How Many Words Does It Take To Define YOU?

Welcome to Thoughty Thursday! This is the day of the week that y’all get to be privy to whatever thoughts are kicking around in my brain.

Today, I’m thinking about how we define ourselves.

Before I go any further, I figured you should know this post is all Ginger Calem‘s fault.  She started the “10 Word” trend over on Myndi Shafer’s blog, with Natalie Hartford and Marcia Richards jumping on the WANA train and trying it. 

[What can I say? I’m a joiner and if my peeps are being all brave, I want to be brave too.]

All three of these ladies did posts summing themselves up in 10 words or less (links above). And you know what? They nailed it! In TEN words!! (OK, Marcia did ten phrases, but still…) I was completely captivated.

Note: I’m sure there’s more people who did this that I’m missing – please post the link in the comments if you did a 10 Words/Phrases blog!

I’m sitting in on Kristen Lamb’s Blogging To Build Your Brand course (which you should definitely  take if you haven’t yet) and she does an exercise where you think of 100 words that describe you.

This was the second time I’ve done this exercise (I originally took her course back in March 2011) and it’s still  a struggle. Blogging isn’t for sissies, you know.

Here’s my final “100 word” cloud:

Wife, mother, sister, daughter, writer, blogger, teacher, blood clot sufferer, survivor, pregnancy fact-gatherer, loyal, software trainer, loves to dance, intravenous coffee, night owl, gardener, funny, books trump TV, reading, wine, gluten free, beach, walking, barefoot, dance the night away, play, loathe sweating, love to talk, shower singer, wish for fitness-while-sleeping, I MISS sleeping, love my toddler, preschool is my friend, Pacific Northwest gives me Zen, travel, technology, fascinated with software, rarely bored, Disco makes me laugh, bars fascinate, romance, holding hands, sunshine, planner, organized computer, disorganized with paper, hate to file, love organized files, value friendships, miss my mom.

Did you look at that cloud like I did and say, “Holy moly!”??

Honestly, I wasn’t even sure how to divide that hodge-podge into 10 words so I took my cue from Marcia and did 10 phrases.

At first I thought of this process as: “How many licks does it take to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop,” but I decided that sounded naughty. We’ll just call this the “How many words does it take to get to the center of YOU” exercise.

And yes, I’m stalling….

Here’s Jenny in 10 Bullets or Less:

  • Rejuvenated by creativity
  • Nurtured by family and friends
  • Love to give back
  • Teaching lights my fire
  • Growing things hits my Zen button
  • Gluten-free eating changed my life
  • Thankful to be alive
  • My guilt muscle is strong but my humor muscle’s stronger
  • I dream of being an organized person (and a good singer)
  • Morning mantra: Give the scary lady some coffee

And I still left plenty out. Dang, this exercise is hard!!

Have you played the “10 Words or Phrases” game? What did you think? Do you want to share your words in the comments section? Enquiring minds always  want to know these answers here at More Cowbell!



About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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39 Responses to How Many Words Does It Take To Define YOU?

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    No, I’m not even going to go there! In my professional life I have defined myself in 300, 100, 3 words and everything in-between. But for my creative life I prefer to a bundle of contradictions, an ineffable presence, hard to pin down.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lynetteburrows says:

    Ten words? TEN?!! And I thought Kristen’s 100 words was really tough. I will have to think on this (a lot more than ten words in thought and blog . . . stay tuned) It’s a great exercise and I think you knocked it out of the park. And I have to say, I love your ‘guilt muscle’ vs ‘humor muscle’ statement.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s what I thought, Lynette! Ten just doesn’t seem to be enough. So I cheated. 🙂

      Thanks for your kind words…y’all make my day over here at More Cowbell!


  3. I love this. I think I’m going to give it a go. I can spot a number of tags in yours that I will have to apply, but my favorite is your Morning Mantra. I spend a lot of time critically thinking, but not about myself. It’s probably a really good exercise, and someday, if the gods are smiling on me, I’ll finish one of these books and have to write an author blurb. This will be good practice! Going to go check out the others now.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I think you will have to give it a go! I can’t wait to read it…send me a link when you write it. 🙂

      And p.s. You WILL finish your book. There’s no “someday” about it. In fact, set yourself some deadlines…you’ll feel better, I swear.


  4. None of these surprised me, Jenny. I’m amazed how many of these I share.

    Um. There is one error or omission. Naughty and double-entendre make me spew coffee.

    Of course, it’s your readers who are most often the victims practitioners of Jenny-induced Coffee Spew Syndrome.

    I’ve done this exercise before, but I’m not going to share it here. Why? [you don’t ask, so I ask for you] Because it’s a glob waiting to happen.


  5. Love this! Love YOU!

    …and we have the same morning mantra. Don’t try to talk to me before the coffee. The response won’t be pretty. 🙂

    Have a great day!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, I have a sleep mask that says, “BRING COFFEE!” – I use it when I’ve had a reeeeally late night. LOL.

      Thanks for the love…I’m sending it right back ‘atcha!


