“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

2014 in Review

I say this every year (really!) but can you believe this year is over?? Crazy. For me, 2014 was quite a year writing-wise (and otherwise - but I'm not dwelling on that). As is my custom, I thought I would give a bit of a review of the year ending today.

For the first time, I chose one word to focus on for the year. My word was "Content" (stress on the first syllable), and it absolutely challenged, and grew, me in many ways. I may not be more content in my circumstances (like Philippians tells me to be), but I AM more aware of my discontent. That's progress, right? ;)

Seriously, having this word as a theme helped me focus on not striving too much, and accepting where I was and what I could do - with God's power, of course.

I also made a few goals (not resolutions - just FYI) for 2014, pointing toward my new direction and focus as a children's picture book writer. I am listing them below, along with how I did on each.

* Write 12 picture book drafts in 2014 (with help from 12x12 )

I accomplished this goal - finishing my twelfth picture book draft of the year on Sunday, December 29. Most of them are pretty pitiful, and MAYBE one of them is near ready for submission, but you can't fix a blank page. I am QUITE happy with my progress.

* Learn as much about picture book writing as I can

You know how they say your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive)? Well, I just (as in a couple of days ago) realized this particular goal is exactly NONE of these.

Despite the faultiness of my target, I'd say I actually did pretty well on this one.
  1. I worked my way through a few craft books specifically for picture book and/or children's book writers (including Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, The Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories for Children by Nancy Lamb, and the Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman
  2. I participated in several picture book writing challenges (including Start the Year off Write, ReviMo, RhyPiBoMo, Kidlit Summer School, 12 x 12 and PiBoIdMo
  3. I took a couple of online classes. 
  4. I also joined an online critique group to help me hone my skills
  5. I am a participant in the Debut Picture Book Author Study group (though I did NOT participate every opportunity I could have)
  6. Since April, I have read and taken notes on a relatively current picture book almost every day. 
  7. I also follow several blogs by picture book authors that I am learning much from.
  Maybe not "as much as I can," but I'd say quite a bit!

* Work on writing or revision of a picture book manuscript five days a week minimum

Though I cannot say I did this every single week of 2014, I would estimate (cuz I'm not in the mood to count LOL) that I can count on two hands (maybe even one!) the number of weeks I did NOT meet this goal. Sometimes all I did was cross out one word, or write three, but I was quite good about doing SOMETHING most days.

So, there it is - my 2014 in review. Watch for a post tomorrow (or the next day - will see) with my word and direction for 2015.

How was YOUR 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


  1. I love your comment about not fixing a blank page. I have many blank pages that need fixing. Now I understand why that will never happen. I'm not sure how you can set SMART goals that are better than those you set.You have some numbers in there.

    I have been adopting one word to live by for 3 years. Last year my word was discernment. This year my word is peace. I'm not sure if working hard to achieve goals and peace can coexist,but I'll find out.

    Be blessed in 2015, Joanne. Treat yourself to joy every day.

    1. Thanks, Jane! Peace in achievement is totally doable :). Thanks for stopping by, and the encouragement!


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