Piglet GratitudeI write this post to the sound of the ocean waves outside the window–quite possibly the most soothing sound on earth. Lucky me! I have much to be grateful for this week, so let’s just get started. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know my love of Rumi. All of our quotes today are his, including one that mentions the ocean. Apropos of my location.

Quotes on Gratitude

“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.”

“Gratitude is wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.”

“Love rests on no foundation. It is an endless ocean, with no beginning or end.”


Gratitude list for the week ending March 7

  1. I am grateful that my friend Lara France, who lives in England and who has never even met me in person, sent me the image I’ve shared on this post saying she “thought of me” when she saw it.
  2. Another friend, Carmela LaVigna Coyle, recommended me to the loveliest new children’s bookstore that’s opened in Denver called Second Star to the Right. I met with them on Tuesday. They not only booked me for a reading, but bought four copies of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN right out of my hands because they “couldn’t wait for their order to come in” from Baker & Taylor!
  3. Speaking of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN, I got a call from a school principal in Denver who loves the book. She invited me to come for an author visit, and… they are going to buy 300+ copies of the book!!!! One for every child in the school. Grateful for my friend Marcie Colleen who created the fabulous Teacher’s Guide for the book, which helped them make the case for funding for the book purchase.
  4. Fate put me in the path of a friend I don’t see often in the form of lunch at the Atlanta airport, making for what is no doubt the most enjoyable layover I’ve ever had.
  5. Continuing on the friendship theme, I’ve had a wonderful time working with Emma Walton Hamilton on The Complete Picture Book Submissions System. Today is the last day of our product launch, and we’ve spent countless hours working together over the past few months. It’s been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun because we were in it together.
  6. I had the honor of hosting a webinar featuring agent Jill Corcoran on Thursday. She was so generous of her time and wisdom, and it was a raging success!
  7. My kids were particularly sweet and well-behaved this week. Nuff said.
  8. Sledding with the kiddos in Carpenter Park followed by hot chocolate
  9. My stepmother treated me to this much-needed break from winter and the accumulated stress of two of the busiest months I’ve ever had. I haven’t yet walked on the beach, but that is on the agenda as soon as this post goes live.
  10. My assistant Kelli, without whom my business would unravel to the point of being unrecognizable.

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, My Love For You Is The Sun, Picture Books, Travel · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Bad Query, BatmanA funny thing happened the other day (seriously, it IS funny, and it did just happen the other day). Emma Walton Hamilton and I were working on adding concept book (books where the focus is on a concept – such as ABCs or counting – rather than a narrative arc) examples to the “Hook/Pitch” Unit in The Complete Picture Book Submissions System. Since A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS is a concept book, I figured I’d go back and look for query letters I’d sent before it was published.

Emma convinced me to share my earliest one with you as proof that NOBODY starts as an expert on writing query letters and submitting. The query I am about to share with you contains many of the same errors we teach you how to avoid in the System. It also took THREE YEARS after first submitting with the query you see below before I got a publishing deal for TROOP. The manuscript improved some during that time, but honestly not much. My mistakes were mostly in my query and submission approach.

Read this query and see if you can guess what is wrong (BEFORE looking at the analysis)! If miss some of them, you owe it to yourself to check out The Complete Picture Book Submissions System. The main reason Emma and I created The System was to help you avoid train wrecks like this one and to shorten your time from submission to success.

Here it is. Take a look, then see the analysis of what went wrong.



Let’s start at the beginning.

Paragraph 1


Things don’t improve much in the second paragraph.

Paragraph 2


Not bad, but not great.

Paragraph 3


Here’s where things start to go completely off the rails.

Paragraph 4 colors (2)


Paragraph 5


One final word of caution here. One reason for the debacle that is the last paragraph of this email is because I got some horrible, no good, very bad advice from an author who taught one of the first courses I ever took on children’s book writing. She gave me a lot of other advice I had to unlearn, too. It is SO IMPORTANT to consider the source of where you are getting your information!!

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that my story has a happy ending. Shortly after I got form TROOP Coverrejections or no responses from TEN different agents and editors (!!!), I gave myself a moratorium on submissions and focused on studying the craft and the business of publishing. That’s why it took three more years before I got a book deal, and another year before I signed with my agent. (The revised query that got me success is included in our Query Clinic Module as a “before/after” example.)

