Focus Word for 2020

Spring is almost here, and I’m still wondering if my focus word for 2020 was a mistake. As usual, the writers in the KPC Writers Group pretty much outdid me in choosing their words. Some words have an obvious connection to writing goals and are easy to see how focusing on such things will bring positive results:


Without holding tight to these intentions and incorporating these purposes into our daily lives, we won’t go far.  

Other words chosen by our writers lend a depth of awareness into writing and life in general, urging us to look up and within ourselves for inspiration and purpose and reflect desires for growth:


All of these embrace insight and encourage us to open ourselves to who we were created to be, building character, focus, and determination.

I’ll admit there were two words that stood out to me this year. One I “assigned” to a writer who seemed to struggle for a positive word to claim.  (Believe me, if you knew him, you would give me a fist pump and say, “Yes! That’s the perfect word for him!”) The other word simply strikes joy and excitement in my heart and makes me want to go all out.

Those two words: Unstoppable and Audacious

Unstoppable—unrelenting, persistent—unwilling to admit defeat … ever!

Audacious—daring, bold, brave—willing to step out of our comfort zones and see what flies!

And then we come to the word I chose for myself.


That’s it: further.

What was I thinking?

Further means additional, more, extra … and to advance, promote, broaden, expand. It can also convey “beyond” or “extreme.” Yes, all that is what I meant.

I want to go further in my writing … further in my knowledge … further in my relationships … further in my faith. I want to further (advance/promote) sales of The Canary Cage and hopefully broaden its influence and reach.

Maybe not such a silly word.

Truth is, the word popped in head in the context of the final book (The Last Battle) in C.S. Lewis’s epic series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Chapter Fifteen is titled, “Further Up and Further In.”

“Then he* breathed upon me and took away the trembling from my limbs and caused me to stand upon my feet. And after that, he said not much, but that we should meet again, and I must go further up and further in.” (*Aslan, the Lion)

Further up and further in.

And, near the end of the chapter … “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. … Come further up, come further in!”

The final chapter, “Farewell to Shadowlands,” describes a series of challenges the characters undergo. I love the ongoing encouragement and responses (excerpts below).

“Don’t stop! Further up and further in,” called Farsight, tilting his flight a little upwards.

“Isn’t it wonderful,” said Lucy, “Have you noticed one can’t’ feel afraid even if one wants to? Try it!”

A long valley opened ahead and grow snow-mounts, now much nearer, stood up against the sky.

“Further up and further in,” cried Jewel and instantly they were off again.

“Further up and further in!” roared the Unicorn, and no one held back. They charged straight at the foot of the hill and then found themselves running up it almost as water from a broken wave runs up a rock out at the point of some bay. Though the slope was nearly as steep as the roof of a house and the grass was smooth as a bowling green, no one slipped.

And then, finally, they reach great golden gates. For a moment no one was brave enough to try to open the gates. They were unsure of themselves and their worthiness.

“Dare we? Is it right? Can it be meant for us?” (Oh, how often we think this and deny ourselves God’s blessings!)

But while they were standing thus a great horn wonderfully loud and sweet, blew from somewhere inside that walled garden and the gates swung open.

Tirian stood holding his breath and wondering who would come out. And what came out was the last thing he had expected: a little, sleek, bright-eyed Talking Mouse with a red feather stuck in a circlet on its head and its left paw resting on a long sword. It bowed, a most beautiful bow, and said in its shrill voice:

“Welcome, in the Lion’s name. Come further up and further in.”

Okay. Maybe I have chosen wisely and well. Do I have the courage? Can I grow past doubt and feelings of unworthiness to venture into more of what the Lord has for me this year?

Do you?

Join me, my friends! Further up and further in!

(If you’ve never read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis—oh! You must, you must!)


Focus Word for 2020 — 5 Comments

  1. What a wonderful call, “further up and further in”. I thank you for sharing this. It’s an inspiration to us to not settle, but to always strive to be all He created us to be. Great post!