Children's author Julie Hedlund challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post their writing successes on their blogs this year. She believes the way New Year's resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity - what DIDN'T get done or achieved in the previous year. Instead, she suggests we set goals for the new year that BUILD on our achievements. With that in mind, I've been thinking about my writing achievements from 2014:
1. In January, I signed up for Julie Hedlund's 12 x 12 (12 picture books in 12 months), with the goal of writing more picture book manuscripts. Although I didn't write one for each month, I did write more manuscripts than I would have otherwise. Most importantly, I re-discovered how much I love writing picture books!!
2. During the summer, I finished a draft of a new middle grade novel that I wrote "just for fun".
3. I also participated in Teachers Write with Kate Messner, Jen Vincent and Gae Polisner, which was a lot of fun and helped me with the new (still untitled) novel I wrote.
4. I watched and worked through the PlotWriMo video series by literary agent Jill Corcoran and the "Plot Whisperer" Martha Alderson, to develop a deeper understanding of the process of revision.
5. In the fall, I revised another middle grade novel, Wild Girl Genius, the story of a city girl who stumbles into a wilderness adventure trip.
6. I attended CANSCAIP's Packaging Your Imagination conference to learn more about writing and connect with other writers and illustrators.
7. In November, I participated in PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) organized by author Tara Lazar, and I completed the challenge by coming up with one idea every day.
8. I also bravely tweeted my pitch for Wild Girl Genius on #PitMad: When a TV wilderness show audition goes horribly wrong, city-girl Jade must use all her survival skills to get home alive.
When I took time to think about all of my writing-related accomplishments from 2014, it surprised me a little. In many ways, 2014 was a difficult year, yet I still managed to continue to develop and grow as a writer. What did you accomplish this year? I hope you feel good about your writing and reading successes!