Once again, the intent behind The Complete Picture Book Submissions System is to ensure you don’t make these same mistakes or any of the MANY others we cover in The System. We want to shorten your learning curve significantly, so you can go from submissions to success in, if not a single bound, at least several bounds fewer than it took me. 🙂

The System is available until 6:00 p.m. EST on March 6th. After that, we’re closing registration to the public so we can focus on our new members. If you learned ANYTHING from this post, it’s likely there are aspects of querying and submitting picture books you would learn from The System. Take a look and see if it’s for you.

Have you already purchased The Complete Picture Book Submissions System and want to leave feedback? Or do you have questions? All comments/questions are welcome!

Picture Book Submissions System

Categories: A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


12 x 12 WebinarTwo weeks ago, NYT Bestselling author, children’s literature professor and freelance editor Emma Walton Hamilton and I launched the 12 x 12 webinar series with a discussion on how to KNOW when your picture book is submission-ready.

Now we’re moving on to the submission itself. We have some exciting updates in the works to our product(s) on picture book submissions, but we need your help! So here’s the deal. If you click on this link and answer this ONE question, we’ll instantly send you a free video outlining the four essential elements of a picture book query.

The entire process (including watching the video) takes about five minutes.

Here’s the link again.

Oh, and this ONE time I have to ask you not to leave your question in the comments, but instead leave it in the survey at the link.

If you’ve already seen the Four Essential Elements of a Picture Book Query video, we’d love for you to leave feedback in the comments for others.

Please feel free to share this post with your picture book writing friends. The more responses we get, the better we’ll be able to help you with your submissions.

Thanks so much!

Categories: 12 x 12, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

First 12 x 12 Webinar in the Can!

First 12 x 12 Webinar in the Can!

I spent the bulk of this week doing a task I hate above (almost) all others, and that is bookkeeping. HOWEVER, I am grateful that I am closing in on finishing off 2014 and will actually have some organization around taxes this year. As for the rest, read on!

Quotes on Gratitude

“Gratitude can make your life happier and more satisfying. When we feel gratitude, we benefit from the pleasant memory of a positive event in our life. Also, when we express our gratitude to others, we strengthen our relationship with them.” — Martin E.P. Seligman

“Breath and life, and the opportunity to try. If you have nothing more, you always have that.” — Alicia Keys

“I’m grateful for anything that reminds me of what’s possible in this life.” — Jonathan Safran Foer

Gratitude list for the week ending 1/31

  1. Making it to the end of January! The first month of the year is always a huge challenge for me, so waking up on February 1st is a special joy.
  2. My assistant Kelli, without whom I never would have survived January!
  3. My bookkeeper, who spent yet another two hours meeting with me this week
  4. The fact that I have bookkeeping that needs to be done (I’m stretching here, but I really am trying to to find gratitude in that which makes me crazy :-))
  5. My mom, who brought me wine on a day I could not leave my desk (due to bookkeeping).
  6. Ending the month of January with 650+ members of 12 x 12! This year’s group is going gangbusters already!
  7. My new favorite, life-saving service – Taskrabbit. Very nice gentleman came to help my kids clean and organize their rooms and playrooms while I worked on bookkeeping.
  8. Hosting the first 12 x 12 webinar with my friend Emma Walton Hamilton. We filled the room and brought down the house. 🙂
  9. Unexpected snowfall to pretty-up the world
  10. Have I mentioned that I am almost finished with my 2014 bookkeeping? LOL

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: 12 x 12, Gratitude Sunday · Tags: , , , , , , , ,


anais ninThis month, November 2014, 12 x 12 has a featured post instead of a featured author post. Why is that? Well, the God’s honest truth is that I drowned in October. That funny noise you hear in the background? That’s me… glugging. Glug. Glug.

I’m always busy, but combine book launch events with travel, launching two new products within the span of a month, trying to meet writing deadlines, AND running 12 x 12, all while parenting a highly emotional middle-schooler and an active 3rd-grader and you’ve got one strung-out Julie. So when I finally came to and realized I didn’t have a featured author scheduled this month, I didn’t have the capacity to find one in time. Luckily, between Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) and Picture Book Month, there will be a smorgasbord of posts from unimaginably talented authors and illustrators for you to enjoy.

