Monthly Archives: January 2014

More about goals

It’s January, so it’s goal-setting time. I’m pretty excited about that because setting goals last year proved successful for me. Yeah, some aspirations fell into that dusty place behind the desk, but that’s fine. I think most of us tend to over-do it, inspired by the spirit of the season and peer pressure. So I don’t beat myself up for those lost goals. I consider it the angel’s share, and I focus on my successes.

This month, over at Marcie Flinchum Atkins’ We’re All In This Together, Sue Heavenrich, Amie Rose Rotruck, Donna L. Sadd, Alayne Kay Christian, Vivian Kirkfield, Marcie, and I talk about writing goals for 2014, and how we expect to achieve them. Go check it out. There are links to resources that may help you.

My goals for 2014? I mentioned them in the previous post, but here’s the formal list:

  • Write at least one new PB manuscript per month.
  • Revise at least one PB manuscript per month.
  • Submit at least one PB manuscript per month. (Being a GOLD member of Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge will help me achieve these first three goals. If you’re writing PBs, think about joining 12×12. You have until 2/28/14 to join, then the door to this BEST thing you can do for yourself slams shut. Go. Now. Really. Stop reading this blah-blah-blog and sign up.)
  • Continue to read lots of picture books. The focus is on books that are the best examples of the craft and to better understand what’s going on in the industry (what gets published).
  • Study craft. Take classes. Attend workshops and conferences. Improve skills.
  • Sign with an agent. Not just any agent. I’m very particular about whom I’ll choose as my partner in this business.
  • Give back to the community. Last year, I volunteered at the New England SCBWI spring conference, as a Cybils judge, and as a forum moderator for the 12×12 challenge. I’ll probably do the same this year (though I’m off to a rough start in 12×12, having been too sick to spend much time in the Forum these last two weeks). I’m also coordinating an NESCBWI workshop for PB writers that will be held in March, and I’ve taken a leadership role with my SCBWI crit group. Lastly, I’ll continue to share my favorite PB reads on my blog each month.

Sorry, angels. I expect to reach all these goals this year. I’ll have to share something else with you in 2014. Will you take my great and undying appreciation for sticking with me to my successful end? I thought so. Thanks!

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Goals: old ones, new ones

I have a lot to cover in this post, so let’s jump right in.

First of all, if you aren’t writing down your goals for 2014, stop reading right now and go do it. It will remind you where you want to go. It will make you more accountable. It will help you succeed. Be specific and break the goals down into achievable tasks. Here’s a great tool from Katie Davis that can help you set and track your goals.

In 2013, I wanted to read 500 picture books. I read 501. Each month, I wanted to draft one new PB manuscript, edit at least one, and submit at least one. At year end, I have 10 new manuscripts, 17 revisions, and 19 submissions.

I also had two other goals I knew by February wouldn’t happen, so those were eliminated early. I think it’s important to reevaluate your objectives once you’ve gained a little distance from the January resolution-setting frenzy.

The really big deals in 2013? One, I got my first kidlit contract for a story in Highlights magazine. Woo hoo! I’m so thrilled! Two, my proposal to produce a workshop for PB writers for NESCBWI was accepted and will be held in March 2014. More about that in an upcoming blog or go here. And three, I was a judge in the Cybils Fiction Picture Book category. It was a tough job, but so much fun to work with Pam Coughlin of the Cybils organization and the other judges: Laura Given, Dawn Mooney, Jodell Sadler, Caryn Schafer, Melissa Wiley, and Paula Willey. See the 2013 Finalists list here.

This year, I want to continue studying PBs and writing for that market, but I want to expand into writing for older kids. I also want to research agents and publishers in more depth, take more workshops, and study the craft. By year end, I want to have a dozen or so polished manuscripts and an agent representing me. Watch me do it.

What will I see you do in 2014?

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Kicking off the new year

I cheered in the new year last night with my sweetie, and this afternoon we partied with friends. This year, this is how it’ll go, I hope. I’m going to enjoy the year, make adventures, see what I can do to surprise myself.

And I’m going to work my butt off to meet some writing goals. More about that, and my 2013 accomplishments, in another post. For now, I want to tell you about my first challenge of the year, because if you write for kids, you might want to leap into this with me.

Shannon Abercrombie has put together “Start the Year Off Write 2014,” 21 days of writing exercises to get the challenge participants jived and writing. Interested? Go here to learn more. Hurry. It begins January 5.

I’m hoping this challenge works in concert with another one I’m doing in January — “ReviMo,” a week dedicated to revising what’s already been written. Picture book manuscripts, that is. This challenge is the work of the ever-supportive Meg Miller.

If you write PBs, find out more about this challenge here.

Speaking of challenges, I hadn’t mentioned on my blog that I would be participating in PiBoIdMo in November 2013 (Tara Lazar’s baby). Well, I did participate, and came up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days, which is the goal behind the challenge. Well, actually, I did it in the last five or so days of the month.  (November was otherwise challenging.) With those ideas and the extra large batch I have from the previous year, I’m armed and ready for Start Off the Year Write and ReviMo.

Let’s go then! Pencils poised…begin.

 

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