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Introducing the Theme for February: Tenacity

I have a long list of themes that I’m going to work through in 2009 - enough for at least a theme a month to see me safely through to the start of a new decade (gulp).

“Tenacity” isn’t on the list.

But when I looked back at some of the conversations that came up in January about audacity and audacious goals, when I thought about how so many of us feel in February after the newness of the New Year has worn off and spring still seems like a distant promise… it was tenacity that sprang to mind.

It seemed to be the natural complement to the jumps and leaps that audacity suggests, turning our attention instead to the slow, dogged, persistent steps we need to make things happen.  It felt like the right thing to write about this month.  Or perhaps it’s just what I’m needing to hear.


Persistence, determination, perseverance, doggedness, strength of purpose, tirelessness, indefatigability, resolution, resolve, firmness, patience, purposefulness, staunchness, steadfastness, staying power, endurance, stamina, stubbornness, intransigence, obstinacy, obduracy, pertinacity

(From the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus)

Determination by Joanna Young

Chosen because it’s one thing to have audacious goals: another thing entirely to stick with them.

If you’ve got a writing project that you need to keep working on, or find the extra motivation to polish, or finish, or publish or sell… stick around in February and let’s see if we can’t celebrate some tenacious successes together.

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  1. Ulla Hennig
    Twitter: ullahe

    what a great theme! Do you know that 2009 is the Chinese year of the Ox - and oxen are famous for their tenacity? They are slow, but they keep plodding on and they are moving the cart.
    I have been so audacious and am now blogging three times a week. But without tenacity I am afraid I would not stick to that schedule. So, as you wrote, tenacity is the complement of audacity.

    Ulla Hennigs last blog post..The Lord of the Dance

  2. Brad Shorr says:

    Joanna, Great theme, of course, but I’ll have to say you surprised me with this one. I was sure you’d pick something to do with love, relationships … being Valentine’s Day month. But I guess JJL has that covered. Anyway, if anyone saw the Super Bowl yesterday, they witnessed an amazing demonstration of tenacity from both teams. Imagine if we could write with that kind of tenacity! To never give up, never say die.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Twitter - The One Stop Social Media Shop

  3. Karen Swim
    Twitter: karenswim

    Wow, Joanna it’s as if you read my mind and knew exactly what I needed this month. Tenacity is the perfect follow-on to audacity. It can be even more difficult to stick to it when you are not seeing immediate results. You begin to doubt your audacious goals and there is a temptation to retreat to the comfort of your old ways. I look forward to this month and know that by the end of February I’ll be that much closer to my goals!

    Karen Swims last blog post..And the Theme is Love

  4. Wyatt at Pan Historia says:

    This is really a timely reminder of my own path and how I need to be tenacious to achieve my goals. Sometimes I have such an urge to lay down my tools and rest, but I haven’t completed the task at hand.

    Wyatt at Pan Historias last blog post..Do You Want to Be a Great Writer?

  5. Andrew says:


    A wonderful idea for your new theme.

    Someone once said that success is two per cent inspiration and ninety-eight per cent perspiration.

    Not to question the value of creative ideas, imagination and inspiration - these are wonderful virtues - but I would highly doubt that any form of great feat can be achieved without the tenacity to stick with it and see it through until the required tasks are complete.

    Andrews last blog post..How healthy is Apple’s disclosure?

  6. Janice Cartier says:

    Tenacity it is. Smiling here. I love that theme. One painting on tenacity, coming up.

    Janice Cartiers last blog post..Right Down To The Wire

  7. Gennaro says:

    That’s the perfect theme for February. For most, the excitement of their New Year’s resolutions has worn off. Many have fallen into their old habits or patterns. With a continued winter looming, February becomes the time to dig in your heels and push your goals forward.

    I think we should view our New Year goals as we do our mission statements for businesses or blogs. Something to build upon and center our life around. That makes them easier to achieve.

    Gennaros last blog post..Groundhog Day In Punxsutawney: A Travel Guide

  8. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Ulla, thanks for reminding me about the year of the ox. That’s a nice tie in… maybe there’s a post in it. Thanks. I feel the same about some of my writing and other goals - setting them is one thing, making them happen something else entirely.

    Brad, I’m afraid I always resist what’s expected of me! Plus I’m a bit anti-love. That sounds awful… but I don’t like schmaltz. ‘Fraid I missed the Superbowl - I was following it on Twitter, but most people were talking about the adverts! Very odd.

    Karen, yes that’s it absolutely. I often feel like we’re on similar paths - I wasn’t reading your mind, but trying to fathom my own. I like the feeling we’re stumbling along together ;-)

  9. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Wyatt hello, and thanks for taking the time to hare that. Boy, sometimes I feel like putting down my tools too… but like you say, there’s still work to be done, so there’s nothing for it but to keep on going.