HOWEVER, don’t think for a minute that I don’t have nuggets and prizes for you. I do.

Given that Emma Walton Hamilton and I just launched The Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the submissions process. Before I got an agent, I used to dream of the day I didn’t have to submit anymore. Oh that sweet, sweet day…

Guess what? That day never comes. It’s true I don’t have to write my own submissions to editors, and that I can access publishing houses closed to unsolicited submissions. But even though it’s my agent writing and sending them, the submissions still happen. And they’re still painful, hard to bear, nerve-racking. And rejections still come in–lots of them. I suspect that until a person becomes a national, consistent best-selling author, rejections remain more common than acceptances, whether it’s your agent rejecting because the manuscript is not strong enough to submit or you do submit and editors reject.

Where am I going with this, you ask? Aren’t the monthly posts supposed to be inspirational?

Hang on. It’s coming.

Hearken to before I started submitting to agents. It took me a long time to realize that the answer was always going to be no unless I submitted. Fear of rejection is extremely powerful, especially when it comes to something as tender and personal as something you’ve written from your heart. So powerful, in fact, that rejection can keep you from allowing amazing things to happen.

While I’ve also been thinking a lot about submissions, I’ve also spent a lot of time holding my latest “baby” — MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN. Many, many heart-wrenching rejections, but now a beautiful book. A book that sprung from my soul and is now alive in the world, perhaps stirring other people’s souls. And if I hadn’t had the courage to submit – to my agent, to my publisher, it would probably still be living on my hard drive.

I’m sure many of you have seen this quote before, but it bears repeating often:

anais nin blossom

So whether you are ready to submit your work or not, don’t let fear stop you. You don’t have to cross the chasm all at once. One step at a time will get you there. So really, all you need is the courage to take the next step.

In fact, Emma and I talked about that when we put together The Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions. So many people find the process mysterious and frightening, so we wanted to break it down into manageable chunks that wouldn’t be so overwhelming.

Once, as a child, I got very nervous about meeting a “famous” person who was coming to our school. My brother said, “He puts his pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else.”

So do agents. And everyone else you perceive to be occupying the space between you and your dreams. Just go for it!

This month, the giveaway for one lucky 12 x 12 participant is a FREE registration to The Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions. If it turns out that the winner already has an agent, I’ll give a free registration to my other new course, How to Make Money as a Writer. In fact, whoever the winner is can choose between them – how’s that?

One thing to note is that our early-bird rate for The Guide expires Monday, November 3rd at 11:59 p.m. EST. If you know you want to purchase it, go ahead and do so before the price increases by $50. If you win this month, you’ll get a full refund.

Good luck with those drafts this month!! 🙂

Categories: 12 x 12, Agents, Creativity, Giveaway, Goals, My Love For You Is The Sun, PiBoIdMo, Picture Book Month, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , ,


12 x 12 Member - Lynn BaldwinI love how taking one leap of faith, as today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author Lynn Baldwin did, can lead to a trove of additional discoveries. My first hope when people join 12 x 12 is that they will write more, become an active member of the community and realize they are capable of far more than they thought they were before joining. So please welcome Lynn, not just to 12 x 12 but to the whole wide web world of writing. I know I’m glad to have her! 🙂

Like many writers, I struggle with time management and am wary of things that detract from the limited amount of time I have for writing. That’s why I was initially skeptical of Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge.

Sure, I’d heard good things about the online challenge. But, really – how much time did I want to spend reading blog posts, critiquing other people’s work, contributing to an online forum, being part of yet another Facebook group? If I did all this, when would I have time to work on the 12 picture books I’d be committed to writing? And, could I really write one picture book a month for all of 2014?

Despite my skepticism, I decided to take the plunge and nervously signed up for the Little GOLDen Book membership. After all, if I was going to do it, I might as well jump all the way in.

I couldn’t be happier that I did. It’s only mid-March, and I’ve already found a lot of value in my participation in the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge. In addition to the fantastic opportunity to submit my work to agents, I have benefited from…

• Writing More: So far, I’ve completed three new picture book manuscripts and have been working on revising two others. I always feel I could/should be doing more, but this is a huge increase from the amount of writing I did last year, so I’m pleased.

• Query Critiques: The query critique I received from Emma Walton Hamilton was great, even though I learned that I erred on the side of “giving away the ending.” I’ve also really enjoyed critiquing other people’s queries on the online forum and getting feedback on mine.

• Online Community: I’ve been so impressed by the participation on the Facebook group and the willingness of other members to share their expertise, ideas and writing-related opportunities and contests…which leads to my next benefit…

• Learning about the Wide Web World of Writing: Before joining the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, I really wasn’t doing much online beside reading an occasional blog. Thanks to 12 x 12, I’ve learned there’s a wide world of writing opportunities out there. I’ve participated in Red Light, Green Light: Freetiques, Rate Your Story..and a few others I can’t think of right now! I am also probably going to do RhyPiBoMo. if I can get over my fear of committing to another writing challenge. 🙂

So, thank you, Julie Hedlund, and thank you to all of my fellow 12 x 12ers. It’s been a great first few months, and I’m looking forward to a fantastic rest of the year!

Lynn Baldwin is an aspiring picture book author, marketing freelance writer, mother to an adorable preschooler and lover of the Spanish language, travel and dark chocolate.



Categories: 12 x 12, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Writing · Tags: , , , , , ,


12 x 12 new banner

Hello there everybody! Here we are with our first 12 x 12 check-in of 2014. Most of you know that January turned out to be a difficult month for me (understatement), BUT fortunately for once I was ahead of the game. I both wrote AND revised a manuscript the first week of January. I had hoped to be finished with another set of revisions on both, but alas that was not to be. I am motivated for February though and feel that, writing-wise at least, I’m off to a roaring start.

Are you reading this and haven’t yet joined 12 x 12? You have precisely 29 days left to do so. Don’t miss another day; register today!

For existing members, how did you do in January? Are you off to a drafty beginning? Let us know in the comments and in the Rafflecopter.

Here is what you need to do to check in for a chance to win a Emma Walton Hamilton’s course Just Write for Kids!

  1. See the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post that says “Just Write for Kids” at the top.
  2. Click on the “Comment on Emma’s Blog Post” button. It will reveal the task, which is to comment on Emma’s blog post. Commenting on Emma’s post is mandatory and gets you one point even if you didn’t complete a draft in January. If you haven’t yet commented, click here to do so. Then you click ENTER on that option in Rafflecopter, which will then open the next two options.
  3. Click on the “Wrote a PB Manuscript” button. This will ask if you completed a PB draft in January. If you did, click ENTER, if you did not, move on to the next step.
  4. Click on the last “Revised a PB Manuscript” button. This will ask if you revised a PB in January. If you did, click ENTER. If not, move on to the next step.
  5. Submit your entry. Rafflecopter will track your points.

You have until midnight Eastern on Febuary 1st to enter your results. I will then have Rafflecopter draw a winner and announce it on the blog on February 2nd.

We are on our way to another successful year in 12×12!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Categories: 12 x 12, 12 x 12 Featured Author, Giveaway, Goals, Picture Books, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , ,


12 x 12 new bannerWhew! It’s been another busy week with registration for the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge. So much so that I have been remiss in sharing some great opportunities associated with joining.

First, anyone who registers at the Little GOLDen Book level and pays in full by 6:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 20th is GUARANTEED a picture book query critique by either “query whisperer” Emma Walton Hamilton (who will do as many as she can) or myself.

But that’s not all! The queries will be stripped of identifying information, and Emma and I will be video-recording the critique session. Therefore, you’ll not only get your own query critiqued, but you’ll have full access to a video recording of 100+ picture book query critiques. Emma charges $150 for a single query critique – more than the FULL amount of your 12 x 12 GOLD membership!! I’m not aware of any opportunity like this being offered anywhere, so I hope you’ll take advantage of it while you can.

Second, earlier this week I hosted a live Google+ hangout discussing not only the opportunity for GOLD members of 12 x 12 to submit to agents, but about submissions in general and how to craft a good one. Below is the video recording, which everyone is free to watch and learn from, regardless of whether you plan to join 12 x 12 or not. It covers dos and don’ts of submissions, whether and when it is okay to follow up, and even the age-old question of “Should I send a rhyming manuscript?”

Lastly, I was proud to once-again be a guest on Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast discussing this year’s features and benefits of 12 x 12. Here is the link to the episode, which also contains a sneak peek into the Membership Forum.

