I’ve been wrestling with and working on this post in my head for weeks now but every line I tried to open with sounded cliché and I keep talking myself out of it. (Hence the reason I didn’t even get it posted in 2017.) Like so many others, I’ve been in a reflective mood. Here are the facts: 2017 was an interesting year for my family, one filled with opportunities, challenges and celebrations. We hit a few mini-milestones (All of our kiddos can put on their own shoes! Everyone can ride a bike! We took our first plane ride as a family!) and added one adorably enthusiastic chocolate lab to the mix. From a writing standpoint, it was a year of great success, a few rejections (5/5) and wonderful connections. Because I believe in the power the importance of celebrating success, big, small or otherwise I challenged myself to list out all of my Kid Lit accomplishments for the past year. I need this on paper, so I can refer back to it anytime I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. I need it to serve as a reminder that I’m laying the foundation now, so that hopefully I can have a prolific writing career one day. I need to know exactly where I am now, where I’ve come from and where I hope to go.
So, in 2017, I…
- Started a blog, which was something I had been thinking of for months. Since I started on February 9, I’ve posted 61 times and found 73 followers. (I’m grateful for each and every one of you! I never dreamed I’d get more than about 10.)
- Participated in 5 contests, (KidLit College Board Book Contest, Sparkhouse Contest, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Hallowensie & Holiday Contests) generating 2 honorable mentions.
- Participated in 3 writing challenges, NaPiBoWriWee, WOW-NONFICPIC and #50PreciousWordsforKids (well, technically my daughter gets credit for that one.)
- Wrote 6+ manuscripts, brainstormed another 15+ ideas.
- Joined and have remained active in 3 critique groups, and have met an incredible group of dear friends along the way (This one holds the most weight, my friends are the greatest… It starts with a few MS swaps and before you know it you’re adding them to the Christmas card list!)
- Facilitated an online book study. We started working through Steering the Craft by Ursula le Guin. Sadly, the holidays interrupted our plans, but I hope to resume once we settle in to 2018… and maybe even start a new book!?!
- Started Paper People, a monthly debut picture book author interview series plus three lagniappe interviews (one being ANN WHITFORD PAUL!)
- Completed my challenge to read 100 Picture books in the course of one summer… (#100PictureBookSummer)
- Attended my first writing conference (Bayou Writers Group Fall Conference) P
- articipated on a book launch team (Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show and Tell by Randi Mrvos)
- Joined SCBWI
I’m proud of my list, considering how much I did not now at this time last year. And now its time to look ahead at this new year. When it comes to making resolutions, I’m like a kid in a candy store! In a wonderful podcast a few weeks back, Katie Davis (Writing for Children) gave pointers on how to set attainable goals and set yourself up for success in the 2018. My favorite nugget was something along the lines of “don’t set a goal that you have no control over.” So, in 2018 I plan to…
- Complete Storystorm (registered, 1 idea in the books!), ReforReMo, #50PreciousWords, NaPiBoWriWe, & (apply for) Writing with the Stars.
- Attend JambaLAya SCBWI Annual Conference (registered! Bonus points if I make it to another!)
- Continue Paper People, 12 interviews in 12 months (Stay tuned for Annie Silvestro!)
- Enter 6 contests
- Continue blogging, at least weekly, on a set schedule. I also hope to sprinkle in a few guest posts from other pre-published writers that I’ve met. (Week 1, check!)
- Focus submissions energy towards magazines and publishing houses.
- Attend local in-person SCWBI critique groups.
I hope you made your own list. I hope you’ve taken a moment to pat yourself on the back and I hope you have a very Happy New Year.
Thanks for reading, come back anytime!