I love the idea of clear as a OLW and am slightly disappointed that I didn’t think of it first! I feel calmer just saying it. I also like that you’re going to streamline your goals with your OLW in mind. What a great positive and empowering action to take. Wishing you a wonderful 2017 with clear!

    1. Thank you, Molly–to you, too! I just worked on my goals last night. More to do, but it’s a start!

  9. Such an original OLW. It amazes me that I don’t see repeats when I read what people share. Your post about your OLW made me think of a book sample I just downloaded today, CHASING SLOW. While we have so much we want to do, perhaps it’s time to slow down and clear our minds and schedules. Thanks for sharing, Laura! ~Amy

    1. Thanks, Amy. I know–people come up with so many great frameworks for going deeper into their lives and the world. Oh, I’ll have to check that out! Tx!

  10. Sometimes I think creativity has its own time schedule. I find it hits me at the most unusual times and places. Clear is a great word. I had to chuckle at your last sentence because I just can’t get this graphic technology down!

    1. So true about creativity. It’s finding the quiet/clear time to follow up on the ideas that is hard:>) Glad I’m not the only one on the graphics stuff. Everybody makes it look so easy!

  11. Clear is a great word! “I have to cross off what I want to do the least in order to make more room for what I want to do the most.” And I love that you’re applying this to your goals for the year. I look forward to following your journey this year.

  12. Clear is a wonderful word. I first though of a clear pool of water. To see through, clearly. And then to clear space for what is important. I love this word! And this: “Keeping only what matters most to me, in a very thoughtful way.” Such wise words for a fulfilled life.

    1. Thanks! I used your idea of clear water to create a very simple (and fast!) graphic. I’m happy with my idea/plan. Now…to execute it!

  13. Just reading that list of things you want to do made me excited/tired. No wonder you get overbooked!
    Clarity is a terrific goal. I love the feeling after I give a bunch of stuff away, decluttering my house. Same idea, I guess! Making space.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,523 other subscribers

Are You Looking For?

Poetry Friday posts

Classroom Connections posts

All my poetryactions

Go to my Poetry page for:

  • National Poetry Month projects through the years
  • Small Reads Roundups (poems grouped by topic)
  • Introductions to several favorite poetry forms
#waterpoemproject15 Words or Less Poems20for2030 Painless Classroom Poems50 State Poemsacrosticsactivity pagesactivity sheetALAA Leaf Can Be...Amy Ludwig VanDerwaterA Need to FeedanthologiesanthologyA Rock Can projectsaudiopoemsawardsbad newsBarbara Juster EsbensenBilly Collinsbiopoemsblog tourbookalikesbook festivalsBookSpeak!book spine poemsbook trailersbop poembyr a thoddaidcafepresscalendar poemsCamp Read-a-LotCan Be... bookscan be... poemsCapstoneCarol Varsalonacascade poemsCatherine FlynnccbcCCRA.W.3CCRA.W.4CCRA.W.5centoschapter bookschoral compositionschristina rossetticinquainsCLAclassified ad poemsclassroom connectionclassroom connectionsClover Kittyconferences and conventionscrown sonnetscybilsdansaDare to DreamDavid Elliottdeeper wisdom poemdefinitosdiamantesdiversitydizaindodoitsuDot DayDouglas Floriandownloadablesdrum corpse.e. cummingsekphrastic poemsepistolary poemsequation poemsessentialethereeseventsexquisite corpseFairy Tale Garage Salefamilyfibonaccifiction picture booksfinding familyfirefightersforeign editionsfound poemsfree author zoomsfree versefrom studentsgeesegeorgia heardghazalGift Taggiveawaygolden shovelgoldilocksgratitudehaikuheart of aheart of a teacherHeidi MordhorstHelen FrostHighlightshow-to poemshow to make a rainbowI Am FromI Am poemsidiomsif you want to knit some mittensIf You Were the MoonILAimagepoemsinterviewin the middle of the nightIRAIrelandIrene LathamJ. Patrick LewisJanet WongJoyce SidmanKendraKerlanKidlit Comboslailaura's board booksLaura's booksLaura's poemsLaura's readingsLaura ShovanLee Bennett HopkinsLilian MoorelimericksLinda Booth SweeneyLine Leads the WayLion of the Skylist poemslittle free librarylive writingLullaby and Kisses Sweetlyricsmadness poetrymargaret simonMarilyn Singermary lee hahnmask poemsMeet My FamilyMelissa StewartMentors for Rentmentor textsmetaphorMichelle Myers LacknerMillbrookMinnesota Book Awardsmoneymoonmy reading lifemy writing processN+7naaninarrative poemsNational Poetry Month 2012 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2014 (riddle-ku)National Poetry Month 2015National Poetry Month 2016National Poetry Month 2017 (#wonderbreak)national poetry month 2018 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2020National Poetry Month 2021 (#EquationPoem)national poetry month 2022 (sticky-note poems)National Poetry Month 2023 (Digging for Poems)National Poetry Month 2024 (magnipoems)ncteNerdy Book Clubnifty newsnifty stuffNikki Grimesnonfictionnonfiction booksNonfiction Writers Dig Deepnovelsnovels in verseodesOne Minute Till BedtimeoppositifyOskar's VoyagepadletpantoumsparodiesPatreonpeacepersonalpet poemsphotopoetryphrase acrosticspicture booksplagiarismpoempicspoemspoems for two voicespoemsketchpoetic pursuitsPoetry 7poetryactionspoetry activitiesPoetry Blastpoetry booksPoetry FridayPoetry Friday AnthologiesPoetry Princessespoetry promptspoetry sistersPoetry Tips for Teachersprogressive poempublishing processpuddle songPutridquotationsraccontinosRandy Salasread-aloudreadaloudreading poetry in the classroomRebecca Kai Dotlichrecipe poemsrefugeesresearchreview copiesreviewsrevisionrhyming booksrhyming nonfictionrhyming picture booksRhyming Picture Books the Write Wayrhyming poemsRiddle-kuriddle poemsRock Can Be...Rock the Blogrondeau redoublesRudyard Kiplingsalas snippetsSCBWIschool visitsScotlandseasonssecrets of the loonSELsestinasshrinking daysskinnyskypeslice of lifesmall readssnack snooze skedaddlesnowman-coldsonnetsStampede!storm poemstorytimestorywalkstudent poemsstudent workSylvia VardellTanita Davistankatautogramteachableteacher resourcesteen/adult poemsterza rimasthankfulthank yous and referencesthe business sidethings to do iftracy nelson maurertrioletstunie munson-bensonvideosVikram MadanvillanellevillanellesWater Can Be...wealthy elementaryWe BelongWhat's InsideWhy-kuwinterwonderwonderbreakword of the yearwordplaywordsmithswork for hirewritingwriting bookswriting processwriting promptswriting the life poeticyoung authors conferencesYouTubeZapZap Clap Boomzenozentangle
Show More Show Less

Discover more from Laura Purdie Salas

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Join Laura's monthly newsletter for eductators

Get three of Laura's favorite poetry activities when you subscribe to "Small Reads."