• Emily Powell

Perfect Words for 2021

Updated: Jan 27

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it until it begins to shine.” Emily Dickinson

I was inspired through December to think about my Word of the Year for 2021. I have been amazed at how powerful and compelling it has been to ponder what word I would choose.

Reflecting on 2020

Thinking about a word for 2021 has also led me to reflect back on 2020. For many people, it was a year of sorrow and hardship, a year none could have predicted, that has changed our world forever. But for me, 2020 was a year of awakening, learning and realisations. I have awakened to the quiet inside me, who enjoys being with her family at home, who craves solitude and serenity, fresh air and freedom, and quiet intimacy with friends and loved ones. And whom, above all, wants to create and inspire.

I have always been inspired by beautiful imagery and words, I hadn't realised how much it impacts on my mindset and how beautiful creative works can lift my mood, until now.

The desire to capture emotions, memories and beauty, uplift, inspire and motivate people with my drawings, is what lives deep within me

2020 has taught me many things about business too. For almost 20 years, I have worked in finance and corporate roles in large organisations, but in the evenings and at weekends through 2020 I have also been working to grow my little fledgling illustration business. While it’s much harder work than I anticipated, it feels different – because it’s connected so deeply to my soul. In 2020 I finally found my calling.

I’ve learned that no matter how many years pass, there are new friendships and beauty to be found. I feel privileged to have met many new, amazing, inspiring and beautiful people. I have also had a year of being inspired anew be people of old, those I have known for many years, but perhaps taken for granted in a pre-pandemic world.

The realisation that taking time is not wasting time, and that being clear on my vision, my values and my mission was a process that couldn’t be rushed through; that I wouldn’t get where I wanted more quickly by burning myself to a crisp in the process.

Words for 2021

So what of 2021? I have chosen not to set resolutions that are gone and forgotten in days or weeks, that can lead to feelings of failure and disappointment. I have decided instead, to choose a word, or, more precisely, three words.

Words to bring clarity and focus, with deep meaning to me, that will motivate me to grow and move forward throughout the year, something lasting, something to bring hope and joy and purpose. Something to live by throughout 2021.

Words that are deeply connected to what happiness means to me and what I want 2021 to embody for me.... where my mind dwells for the year ahead


Creativity is my passion and is at the core of what I do, in my illustrations and also in the way that I interpret each brief so that it is imaginative, inventive and unique.

But it means more than just the literal alignment with what I do. I want to create a thriving business that’s more than a side gig, I want to create the systems that will help me to succeed and I want to create beautiful and heartfelt designs that will uplift and inspire my customers. I want 2021 to be a year of creating not just in my business, but in all aspects of my life. I want to create more space and time to be with my family and create beautiful and lasting memories of my children’s childhood.


Serenity is about acceptance and peace. Acceptance of who I am and being at peace with my failings and shortcomings; with being merely human. Serenity in the strength to let go of things that are beyond my control, to take time when I need it without guilt, and live without comparison or regret. Serenity in each moment, to pause and reflect, so that my words, my actions, my choices are true to my soul, and that my own serenity can extent beyond me to my family, creating peace and strength in my children.

Serenity is also about recognising and stepping aside from the overwhelm before it overtakes me, about worrying less about failure and what people think, being content.


Inspiration is what I want to create in people from the pictures that I draw.

I choose to continue to be inspired by the people in my life and the new people I will meet in 2021, and the beauty in the world that surrounds us every day.

In the words of Terry Pratchett, “Inspiration particles sleet through the universe, each heralding a moment of brilliance: a new symphony, a way of getting from A to B quicker than before, lines for a new play, or deeper understanding of something than was previously comprehended.

Most of them are doomed to miss, or to reveal their brilliance to a brick wall or a starling, which is totally unequipped to deal with the revelation.

Some however, hit the right mind at the right time, and a little later you are blinking foolishly in the TV lights and wondering how the hell you thought of sliced bread in the first place...”

I hope for some of those inspiration particles to settle with me throughout 2021 and that in some small way, the illustrations and drawings that I create for my customers will help uplift, inspire and motivate them.

So that’s it. My three words. Inspired by 2020 and my inspiration for 2021

I am (naturally) creating illustrations inspired by my words and the words of others, bringing together the story, meaning and the emotion in a single design; a gentle reminder to the soul of these intentions, as an anchor to focus on the inspiring and the uplifting, the promise and possibility of the year ahead.

What will your words be? What focus and clarity do you want to create for yourself as we move into a new year? I hope that this will inspire you to think about your Word of the Year for 2021 and that you will join me in choosing a Word (or three) for 2021.

51 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All