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New Year's Goals for 2017


With a nudge from one of my writing groups I’ve finally made my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017. Only I’m calling them my ‘Goals for the New Year.’ It sounds better, more ‘do-able.’ I think the mentality of making a resolution for the new year is more of ‘how long will it take until I’ve broken it.’ With setting goals, it’s more likely to be something to shoot for.

Once again, I tried to set goals that are attainable. Something to reach for, but something that I know I can do if I really try. So here goes!

1—Finish one awful picture book first draft every other month, with 3 ready-to-go picture books by the end of 2017. This will be the most challenging, but also fun. And, there is an underlying goal here—to keep a regular schedule of writing.

If I’m not picky about how good my writing is at the start, I’m more likely to write something. And the more I write, the better I get at it. I’m hoping that one of those ‘awful’ first drafts sticks in my head and won’t let go until I get it right! The ‘awful’ picture book drafts are what most of us start off with when we begin a new book. Then many revisions later, it starts to shape up, and finally becomes a great book.

2—Work on more picture books in verse. With A HIPPY-HOPPY TOAD (formerly A Toad in the Road) I got a taste of how much fun it is to work with the language of a picture book, through the verse. It’s more than just a story. It’s how much fun it is to read the words and phrases out loud, too. I want more of that! Whether it’s in rhyme or not.

3—Submit some of my poems to magazines. I have poems that I wrote for picture book collections that were ‘left-over’ when the books were finished. I think there must be some place for them. It would also give me a sense of accomplishment to see my work published in another place for kids to read.

4—Create a facebook author page, and update my website. Having a separate author page on facebook would give readers someplace to look for updates on my writing and author appearances, and my books. It also would be a separate place for me to share other children’s author news and book signings.

5—Read blogs written by children’s authors, editors and agents more often, and check in to twitter more consistently. If I put it on my calendar, I’ll most likely do it.

6—Read 10 picture books a month (easy-peasy), and one grown-up book, just for fun! It’s taking the time to read more of the adult novels that I want to read that’s the challenge here. I had my cataract surgery last year, so it should be easier to do now with better eyesight. I’ll put it on my calendar…

7—Start thinking about what I can do for A HIPPY-HOPPY TOAD. My picture book comes out from Schwartz & Wade in Spring of 2018. The publisher does a lot for my book, from sending it out for reviews ahead of publication, to putting it in their catalogs and on their website and getting it into bookstores. But there are also things that I can do to let my readers, my friends and hometown know that I have this awesome book coming out. This is not my strong point, by far. So I need to look at the lists of advice from my friends who are published children’s authors, check online for information, and ask my publisher if they have suggestions.

I think my 2017 writing plate is full! But who knows what’s to come down the road as we start another new year! Wishing you all a Happy 2017, with goals to keep you on track!  Read More 
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Happy New Year’s Resolutions!


Happy New Year—2016! Once again I’m thinking of resolutions that will improve my writing life, and my life in general. It’s nice when your resolutions actually push you to do better, and when you see the difference it makes when you follow them. It’s very encouraging, and validating.

Every year I find myself repeating past resolutions. Write more, read more, eat less…. When you think about it, some things can always be improved upon. No matter how much effort I put into my writing last year, I can always improve on that somehow this year. The same goes with other areas of my life.

I read friend and author Margo Dill’s blog post last week. She talked about focusing on ‘one-word for 2016’ in place of making New Year’s resolutions. The idea came from the book One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon, Jimmy Page, and Dan Britton. The way that it works is that you choose ONE WORD as a theme for your life for ONE YEAR and live your life focused on that one word.

If I were to choose one word, it might be the same as Margo’s—Organization. But I am a list-maker! So under ‘organization’ I would probably list things like—

Organize my day to include reading (sub-headings: for pleasure, for learning), writing, social media, family, friends, prayer, meals, walking, etc.

Organize my files so that I can find what I’m looking for!

Organize my calendar—so I know what I’m doing!

Organize my website, so other people know what I’m doing.
And so on, and so on…

Whichever way works best for you, I hope that you find more time for those things in your life that are important to you, and that you love to do. I hope that you discover what is important to you in your life, and that you find ways to fit those things into your days. And I wish you many blessings this year!

I’ve seen 2016 referred to as ‘Sweet 16.’ Wishing you all 'Sweet Success' in this new year!

You can find information and resources about creating your own one word on this website: http://getoneword.com  Read More 
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Looking Ahead in 2015!


Here it is, already the 2nd day of the new year! I have my my never-ending list of things-to-do in front of me. Mostly it’s a continuation from 2014. I made some mental new year’s resolutions, but now I really need to get them down on paper! It’s always more permanent when you write it down. So, here goes.

Resolution—Read more for pleasure: one adult book and one children’s book each month. I get so caught up in ‘getting things done’ sometimes that I don’t take the time to read just because I love to read! And also as a writer, this is so important. I’m on top of that one already. I finished one of my new books last night, a mystery/suspense. And I have the next ones on the lamp table, ready to pick up and start reading.

Resolution—Write one hour a day (on manuscripts), five days a week. Ok, this doesn’t sound like much, but it gets me into the chair. And I know that once I sit down to write I’ll be there much longer than one hour. Plus, on those days when my schedule is determined by things other than myself, I’ll figure out a way to take at least an hour to work on my writing—eg: take it with me, or stay up an hour later.

Resolution—Revise current manuscripts: complete one every 2 months. Complete! Finished! Ready to send out.

Resolution—Work on new manuscripts: one completed draft every 2 months. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Resolution—Follow up on manuscripts that are out to editors and agents more consistently. The newest trend at publishing houses seems to be ‘if you don’t hear from us in three months, assume we are not interested.’ However, if I’ve met someone at a conference who accepts submissions from attendees, I would expect to hear from them. I have two submissions from conferences that I need to follow up on, now. My resolution is to do that within the next week. As for other submissions, my plan is to follow up with a letter after 3 to 4 months.

Resolution—Be a more consistent blogger: twice a month, and more often if I can. I‘d love to do this every week, but I really think I can do it 2 times a month. Anything over that will be a bonus.

Resolution—Learn how to tweet! I signed up for an account on twitter long ago, but never learned how to tweet, re-tweet, or what a hashtag is! If I don’t get it before then, I’ve signed up for a program through Missouri SCBWI on Marketing and Social Media in March.

This is my plan, for my writing, in 2015. I made a separate plan, on how to keep my resolutions.
1—I try to make resolutions that I really think I can keep.
2—I try to make my resolutions specific. For example, read two books a month, instead of read every month. Revise ‘one manuscript every two months,’ instead of just ‘revise my manuscripts.’
3—I plan to re-evaluate my resolutions from time to time, probably every three months. Have I set them high enough? Too high?

Ok, my new year’s resolutions are ‘on paper’ so there’s no backing down now! Take the plunge, and get yours written down, too, before January slips away!  Read More 
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New Year's Resolutions!

It's that time again for making New Year's Resolutons! My resoluions always seem to be similar to the ones I made the previous year. But if I really think about it, they're a step up, and I've at least learned from my good intentions. Or maybe I'm just making excuses!

In 2010 I will-- or at least I intend to do-- the following:

Read one children's book and one grown-up book a month.
Submit a manuscript to a magazine or book publisher each month.
Finish the picture book manuscripts in my  Read More 
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