“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

Yes - I still exist :) Looking Back and Looking Forward

In case you are curious, I AM in fact aware that is has been A YEAR since I posted anything on this blog. It has been a busy time, and I just haven't focused (at all) on this aspect of my writing or platform. But, being the goal-focused person I am, I couldn't resist sharing how 2016 went goals-wise, not to mention my plans for 2017.

So, how was 2016? Let's see what my plans were - from my last post here nearly 365 days ago:

2016 Life/General Goals 
  • Eat healthier: drink more water, eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer sweets
  • Get house organized and sorted, concluding with a garage sale
Writing Goals 
  • Writing or editing my children's writing a minimum of an hour each week 
  • Read and take notes on at least 300 new to me, and published in 2011 or later, picture books
  • Participate in: ReviMo, ReFoReMo(?), Kidlit Summer School, PiBoIdMo, Debut PB Study Group, at least one class or additional challenge, and my in-person critique group
  • Use RateYourStory at least twice
  • Have at least one picture book manuscript ready for submission
And my review? I definitely improved my "healthiness." Water and fruit and veggie consumption were definitely up (most weeks, anyway), and sweets are a bit less of a temptation. I organized and sorted a good majority of my house (though not all) and DID have a garage sale. The house doesn't look like I did a thing, but I did - and that's what matters. Right? ;)

As far as writing, I did picture book work at least an hour a week more weeks than not. By my calculations, I spent approximately 48 hours this year writing, researching, or editing picture book manuscripts. I also read and took notes on 373 picture books that met my criteria, and participated in each of the challenges listed (other than PiBoIdMo, which changed its name to StoryStorm and was rescheduled for this January), as well as National Picture Book Writing Week. As far as the last two, I only did Rate Your Story once, since they changed their system and don't have many free days anymore, and while I AM closer to being ready to submit, I don't think I am QUITE there yet.

And there you have it.

But enough looking back - it's time to go boldly into 2017. And my goals? Check 'em out!
2017 Goals
  • Increased liquid consumption (aim is 80 ounces a day - 10 cups - mostly water)
  • Organize/straighten the basement (which is quite big, ridiculously messy, and the one place I DIDN'T get to in my 2016 cleaning)
  • Submit at least two picture book manuscripts to agents or publishers
  • Read and take notes on 300 new to me, and published in 2012 or later, picture books
  • Spend an average of an hour a week editing, writing, and/or researching a picture book
  • Have a current, functioning website/blog by the end of the year
See that last one? Yup - planning to be here more often. Don't know what it will look like (and don't hold your breath), but the plan is to do SOMETHING around here on some sort of regular basis.

And the next thing? A post about my word for the year (both 2016 AND 2017). