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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Smile, You’re on Katie Davis!*

That’s the way I feel today as I have the extreme honor of being Katie Davis’ first Brain Burps About Books podcast guest of 2012.  I am so excited I’ll be throwing the link around all over the place – in this post, on Facebook, on Twitter, email.  Want to make sure everyone in the world who wants to hear it gets a chance. 🙂

Before I write another word, here’s the link to the podcast.  You can listen to it on your computer just by clicking the link, or you can do the same by clicking the link from your smart phone or tablet and listen to it from there. Or you can listen from the link on Katie’s blog here:

On this podcast, in a fitting tribute to the new year (because Mayans or no Mayans, we’re going to do our best work!), Katie and I talk about anti-resolutions (based on this post) and the need to set goals from a positive place rather than beating ourselves up over (perceived) failures from the previous year. What struck me during our discussion was how we all face doubt and disappointment, regardless of how far along we are in our careers.  It’s easy to look at a successful, multi-published author and think, “Oh s/he’s made it.”  However, that author may very well be plagued by the same doubts and frustrations.  So Katie and I discuss how to overcome that, and how being an active part of the writing community helps.

We also discuss the 12 x 12 in 2012 picture book writing challenge and other opportunities for writers to get a head start in the new year.  I had so much fun recording this podcast with Katie, and I hope you enjoy listening to it just as much!  It’s a great “feel-good” way to hit the ground running in 2012, if I do say so myself.

If you have never listened to a Brain Burps About Books podcast, you can start with the one with ME in it!  Then, get thyself over to Katie’s website and download and listen to the rest.  I’ve been a subscriber for a year now, and I’ve learned so much.  Every show is great. It’s like having portable conference sessions that you can listen to at your convenience.  And they’re FREE!  Or you can do as I did and buy the app from the iTunes store for $1.99 and have all the episodes in one place.  People, it’s a bargain.  Katie is an exceptionally talented, multi-published author/illustrator, a whizz-bang marketing guru and a pioneer in using all forms of media in the children’s book arena.  She recently published an e-book entitled, How to Promote Your Children’s Book. Best of all, she has her bio written in both haiku and limerick form (among others).  Sounds like a lady you can learn a lot from, no?

What can you learn from these podcasts, you ask? Well, Brain Burps About Books is all about children’s literature and has held the #1 in the iTunes store in Children’s Publishing since it began almost two years ago.  It has been downloaded in 40% of the world’s countries. If it has to do with the children’s book business – whether it’s craft, creating a platform, developing eBooks and apps, or supporting a small business as a writer, it’s fair game. Interview subjects include authors, illustrators, librarians, editors, app creators… anyone in the field covering anything under the umbrella of children’s books. Regular features include a “Take 5 Marketing Tips” by Dianne de Las Casas and picture book and middle grade reviews by contributors Betsy Bird of SLJ’s Fuse #8 Production, “Mommy” blogger Julie Falatko, Travis Jonker of 100 Scope Notes, and YA reviews by Bookalicious Pam.

I happen to know that in this episode, you get a double-dose of Julie, as 12 x 12 challenger Julie Falatko provides a review at the end of the show.  That’s 2 Julies for the price of one! An offer you simply can’t refuse.

Thanks again to Katie for making the start of 2012 especially awesome by inviting me to come on the show.  In conclusion, I’ll leave you with this trailer of Katie’s book, Little Chicken’s Big Day.  Warning: it is off the cuteness meter!

*My weekly Wednesday Artist’s Way Check-in will be posted tomorrow.

Questions or comments about the podcast? Leave them here!

Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Apps, Authors, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Goals, Gratitude Sunday, Guest Blogging, NaPiBoWriWee, Perfect Picture Book Friday, PiBoIdMo, Picture Book Month, Picture Books, Publishing, SCBWI, Social Media, The Artist's Way, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


This year, I’m signing up for the anti-resolution revolution.  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.  Save money = I spend too much.  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.  Spend more time with my kids = I’m not doing enough for my kids.  Write more often = I don’t write enough.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you know I am all about self-improvement, especially improvement that puts us on a path to self-actualization.  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.  Being zen about it, probably everything got done that was supposed to.

Here is my list of what I consider to be my major professional accomplishments this year

  • Completed two picture books.  Both are now on submission.
  • Was accepted into, and completed, the Rocky Mountain SCBWI mentorship program.
  • Drafted a third picture book which is at least halfway to submission-ready
  • Completed PiBoIdMo and ended up with 30+ picture book ideas
  • Sent 20+ queries over the course of the year
  • From those queries, sold one poem and got contracts to write three articles (coming in 2012)
  • Entered a picture book in the MeeGenius Children’s Author Challenge and made it to #16 out of 400+ entries
  • Learned a TON about online marketing and promotion from the contest.
  • Completed four months of group coaching to launch a new project.  I am now about halfway through drafting the business plan for that project (more news on that in 2012)
  • Formed a LLC to support my writing business and other projects I launch
  • Took a two-month course on blogging to build an author platform.  I have now gone from a high of 2000 hits per month on my blog to a high of nearly 6000 per month.
  • Guest posted on several blogs
  • Set up an in-person picture book critique group in Boulder
  • Attended a digital publishing conference and the Rocky Mountain SCBWI regional conference
  • Last, but not least, launched the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge to write 12 picture books in 12 months.  This is, obviously, one of my major goals for the coming year.

In addition to work accomplishments, three other achievements deserve mention.  One is that I ran a personal best in the Bolder Boulder 10K this year and felt great.  The race also happened to take place right after I turned 40, which felt even better.

Second, I planned, from start to finish, and then took a six-week trip to Italy with my family for the summer.  This trip was the fulfillment of a major dream and life-changing in every possible way.  Although my kids are still young, I think it will turn out to be life-changing for them to have had such an experience.

