anti-resolutionFour years ago I wrote a blog post that garnered quite a bit of attention. It was titled, 2012 Anti-Resolution Revolution. I skipped 2013, but got back on track in 2014 and have stuck with the tradition. Now it’s time to reveal successes from 2015, and I’ve asked participants in my 12 Days of Christmas for Writers program to do the same.

Here is an excerpt from the original post:

It is so tempting to start listing all the things one wants to accomplish at the start of a New Year, but in my experience, the process (and thus the result) is flawed.

I believe the reason resolutions often don’t work is because they start from a place of lack, of negativity, of failure.  We think about all the things we weren’t happy with in the previous year and set out to “fix” them in the new one…  Lose weight = I weigh too much…  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.  Write more often = I don’t write enough

There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals, and achieving them is even better.  However, the goals need to be set on a strong foundation… Let’s first celebrate success and then determine how to carry that forward into the New Year rather than berating ourselves for what did not get done

It is CRITICAL to reflect on what you DID accomplish in the previous year. How else can you build from the base you already have? If you don’t take the time to tally up and celebrate what you’ve already accomplished, your resolutions will crumble. You’ll be starting from scratch in every category, and starting from scratch feels scary.

Here is what GOALS (vs. resolutions) look like when crafted this way. Lose weight = What did I do last year to improve my health, and what can I do to continue that progress? Make more money = How much money did I make last year, from which sources, and how can I increase output from those sources and add new ones? Write more often = What did I write this year and how am I going to use that writing in the new year while also writing new stories/articles/books, etc.?

Because I am a firm believer that it takes far more courage to celebrate and compliment yourself than it does to criticize and berate yourself, I’ve invited 12 Days of Christmas for Writers participants to post their successes on their blogs and websites too. Feel free to share links to your posts in the comments here!

Here is a list of my major professional accomplishments of 2015. 

  1. This was the year of revision. Nine out of twelve months this year were focused on MAJOR revisions to multiple manuscripts. All of those manuscripts ended up on submission.
  2. Two of my manuscripts made it all the way to acquisitions, one at two different publishing houses. Although those ended up as rejections, I got feedback about how “gorgeous” and “evocative” my writing was. I was also invited to revise and resubmit, which I am working on now.
  3. One of the manuscripts I’ve been working on all year is a picture book biography. I can honestly say it’s been the most difficult and most rewarding writing I’ve ever done.
  4. I wrote two new picture book manuscripts.
  5. I once again shepherded the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge participants through a year of writing, revising, submitting, and SUPPORTING. With almost 800 members in 2015, I take pride in the fact that the community still feels like family.
  6. Successfully launched the brand new 12 x 12 webinar series with fabulous speakers such as author/editor Emma Walton Hamilton, agent Jill Corcoran, author Jane Yolen, and editor Emma Dryden.
  7. A Jefferson County school got a grant to buy 300 copies of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN, and I spent the whole day at their school presenting to each elementary grade. One of the most rewarding author experiences I’ve ever had.
  8. Speaking of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN, my agent Erzsi Deak sold Korean rights. The book has been translated into Korean and will likely go on sale in Korea this coming year.
  9. Co-hosted and launched the first-ever Picture Book Summit, an online conference that boasted keynote speakers Peter Brown, Andrea Davis Pinkney, and Mac Barnett. With more than 700 registrants, it was a smashing success.
  10. With my partner Emma Walton Hamilton, fully updated and re-launched The Complete Picture Book Submissions System.
  11. I managed to get my taxes done, which showed a nice increase in income from 2013 to 2014.
  12. I sought more professional help, which I desperately needed.
  13. Came up with 30+ new picture book ideas in this year’s PiBoIdMo
  14. I managed to keep up with my work despite suffering a pinched nerve due to a bulging disc in my cervical spine. The injury was quite debilitating, and while I’m much, much better, I’m still recovering. So I honestly need to give myself credit for all I accomplished in the last six months of the year, given most of it was done while in chronic pain.
  15. Attending the Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference in September, seeing old friends and making new, and learning loads in the post-conference picture book intensive.
  16. Spoke at two SCBWI Connect local events – one in Boulder and one in Colorado Springs (virtually)
  17. Was a guest lecturer at a University of Colorado Children’s Literature course. Super fun!!
  18. Presented a 12 x 12 webinar on crowdfunding
  19. Spoke with an editor at Scholastic for an hour, soaking up advice on possible revisions for my picture book biography.
  20. Got 20 agents for 12 x 12 in 2016 lined up BEFORE Christmas, plus five webinar speakers, and eight professional “critique ninjas,” a new feature for 2016. For once, I feel pretty organized for the launch of 12 x 12.

