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Finding Writing Inspiration in a Word of the Year

Similar to setting new year’s resolutions or intentions, choosing a word of the year is a popular practice at the start of a new year. Picking a word of the year can help you determine what aspects of your life you want to expand, deepen, or change. As a writer, why not further focus on your word of the year through poetry? Whether you’ve chosen one of these words, a similar one, or you’re still searching for one that aligns with your goals for the year, get inspired by these writing prompts based on your word of the year.


If you’ve chosen “Joy”:


Choosing “joy” as your word of the year sets a positive tone for 2024. If you’re trying to bring more joy into your life this year, consider writing a poem about a seemingly mundane moment you recently experienced that sparked joy. Whether you watched the sunset, went for a walk in nature, laughed with a loved one, or took a day trip to a favorite locale, recognizing these happy everyday moments will help you feel more joy. Bring this moment to life by employing rich imagery and storytelling in your poetry. As an exercise, you might even feel inspired to write a poem each week about a joyful moment from the previous days—collect these in a journal that you can happily look back on at the end of the year.


If you’ve chosen “Cultivate”:


“Cultivate” is a great, expansive word of the year. This word can encompass multiple meaningful goals or intentions, such as cultivating self-care practices. Self-care requires you to consider the various ways in which you can improve your life experience, which can inspire your poetry. A self-care poem based on “cultivate” might look like imagining your life as a greenhouse—a safe, protective space where you can grow and heal, using caring for plants as a metaphor. 

If you’ve chosen “Create”:


As a creative, “create” is an apt word of the year. You might have chosen this word based on specific creative goals, such as writing more often, starting a poetry project, or even creating a poetry-centric book club or organization. Or, maybe your intention for the year is to go deeper with your poetry and create in a way that feels authentic to you. If this rings true to you, consider writing an acrostic CREATE poem, focusing on the several ways in which you will continually hone your voice as a poet.

If you’ve chosen “Explore”:


Lastly, “explore” is an exciting word of the year as well. Although “explore” can be applied to numerous new year goals, such as exploring your mental and emotional health, why not take a fun twist with your poetry by focusing on your outer rather than inner world? For example, perhaps one of your aspirations for the new year is to explore interesting places. Maybe you’ve even visited somewhere recently that inspired your creativity. Write a poem about the experience, focusing on details of what made the place unique as well as how this location might have changed your perspective. 


Happy new year, and happy writing!