One of the things the trip to Italy inspired me to do is the third achievement I want to mention.  I wrote a Bucket List.  I saw how rewarding it was to realize even one dream, so I thought I would capture as many more as I could in the hopes of realizing them all.  I am trying not be afraid of dreaming big.  So perhaps a motto for 2012 is Dream Big or Go Home.

For your further contemplation, here are a few other posts with an alternate take on New Year’s Resolutions

Lynnette Burrows doesn’t let Mrs. Darkside win.

Hayley Lavik is not going to change anything next year.

Prudence MacLeod is going to read books by live authors.

Emma Burcart is going to be kind – to herself.

Jennifer Lewis Oliver has never made a New Year’s Resolution.

Myndi Shafer does have a short list of resolutions, which she made in the Nick of Time.

What is your stance on New Year’s Resolutions?  Good thing, bad thing or in-between?

Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Birthdays, Children's Books, Family, Goals, Guest Blogging, Health/Fitness, Holidays, Italy, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Poetry, Publishing, Queries, SCBWI, Travel, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


We-ell, ya know… we all want to have a plan.

But now I am going to admit something that might make you think I’m the Scrooge of New Year’s:  I find reading other people’s New Year’s Resolutions boring.  Why?  Because they have no bearing on my life whatsoever.  They’re kind of interesting in a voyeuristic sense and/or if they give you ideas, but really, after reading post after post of them, my eyeballs are hanging out of my sockets by springs and there’s a pile of drool collecting on my desk.

There.  I said it.

HOWEVER, while I don’t love reading others’ resolutions, I realize that many people do.  I also believe in the power of not just setting goals, but writing them down, sharing them, and creating a plan to hold oneself accountable.  So it is in this spirit that I embrace my inner hypocrite and present you with my resolutions for two areas of my life (I wouldn’t think of subjecting you to the ones about my finances, my house and my family).  Those areas are…. drumroll…. Writing and Health and Wellness.  Posting them here is my way of holding myself accountable because at some point, I’ll feel obligated to come back and tell you all how I measured up.  So here goes:


1. Land an agent. I know, I know! I can hear you all screaming about S.M.A.R.T. goals, claiming this one isn’t Specific, Measurable, Achievable (at least independently), Realistic or Time-based.  Yeah, I worked in the corporate world too.  Yet, I would feel remiss if I didn’t put this on the list because this is the biggest next step toward reaching my future publication goals.  SO – I have created sub-goals that are SMART.  If I achieve those but still don’t get an agent, I’ll mark it as success.  I just want to make sure I’ve done everything within my control to work toward this goal.

  • Get primary WiP (call it WiP #1) submission-ready (again!) by end of January
  • Have a list of 8 agents to query for that WiP ready by end of January
  • Begin querying WiP #1 to those 8 agents beginning of February
  • Get WiP #2 submission-ready by end of March
  • Have a list of 8 additional agents to the ones queried for Wip #1 ready by end of March
  • Begin querying WiP #2 beginning of April (assuming no response/progress on WiP #1)
  • Write a first draft of BRAND NEW SUPER SHINY IDEA by end of February
  • Have BRAND NEW SUPER SHINY IDEA submission-ready by end of June

That’s as far as I can reasonably plan, I think, so I commit to setting new goals in June to keep this on track.

2. Write every weekday. Here writing is defined exclusively as new writing or revising a WiP.

  • Schedule a minimum of one hour of uninterrupted writing time each weekday.

3. Writing-related work every weekday. Writing-related work can be reading, research, writing pitches or query letters, blogging, social media, etc.

  • Must complete a minimum of one hour of writing-related work each day.  Does not need to be consecutive or uninterrupted.

4. Study craft and market for Travel Writing and Personal Essays. After picture books, these are other areas of writing that have great appeal to me, especially because they can also support research for the children’s writing (international research, anyone?).  So this year I just want to make inroads into understanding the markets for this type of writing and to begin working and studying the craft and how it differs from what I am doing now.

  • One hour of writing-related work per week must be dedicated to either travel or personal essay writing


So it turns out I have a big birthday coming up.  Although I always have health/wellness related resolutions and goals, they are more important than ever this year.

1. Be in great shape by 40th birthday. Again, I realize this violates all of the tenets of SMART goals, so again I broke it down.

  • Lose 15 pounds by:
  • Counting daily calories consumed beginning Jan. 10th. This is really a bummer because I hate doing this, but I know it’s the only way to be honest with myself about how much I am actually eating/drinking.
  • Exercise 5-7 days each week unless sick
  • 2 of the 5 sessions must be strength/yoga/pilates
  • 1 of the 2 strength sessions must be a full-body strength workout
  • Wine on weekends only unless special occasion.  This is also a bummer. I love my red wine at the end of the day.  Honestly, sometimes I’d like it as an IV drip.  But truth be told, it not only accumulates on my waistline, but it *gasp* impacts my productivity the next day if I’ve indulged in a couple of drinks the night before.  So in the spirit of keeping all the resolutions intact, I will limit wine to weekends outside of special weekday occasions.  Special occasions include things like: book club, dinners with friends, date nights, etc.  Special occasions do not include “because I deserve it” after a long day or because the kids are pushing every single button I have.

2. Run at least one race of 10K or greater distance

3. Learn to ski moguls with confidence. I can ski them, but not well.  This is the year I change that.

4. Craniosacral therapy once a month

5. Yoga at least once a month

6. Five-minute morning meditation first thing – before kids get up

So there you have it.  I know it’s an ambitious list, but at the start of a squeaky-clean year, I feel ready to tackle it!

What about you? Do you like reading other people’s resolutions? Do you think resolutions actually work?

Categories: Goals, Health/Fitness, Picture Books, Queries, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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