  6. Laura Drake says:

    Ten’s probably too many for me! Bubbly optimistic, morning person, organized, driven, plodder, extroverted-people-person, klutz.

    You miss one on yours – loyal, supportive friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:


      Laura, I think yours are fabulous, but you’re missing “problem-solver” and “creative.” Plus, I’d sub “plodder” for “disciplined” and “driven” for “dream-chaser.” Just my $0.02. 🙂


  7. LOL, love it Jenny. I’m working on this for a post as well so you’ll have to wait 😀


  8. Julie Glover says:

    Ten words are TOO many! Try just one: LOL. This was the challenge launched to Republican nominee candidates at a debate to describe themselves in one word, and one word only. Yikes! I chose passionate because it’s what I feel about my family, my values, my writing, my friends, my Lone Star state, etc.

    Actually, the 100 words exercise with Kristen Lamb was headache-producing for me. I pondered and pondered before I came up with my list. I loved reading yours! And you must have already had your coffee every time I saw you at DFW Con, because you were never “scary lady,” just fun and fabulous friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I totally laughed at your last sentence. You never saw me before I’d consumed at least 8 oz of coffee. In fact, I’d usually had about double that by then. 🙂

      I agree the 100 word exercise gave me fits the first time I did it. The second time was a LITTLE better, but not much. I still can’t believe you did it in ONE. *genuflecting*


  9. Marcia says:

    YAY, YOU! You did take my phrases to another level but you squeezed YOU into 10! It’s so frustrating because there is so much more to us than those 10. But, boy oh boy, it helps nail down your brand. Jenny Hansen: Hilarious coffee-dependent teacher/giver/friend! And that’s exactly what you’ve established here on your blog!
    @ Laura – Wow, you did it in 7!
    Fun exercise. Thanks for including me in your awesome post, Jenny!


  10. amyskennedy says:

    Cool! I just was reading about a 3 word description of ourselves, talk about stress inducing — but I do want to do it. Love your phrases, and really, they could be distilled to one word each:
    Pay it Forward (okay, okay, I know)
    etc, etc, etc.
    Of course, the beauty of your phrases is they capture your rythm/tone/humor…and we wouldn’t want to lose that!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. kittyb78 says:

    I was interviewed last week and the last question was “describe yourself in 6 words” I said, Passionate, creative, complex, down to earth. XD


  12. Sherry Isaac says:

    I’d be more interested in the ten words people would use to describe me. Then compare the lists made by people with whom I’ve shared tweets, emails and blog posts, and then the ones who really know me, live and in person, and have for many, many years.

    Take those lists, look for the common words–or the words I find most complimentary, snort!–and call that me.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Ooooh, that would be so much easier, wouldn’t it?? I’ll try that one next time, although a few commenters really took a minute to break it down and give it back to me in easier language. Imagine that… 🙂


      • Marcia says:

        Branding is more than who you are as a person or how others see you. It’s also the message, from your writing or blogging or other business, that you want to convey. So all of your words or phases, from wherever they may come, should do those two jobs – describe you and your business.


  13. andrewmocete says:

    Well, I’ll do three sentences that add up to ten words:
    Simply the best. Always modest. Because I’m a sarcastic mofo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      BAHAHAHA! This is why I’ve always had a soft spot for you, Andrew. Because you’re a sarcastic mofo like me. (Except on women they call that “snark.”)

      Thanks for the smile!


  14. Love that you showed your 100-word cloud Jenny! Awesomeness and your 10 phrases rock! They give such an incredible sense of who you are at the core….I love the one of dreaming about being a good singer…I share that dream! LOL!
    Here’s to some day rocking it out total let-loose-singing together not caring about being good but just having a blast! Woot woot! We’d totally own that stage!!
    Love the shout out girl…


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh, the ideas I now have:

      Being back-up dancers for our hubbies while they sing “Baby’s Got Back!”…
      Crooning “Dancing Queen” at the top of our warbling little lungs…
      Belting out Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” while we OWN that stage…

      I’ve gotta confess, it would take a LOT of alcohol. But the visions are marvelous. 🙂


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  16. It’s really difficult to distill yourself down in just 10 words (or even phrases). You did a fabulous job, Jenny. I got a great picture of you and as a regular follower of your blog, I can say the blog matches you and your words perfectly.

    Like Sherry, I’d love to hear which words others would pick for me.


  17. Amber West says:

    Mr. Mocete – always the card. 🙂

    I may have to give this one a try…


  18. Catie Rhodes says:

    I liked this. I did do Kristen Lamb’s 100 words challenge. Very, very hard. But it made me realize what I’d be good at blogging about. (Hint: Not me!)

    The phrases look really, really hard. I can totally relate on the one about the coffee. Yowza. I have been having iced coffee in the afternoons. I suspect I should not do this, but I *like* doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I think in this life with so many little hardships, the little joys like iced coffee are a must. Just so, the fact that you don’t blog about you makes me ever more curious about you. 🙂


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