"Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book." - Stéphane Mallarmé
2018 Goals Met (and Not)
I fell short on a few goals in 2018. I did not submit 20 queries. I did not publish 18 blog posts. I did not write 12 drafts – that’s the one that hurts the most. Here's what I accomplished:
read 350 new picture books
reviewed 52 books on Amazon
participated in 15 webinars
submitted 15 queries
drafted 11 manuscripts
wrote 9 blog posts
entered 2 writing contests
read 2 craft books
attended 1 writing retreat – Big Sur!!!
2019 Goals Made
I struggled with goals this year. I want them. I need them. But, I also want to give myself the flexibility to adjust my goals throughout the year based on what I need. I don’t want to specify a number of picture books to read, webinars to attend, queries to submit, or reviews to write. My priority is establishing new writing routines so I can get back to the writing, specifically, new drafts that excite me, rewrites to breakthrough revision slumps, and exercises and prompts to spark creativity.
My 2019 goals include:
It's Time for Susanna Leonard Hill's 8th Annual Halloweensie Contest!
This contest has special significance for me. After posting last year's entry about a new sibling surprise, I went into labor and delivered my son! I look forward to actually reading other entries this year. Thank you Susanna for a wonderful tradition!
2018 Prompt: Write a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for children 12 and under using the words shiver, cauldron, and howl.
When we moved on Halloween, nobody warned us about the house on the hill with blue shutters and a white picket fence.
Purple lights blinked and pumpkin grins glowed. The doorbell howled like a wolf. A witch with a cauldron opened the door.
“Trick or treat!”
We reached into the cauldron for a treat, but got a trick instead. We shrieked and shivered at the horror in our hands as we sprinted home.
“Did you get any candy?” Mom asked.
We shook our heads and opened our hands. Instead of sweets, the house on the hill gave out…carrots.
As much as my daughter loves snuggly reading marathons, she also loves to act the books out, repeat favorite lines, draw and “write” about them, and use toys to extend the story. Building on my LEGO theme this month, here are two of our picture book-inspired LEGO creations.
Writing With The Stars founder Tara Luebbe’s book I Am Famous inspired an amphitheater and stage with a revolving platform (thanks Les Misérables).
For more book-inspired LEGO creations, check out the art of Marcie Colleen’s husband Jonathan Lopes. His literature-inspired work includes Dan Santat’s Beekle, Peter Brown’s Mr. Tiger, Marcie’s Love, Triangle cast, and more. And while you are at it, check out Marcie’s Study Hall program – an amazing mentor-led critique group for picture book writers.
In addition to LEGO bricks, we have used blocks to act out Cori Doerrfeld’s The Rabbit Listened with my daughter’s favorite line, “It’s going to be amazing!” We have constructed train tracks and pushed Two Little Trains west after reading Margaret Wise Brown’s classic. And we have emptied the contents of the play fridge to create our own food world like the one Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney created in The Stinky Stench.
As a former teacher, I love enhancing our reading with learning and play activities that create real-world connections and build my daughter's big imagination. Plus, if I cannot carve out writing time while the kiddos are awake, building literature-inspired worlds is a worthy alternative.
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