So it's the first week of January (okay, maybe the second), but in all fairness, I'm going to give us all until the end of this week to get our resolutions in check. If you're a writer, it is tempting to look back on the past year and dwell on all the things that didn't take. But the disappointing things are often things like 'passes' (aka rejections) that we can't control. It is ridiculous to set a goal of 'selling three picture books' because the actual 'sell' part is beyond my control. What IS within your control is to set a goal of writing three picture books and preparing them for submission. So here's what I can control: I can write every day. I can prepare and send a magazine submission every week. I can write twelve picture book manuscripts in twelve months. (see 12X12 in 12) I can do art pages every day, and art dates every week. I can attend at least two craft courses in 2012. I can read all the new books. I can brainstorm new ideas, and keep honing my work. I can nurture and encourage young writers, and pay it forward. So that's the spirit of my resolution list this year.
I have a few 'Writer Challenges' I'd like to propose for all the writers out there. Here are a few things you may want to consider for your resolution list:
1. Enter at least one manuscript contest this year. For example, Highlights has a fiction contest every January. The prize is $1000 or free tuition to a Highlights course. But again, your goal is to ENTER.
2. Participate in 12X12in12. This challenge is to write twelve picture books in twelve months in 2012, i.e. one completed picture book manuscript a month. A tough goal, but look what you'll have at the end of 2012 (in addition to being a year older).
3. Participate in National Novel Writing Month in November. (NaNoWriMo) There is no better self-directed, tuition-free growth and learning experience for a writer than NaNoWriMo. I try to do it every year, and I am always amazed at the results--even when I'm not a 'winner'. If you are serious about writing, you must participate in NaNoWriMo at least once.
4. Participate in PiBoIdMo--the Picture book writing equivalent of NaNoWriMo. In PiBoIdMo, you generate a picture book idea and rough outline a day every day for a month. At the end of the month, you have thirty picture book ideas and notes. It was a GREAT way to prep for 12X12in 2012. Another author sponsors a similar event that lasts a week if you want to start on a smaller scale.
5. Consider an accountability partner. My accountability partner and I email goals to one another every day and then accountability at the end of the day (basically, did I do my stuff or not). It is an enormous motivator to know that someone is noticing whether or not you accomplish your goals every day.
6. Read a chapter a day in some sort of craft book like BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott or ON WRITING by Stephen King or THE WAR OF ART. These books will inspire you and keep you on track.
Okay, fellow writers, I'm sending out the love. May 2012 be YOUR YEAR.
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.