Now it’s your turn to make YOUR list! Share in the comments if you’d like! 🙂

Categories: 12 x 12, Agents, Children's Books, Creativity, Goals, Holidays, My Love For You Is The Sun, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Publishing, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,



  1. I’m loving all of your accomplishments, Julie…and as a 12x12er, I get to benefit from many of them. 😉 😉 Thank you for being a leader we are excited to follow. 🙂 🙂

  2. Wow, Julie! What a fabulous year of accomplishments! You ROCK! (And you help so many others — including me — to do so, too. Thank you!)

  3. This is so great Julie I look forward to this new world of KidLit that I have found…the best to you in 2016…

  4. what a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing it – and you great list of successes.

  5. You improved your foundation, Julie. Can clearly see your 2016 path to success. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. That’s great, Julie! Here are my professional accomplishments of 2015:
    • I self-published a picture book that I co-authored with my adult daughter, Emily Bush, What Do Moms Do?, Illustrated by Lisa Thiesing.
    • The biography I had written in 2013/14 for Rosen Publishing, Rachel Maddow: Primetime Political Commentator, was published.
    • I helped my mother, Betty Farber, publish her first book of poetry titled, My New York: City Poems.
    • I wrote six preschool curriculum books for educational publisher Six Red Marbles.
    Best wishes for 2016!

  7. Wow! That’s an impressive and inspiring list!

  8. I love this post! I’m going to print it and use it as motivation! This fall, I found myself in a bit of a creative rut and kept asking myself “Where am I going?” I had read about pushing creativity by facing new fears. So… I auditioned for a role and performed as Peter Quince in a community college production of Midsummer Night’s Dream! Although I’m not going to run off and become an actress anytime soon, I loved every minute of it and it gave me new insights and experiences that I was craving.

  9. Thank you, Julie, for motivating me to think about my accomplishments rather than my failures. I also thank you for 12X12 with its incentives and inspiration. Thanks to you, I have written my 12 mss and done many revisions. 2016 can only get better!

  10. Jamie LB Deenihan

    I love how you encourage us to look at what we DID accomplish in 2015 vs. feeling bad or guilty about what we didn’t accomplish. My list of writing accomplishments is actually pretty lengthy despite a challenging year for my family. Thank you for the motivation to continue on this journey! Happy New Year!

  11. It’s so easy to focus on negative things, like rejections or unfulfilled hopes. Thank you for encouragement to focus on accomplishments instead. Being part of the 12 x 12 community has helped me accomplish many writing goals, including 12 new picture book manuscripts in 2015! Thank you and congrats on all your accomplishments!

  12. That’s an impressive Ta-Dah List! Here’s to revisions!

  13. Great way to go into the new year. Impressive list of accomplishments.

  14. Congratulations on doing so much! I made a nice list that includes writing a book and revising a poetry collection. Wishing you health in this new year and success.

  15. I was a ball of fire until September, writing new drafts and revising. Since then, we bought a house and moved, leaving the live/work loft we’d inhabited for the past 17 years. Am still trying to regain my footing but am determined to start off the new year with a “to do” list. I am very excited to “grow” from gold to silver status now that I have an agent. Congrats on all you’ve achieved this year! You are a source of inspiration for us all. Cheers!

  16. That is a very VERY impressive list! Wow! You are one industrious lady, and you didn’t even list any of your “Mom” accomplishments, of which I’m sure there are many.

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