    Andrew I agree - it’s one thing to have a concept or an idea, another to turn it into something of value, or to complete what you set out to do

    Janice Well you’re ahead of me - you’ve already stuck to your guns and achieved your deadline! And a beautiful painting ;-)

    Gennaro I like that: Something to build upon and center our life around. It’s working from a value set, a way of being rather than a set of specific tasks… and then making that central to what we do. Thanks.

  10. Bo says:

    I’ve always liked this quote about tenacity, or persistence as I am more likely to say.

    “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” I don’t have an author on this, but I’ve had this in one of my journals for years.

    Great theme - especially for February!

    Bos last blog post..And So Today the Sun Shines

  11. David Atkinson says:

    Awesome theme Joanna,

    As a newbie to blogging I welcome this theme as we need to be reminded at times that it is tenacity that will see us through.

    Tenacity is a theme I will be following as it is an area that I am still weak in.

    Now to get those unpublished posts completed.

    David Atkinsons last blog post..3 Bloggers I Would Love To Meet

  12. Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome says:

    Whenever I think of the word tenacity, I picture a terrier holding onto a chew toy and not letting go, not matter how much shaking or lifting goes on.

    And that’s how I picture my desire to succeed with my blog. I too have jaws of steel and I won’t let go. ;)

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndromes last blog post..Getting through it on your own: The Deep Friar interview

  13. Lillie Ammann says:


    Tenacity is a wonderful choice for theme this month. I’m reminded of a quote (though I don’t recall the exact words or who said it): A published writer is an unpublished writer who kept submitting.

    Lillie Ammanns last blog post..500 Posts … Now What?

  14. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Bo Thanks for sharing the quote… I’m going to grab it for my quote post next week. Your daily blogging schedule is a great example of how tenacity pays off… and takes you into places you couldn’t anticipate when you set out on that journey

    David, yes, tenacity and patience are definitely qualitities that will help in the early days of a blog… sometimes it feels like it’s not worth it, but you just need to keep going, keep writing, keep building it up and then you reach a point where it starts to take care of itself… But slow and steady is fine. How about just finishing off one of those unpublished posts for now?

    Alex great image, thanks! I will forever now associate someday syndrome with jaws of steel…

  15. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Hi Lillie, I’m glad people are finding it a useful theme for February. I like the quote about submission. Like Alex said, there are qualities of doggedness (literally!) that writers need as well as the creative aptitude. Congrats again on the 500 post milestone.

  16. Terry Heath
    Twitter: terryheath

    As others have said, February is a time when January’s bright new resolutions are called to task. I look forward to your upcoming encouragements to be tenacious.

    I’ve heard you have to do something 21 times to make it a habit. Since February has 28 days, it gives a little extra time for slow starters like me.

    Terry Heaths last blog post..Crows and Social Proof

  17. Rosa Say says:

    Mmmm… licking my lips with this one Joanna. Resolve, as opposed to my Taurean stubbornness, has always been one of my favorite self-coaching words. Yet also asking myself, “with what?” and “for the sake of what?” so I don’t fall in that trap of being tenacious with ill-conceived decisions. As you know I have just returned from a trip which seemed to somewhat delay the New Year for me, and I am feeling like I am having a second chance at the first week of the year right now!

    Thus I agree with the comments shared here about your tenacious follow-up being good to audacious, and an assumption we’ve already taken that journey of good preparation with you. If not, your archives are a very wonderful thing…

    Rosa Says last blog post..Set your price, charge it, and stand behind it

  18. wilson says:

    Another incredible theme from Joanna. I’m looking forward to read on your piece of words!

    wilsons last blog post..Too Hot and Too Spicy is Bad For Your Health!

  19. [...] of the reasons I decided to go with tenacity as the theme for this month is that it’s just what I’m needing myself.  And although I [...]

  20. Davina says:

    Hi Joanna. You’ve got me thinking that in February we should renew our vows (resolutions) — if they’re not serving us, there’s no need to give up. Just re-invent or adjust, and then sprinkle with some of this tenacity you’ve mentioned. A perfect theme for this month.

    Davinas last blog post..Guest Post: Emotions — The Universal Language

  21. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Wilson, it’s good to hear that the theme is going down well with you all. Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback.

  22. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Davina, I was thinking similar thoughts - we get a chance with each new month to set out with determination and resolve, not just January. In fact, why not set out like that with each day? (She says, to herself…)

  23. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Terry, that’s a good point about 21 times… yep, we’ve still got enough days left to get where we want to be :-)

  24. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Rosa, yes, I think they’re approaches that need to go together, and, as always, coupled with good intention. Which I hope is the way of answering - or at least exploring - “for the sake of what?”.

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