If you’re thinking of joining 12 x 12, please register soon so you don’t miss any opportunities available to you! Registration closes altogether at the end of February, and the next chance won’t be until 2015.

“The 12 x 12 is really a family of kidlit writers. Although there are various “levels” that offer wonderful, amazing opportunities, it’s the things (IMHO) that can’t be measured, that are the most beneficial to your career. The support, the passion, the sharing of information.” — Elaine Kiely Kearns, founder of KIDLIT411

Categories: 12 x 12, Agents, Authors, Brain Burps About Books, Friendship, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, Rhyming, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Emma Walton Hamilton

Emma Walton Hamilton

What do you get when you mix a shiny new year, the beginning of another round of the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge, and an amazingly talented and generous NYT-bestselling author kicking us off with the first featured author post?

You get phenomenal writing tips to start your year AND unprecedented opportunities to get even more help to improve your writing.

Because Emma Walton Hamilton is not ONLY an author. She is also a gifted freelance editor (I know because I’ve hired her!) who can work magic on both manuscripts and query letters. So much so with query letters that I’ve dubbed her “the query whisperer.”

Several opportunities will be coming to 12 x 12 members as a result of Emma’s generosity. First, this month’s winner will receive access to Emma’s online, self-paced, 8-week picture book writing course — Just Write for Kids. I, along with other 12 x 12 alumni, have taken this course and trust me when I say it will change your picture book writing life! This course costs $297, but one lucky 12 x 12 winner will get it for FREE.

Secondly, Emma has once again agreed to critique query letters from Little GOLDen Book members who pay the one-time fee to join 12 x 12. This year the event will be bigger and better, however, because Emma and I are going to create a webinar where we record her giving verbal critiques (names will be removed from queries to keep them anonymous). GOLD members will then receive a copy of the recording to keep for reference. A single query critique from Emma normally costs $150. But one-time fee paying GOLD members will get the critique free AND have the benefit of watching Emma work her magic on many other queries.*

One 12 x 12 member, Marcie Colleen, had this to say about the query critique she received last year: “(Emma) made (my query) SING! And that is the query letter I sent out and landed my agent. What an amazing opportunity that was to have Emma’s expertise work on my little letter.”

But there IS a catch. In order to participate in the query event, youh must sign up for 12 x 12 by the end of the day January 17th at the Little GOLDen Book level AND pay the one-time (vs. quarterly) fee. Hurry so you don’t miss out!

Now, let’s move on to Emma’s fabulous advice – perfect to get us going on a great new year of picture book writing! Welcome Emma!

So, it’s the first month of a New Year, and twelve new picture book challenges stretch out ahead of us.

Maybe you participated in PiBoIdMo in November, and have a stack (or even a handful) of ideas waiting to be developed into picture books over the course of 12 x 12 in 2014. Now what?

How do we take the seed of an idea and develop into a story? One way to begin is to write down everything you know so far about your idea. Free associate – what do you know about any of your characters, the subject matter, the setting, the takeaway you’d like to leave your readers with? What words, images, smells, tastes or sounds come to mind when you think of this idea?

Then, organize these thoughts into categories or relationships to one another. You can use index cards, Post-its, or a mindmapping tool like Freemind (freemind.sourceforge.net) to assist you. Once you have jotted down everything you know, you can begin to think about the central dramatic question of your idea.

A central dramatic question is at the core of every successful children’s book. It is the question the story raises, or what the book is really about. It can usually best be stated as:

“Will (the hero/protagonist) find, get, solve or achieve ______?”

For example, the central dramatic question at the heart of Whistle for Willie is: “Will Peter ever learn how to whistle?”

knuffle bunnyThe central dramatic question at the heart of Knuffle Bunny is: “Will Trixie ever get Knuffle Bunny back?” (or, more specifically, “Will Trixie be able to communicate to her parents that Knuffle Bunny is lost – and thus, get her back?”)

If you don’t yet have enough information about your idea, or it isn’t fleshed out sufficiently to determine the central dramatic question, you can prompt yourself with other leading questions. For instance, if you have an idea for a character but don’t know what their story is, ask yourself:

  • What does s/he want?
  • What is his or her problem that must be solved, or difficulty that must be overcome? (Another way of thinking about this is, what is standing in the way of their getting what they want? What are the obstacles?)
  • How does s/he solve or overcome the problem?
  • What does s/he learn in the resolving of their problem, or how might s/he change or grow by the end?

