Looking back on 2015, it can be easy to get bogged down with all the things we hoped for that DIDN'T happen. That's why I love Julie Hedlund's 12 Days of Christmas videos. It focuses on all the positive of this year and helps us look forward to a new year.
I'm on Day 3 of the program, and would love to share some of my writerly successes...
This year my writing focus has been polishing and submitting picture books. I have two complete MGs that I put into an virtual drawer, so that I could hone in on my picture book manuscripts. For the most part, I've stayed focused and count that as a Success.
Some of my smaller successes were making a Calendar of Events here on this website, meeting and following many awesome bloggers in the kidlit community, and hitting the send button on queries (you don't know what nerve-wrecking decision that is for me!).
What was your writing focus this year? How did staying focused help you?
This year has been full of opportunities! I count each one that I grabbed a definite success.
1. I've had a GREAT year at The Writers Bloc - the local writing group I facilitate. Aside from hosting 6 awesome speaker events, I also maintained a monthly newsletter and Facebook page, which will continue through 2016. At one of the events, I was invited to join a picture book critique group...
2. Which I joined and LOVE! We meet once a month and the critiques have been invaluable. Thanks Bookstormers!
3. I continued my membership of SCBWI, which led me to volunteer at the Spring Spirit Conference. Wow, what an experience! Because of that conference another opportunity opened up...
4. Assisting at the Children's Book Academy. There were too many opportunities to name during those classes.
5. I took every free picture book related challenge I could find: ReFoReMo, PiBoIdMo, and Kidlit Summer School just to name a few. As a result, I was successful at reading mounds of books, thinking up 90 ideas, and thickening my plots.
6. I got to be a guest on some impressive blogs, and successfully sold a couple articles to the Children's Book Insider.
7. I entered Susanna's Halloweensie and Holiday contests, successfully garnishing some amazing comments.
8. I got to be a guest teacher for 8th Grade ELA! We talked about Point of View (which fits in with the State Standards... I checked) and discussed the differences between 1st 2nd and 3rd person POV. It was amazing! I can't wait until I'm published and get to do that more often as an author.
What opportunities did you grab this year? How did they lead to other opportunities?
It might seem strange, but some of my successes this year include the opportunities I DIDN'T take. So here are some times I successfully said, "No," and am glad I did... or glad I didn't... well, you know what I mean.
1. Earlier this year, I was offered the opportunity to be a permanent part of the regional volunteer team of SCBWI. Ultimately, I passed on it. As much as I would have LOVED this, I know I am not in a phase of life where I could. It was the hardest "No" I said this year, but in the end I'm glad I did.
2. While I enjoyed assisting at the Children's Book Academy, I eventually stepped down from that opportunity. The classes I assisted with fit my writing focus, but the other classes did not, and helping out ate into my writing time. So I said, "No more" and realigned my time with writing picture books.
3. When November rolled around and my kidlit writer friends decided to do NaNoWriMo, I decided not to. If I wrote a 50K-word picture book... that would just be scary. And not in a good way.
4. This year I limited the number of critiques I gave. Of course I continued to critique those I'd committed to, but was careful not to take on anymore than I could handle. Sometimes, I said "No" or "Not yet" when it came to critiquing manuscripts.
What have you said "No" to this year? How has saying "No" turned out for the better?
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)