"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

1/10/14

In One Year and Out the Other


This post is part of Patty Wysong's 
 A to Z meme. This week's letter is "Y."
A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Most people I know have already done their "New Year's post." It is, after all, the tenth of the month already! BUT - did you know the year is only 2.7% over? (And besides, what better for the letter Y??) So, here I am.

This post is going to mostly be about 2014 - cuz that's what I'm really excited about. I'm going to start with the year that past, though. Cuz, well, that's what I've decided.

When I started 2013, I set a few writing goals - to finish the rough draft of my Biblical fiction manuscript, build my platform/focus around my tagline (Scripture Stories, Timeless Truths), and interact in my blog comments. Of those three, I accomplished only the last. But that's okay - because, starting around the second quarter of last year, the Lord started changing my direction.

More info on ACFW here!
Partly through my incredible opportunity (thanks to some AMAZING sisters in Christ) to attend the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, I discovered that, for now anyway, my writing focus needs to change from adult Christian fiction to children's writing - more specifically picture book writing. Because of this, I decided (with some sadness) to leave ACFW (an EXCELLENT organization for Christian novel writers) and instead join the Society for Children's Writers and Book Illustrators (which I did in December). My biblical fiction is on the back burner - and I need me a new tagline and blog design (working on that - mentally anyway).

Get more info on SCBWI
And that takes me to 2014. I'm planning to make this year a year of learning about writing picture books. To that end, I plan to make as much use of SCWBI as I can (including, hopefully, attending in-person meetups with local children's writers, gleaning info from their fabulous message boards, and combing their website for gems and jewels).

I'm also participating in not one, not two, but THREE challenges (so far :::r:::) related to picture book writing.

Join the challenge!
Start the Year Off Write is a 21-day extravaganza featuring a different writing exercise each day, provided by published picture book writer and illustrators, from January 5 to 25 at host Shannon Ambercrombie's website. It's been a fabulous way to hone my craft so far - and there will be PRIZES too!

Learn more here!
ReviMo (Revise More Picture Books Week) runs from Sunday, January 12 through Saturday the 18th, and encourages the writer to revise picture book manuscripts every day that week. According to Meg Miller, the lovely host, there will be blogs and vlogs encouraging you to take out that poopy first (second, third, fifteenth) draft and breathe new life into it. And, of course, PRIZES :D. Though I am new at the whole picture book writing thing, I do have a couple of "finished" picture books that could use some fixing up, so this should be fun AND educational.

Learn more about 12 x 12!
And then there's the one I am SUPER DUPER excited about. A serious challenge with amazing fellowship and assistance and cheerleaders and resources and learning and....yeah, you guessed it - PRIZES. 12 x 12 in 2014 is a yearlong challenge, cheering section, conference, pajama party, and accountability group all wrapped into one. Picture book author Julie Hedlund runs this program, which encourages members to write a total of twelve picture book drafts in twelve months (not finished, polished work - but DRAFTS). There are three levels of membership (I'm signed up at the Margaret Wise BRONZE level) with different amounts of perks. I am already loving it - and I've only been in the group since Monday! (And it's not too late to sign up - she takes new members through the end of February - if you're a picture book writer, give it a look!)

So, there's my year in review - and my plans for 2014. Am I crazy? Or maybe just motivated? ;)


How was your 2013? Any plans for 2014?
 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
Check out more Y posts below, or add your own!

 

24 comments:

  1. Sounds super exciting! Hope you don't get burned out. You mentioned you had to quit one group to join the other. So you cannot be in both groups, even if not actively participating?

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    1. Barb, I COULD be in both groups (i.e. there's no rule that says I can't), but they are both organizations that I have to pay for to be a member of, and finances don't allow it.

      Hoping I don't get burned out either - thinking that the fact that two of these challenges are done before this month is up might help :)

      Thanks for stopping by, friend!

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  2. How exciting Joanne! Blessings to you this year. Are you going to BRMCWC again? I went last year and have already signed up for this year. Can't wait!

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    1. Thanks, Tom. I'm really excited! Thanks for stopping by!

      I'm not sure about BRMCWC - but I must admit it's doubtful. A couple friends actually paid almost my entire way there this past year, which is the only reason I was able to attend. But anything is possible with the Lord, of course!

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  3. Awesome plan because you are awesome! I have often wished for talent writing for children (toddler to Jr. High). I'm glad you've found your stride and your joy. 2014 will be amazing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Jane - for your encouragement, and everything else. It's good to find your stride :)

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  4. You sound motivated!! It looks like you've got a creative and fun year ahead of you!

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    Replies
    1. I am TOTALLY motivated, Lisa - praying it lasts for the next 97% of the year ;) Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Don't you love when God gives you a clear direction. So excited for you, Joanne.

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    1. Absolutely loving this clear direction (LOL trying not to get too used to it :D). Thanks for your enthusiasm and for stopping by!

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  6. Awesome! Thanks for this fabulous info. I'm going to look into 12 X 12!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, cool, Karla! Let me know if you end up going that route. Thanks for your OWN enthusias, and, of course, for stopping by :)

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  7. Sounds like a wonderful plan!

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    1. Thanks - looking forward to it!

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  8. JoDear, very, VERY excited for you! =]

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  9. Love that you are able to so clearly see your direction!
    Blessings,
    Diana

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    1. Trust me, Diana - I am totally loving it too :D Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Hi Joanne. I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Check it out here.http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/vba-rules/!

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  11. What an exciting time for you! Look forward to following how it all unfolds. Nothing better than having a clear sense of God's direction for your life.

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    1. Thanks- I feel exactly the same way. Excited, and thrilled to have God's direction.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Alot motivated!!! So glad you found your niche!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, terri - me too!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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