Wednesday, January 19, 2022

North Star Word, by Barbara Kyle

At the start of each new year my daughter Sara chooses a word to embody how she wants to navigate the upcoming year. One word to be her “North Star” for her business and her life.

Painting: North Star by Gretchen Kelley

For example, one year she chose the word “bold” – which I thought was boldly marvelous.

So I, too, have chosen a word to be my North Star for this shiny new year. The word is “true.”

As a writer, it means being true to the characters in the new book I’m creating. As a writing mentor, it means guiding each writer to be true to the soul of their story.

I loved many wonderful books during the year we just left behind, and it struck me how wildly varied they are, yet all deeply true. Especially the following three.

The gloriously entertaining Harlem Shuffle by genius author Colson Whitehead:



The nail-biting real-life thriller Tunnel 29 by Helena Merriman:

 The vivid, exquisitely written profile of a 19th century Japanese woman, Stranger in the Shogun’s City, by Amy Stanley:


Books all utterly different, but all utterly true to their stories’ unique worlds.

“True” will be my bright North Star. For writing my new book. For helping the writers I mentor find the best truth in theirs. For living wide in the world.

How about you? Do you have a guiding word for this new year?



Barbara Kyle
is the author of the bestselling Thornleigh Saga series of historical novels and of acclaimed thrillers. Her latest novel of suspense is The Man from Spirit Creek. Over half a million copies of her books have been sold. Barbara has taught hundreds of writers in her online masterclasses and many have become award-winning authors. Visit Barbara at   


  1. Beautiful, Barbara! I have to give this some thought, but "true" is a great place to start.

  2. Lovely, Barbara. My daughter-in-law located her childrens' stars in the solar system and framed them for posterity. The solar system is truly amazing and sailors have used it as a beacon for centuries. You and your daughter are on to something.

    1. What a cool thing for your daughter-in-law to do!

  3. I love the concept of having a North Star word--it's brilliant! Now to think of a single word worthy of a year's focus....

    1. Actually, Saralyn, I did consider "focus" as my word - lol!


This is a comment awaiting moderation on the blog.