2017 Successes

I haven’t written on here in ages. Call it what you will: a move, a new job (2 years ago, I know) my kids’ lives are getting busier and busier, and lots of writing happening. I have spent less time updating the blog and more time in focused writing.

Each year, I love to reflect on all the things that I’ve done. For the past several years, I have participated in Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas for Writers program. It’s a great way to reflect on the year that has passed. Each year we make a list of SUCCESSES instead of resolutions. To see previous posts from years past, click on the year.

2016–I skipped this year.

2015

2014

2013

2012

1. I read a LOT. There are still a few days left in 2017 and I’m mostly done with several more books, so these numbers are likely to go up this weekend. But…

  • 492 picture books
  • 119 middle grade novels
  • 9 young adult novels
  • 29 adult fiction
  • 10 adult nonfiction
  • 3 craft (writing, that is)

2. Anyone that knows my writing really well knows that my writing is all over the map. I write fiction picture books, nonfiction picture books, middle grade, YA, and poetry. I sent out 76 submissions. This includes submissions from all of my writing, and it includes things like conference critiques as well.

3. I received 34 rejections. The good news is that many of these have been very specific rejections. Some have even been “revise and resubmit” requests or “send me something else, but I’m not buying this” notes.

4. I revised a middle grade novel. Or I actually rewrote it completely from the ground up. While it didn’t feel like a first draft because I finally know these characters, it still needs a LOT of work. More revising to do.

5. I drafted a historical fiction novel-in-verse. The draft is one. A lot more work remains in revision.

6. I continue to participate in a picture book critique group.

7. I continue to participate in a middle grade critique group.

8. I meet with a friend for a “write-in” at least once a month (sometimes more, depending on our schedules).

9. I text an accountability partner/friend every day to talk about what we are writing. This was a new thing for 2017, and it was a fabulous addition.

10.  I’ve been invited to speak in 2018 at a education conference on writing, and I’m so excited and honored!

11. I did a presentation at Virginia Association for School Librarians along with Moira Rose Donohue about helping kids write nonfiction.

12. My co-director, Meighan and I, completed our 4th year as directors of Hollinsummer, a writing camp for teenage girls.

13. I attended 14 conferences/workshops, both big and small this year including a yearly writing retreat, a poetry workshop with Carole Boston Weatherford, nErDcamp MI, Long Road from Brown (NEH weeklong workshop), Mid-Atlantic SCBWI annual conference, and events at the National Archives.

14. I took 15 research trips to various museums and sites to help with my ongoing projects. Most of them were close by, but I have learned a TON this year.

15. I have some freelance work coming up that I’m excited about.

16. I went to numerous book launch parties and children’s book events in the DC metro area. There is a vibrant group of writers here, and I love being a part of the community.

17. I have a consistent daily writing routine.

 

There are always a lot of stumbling blocks in the writing life, but like I say at the end of every year. I am a better writing now than I was on January 1.

 

What’s New in 2014

January is an exciting time—a time for new things. So on this blog, there will be some new things rolling out in 2014. Here are some of the things I have planned.

For Teachers

 Teacher Useletter

I am introducing my useletter for teachers. I will include links to things from my blog and other information that I find. At most, it will come out monthly. If you sign up for my newsletter, you will get a 50 page e-book (printable PDF form) called MENTOR TEXT TIPS. Much of the information in the book was featured on my blog at one time, but I have restructured it, adding new information, and made it easy for you to download and print a copy for yourself.

ebook cover

 

If you sign up, the e-book will be sent to you within a few hours. Sign up on the sidebar to the right.

Teacher newsletter sign up screenshot

 

Writing Wednesdays

In addition, I will be featuring writing ideas and mentor texts for teachers more often this year. Every Wednesday will be Writing Wednesday. I will feature books, lesson plans, tips, or printables on Wednesdays.

For Writers

 Making Time to Write Mondays

I will be continuing my Making Time to Write feature for writers on Mondays that will include productivity tips, writing tips, and more.

Mentor Texts for Writers

In 2014, I will also be spending some time exploring mentor texts for writers. Stay tuned for more information about this upcoming series.