If you have an idea for a theme or subject (such as adoption, bullying, feeling different) but don’t yet know who the characters are, or what the story is, ask yourself:

  • What do you want to say about your subject? What point or message do you want to give kids, or leave them thinking about?
  • Who might be the main character – someone kids can relate to and connect with – that can help you tell your story, or make that point?
  • What problem might they have to overcome?
  • What would they need to learn or achieve over the course of the story in order to illustrate the point you intend to make?

Can you see a central dramatic question emerging now? Identifying your central dramatic question helps you focus your story, and ensures there will be a compelling plot with a built-in conflict or problem for your character to overcome.  It is also a helpful pre-cursor to being able to summarize your story in a concise sentence – a powerful exercise when it comes to focusing an idea, but even more valuable later, when the time comes for pitching, selling and marketing the book.

Now, here’s a down and dirty template for converting your central dramatic question into a plot and character driven sentence: (Name of hero/main character) wants/needs to (need/goal), but s/he can’t because (problem/obstacle) so s/he (actions/resolution) and ultimately realizes that (message/takeaway).

Happy writing!

EMMA WALTON HAMILTON is a best-selling children’s book author, editor and arts educator.  With her mother, Emma and Julieactress/author Julie Andrews, Emma has co-authored over twenty children’s books, seven of which have been on the NY Times Bestseller list, including The Very Fairy Princess series (#1 Bestseller), Julie Andrews Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies, the Dumpy the Dump Truck series, Simeon’s Gift, The Great American Mousical, and Thanks to You – Wisdom from Mother and Child.

Emma’s own book, RAISING BOOKWORMS: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment, premiered as a #1 best-seller on Amazon.com in the literacy category and won a Parent’s Choice Gold Medal.

Emma is a faculty member of Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, where she also serves as Director of the Children’s Literature Fellows programand Executive Director of the Young Artists and Writers Project (YAWP), an inter-disciplinary writing program for middle and high school students.  A former actress and theatre director, Emma was a co-founder of Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, and served as co-Artistic Director and Director of Education and Programming for Young Audiences there for 17 years.

Emma also works as a freelance children’s book editor, and hosts Just Write for Kids! – an online home-study course in writing for children as well as the Children’s Book Hub – a center of resources and support for aspiring children’s book authors.

*Emma will critique as many queries as she can in a two-hour period. Julie Hedlund will critique any queries Emma is unable to get to in that time period.


Categories: 12 x 12, 12 x 12 Featured Author, Authors, Books, Children's Books, Giveaway, Goals, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, SCBWI, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


anti-resolutionTwo years ago I wrote a blog post that grabbed the attention and touched the heart of none other than Katie Davis, who is now one of my very best friends. It was titled, 2012 Anti-Resolution Revolution. Katie was so inspired by that post, she created her own special tool to capture her accomplishments throughout the year and evaluate them at the end. She has graciously offered to share this workbook with you – click here for more info.

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.  So I figured, why not start with what I did accomplish this year and set goals from there.  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..

I didn’t write a similar post in 2013, but I should have. 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.?

Here’s an example from my own year. All year long, in my head, I lamented how little writing I got done. So much so that by the end of the year I was sure I’d done almost nothing. Yesterday, when I tallied it all up, I was pleasantly to find I’d written far more than I thought I had. I had written full drafts that I’d completely forgotten about. Drafts that I can continue revising and working with this year.

I am a firm believer that it takes far more courage to celebrate and compliment yourself than it does to criticize and berate yourself. So let’s get started.

Here is a list of my major professional accomplishments of 2013. 

In addition to this list, I ran the 12 x 12 challenge all year, wrote new drafts and revised existing ones, and continued to contribute to Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast. Whew! I’ll be sure to come back to this whenever I feel discouraged about how much I “don’t get done.” 🙂

Now it’s your turn to make YOUR list!

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Apps, Authors, Bologna Children's Book Fair, Brain Burps About Books, Children's Books, Crowdfunding, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Florence, Goals, Holidays, How I Got My Agent, Italy, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, SCBWI, Social Media, Storybook Apps, Travel, Video Idiot Boot Camp, Works in Progress, Writer's Renaissance, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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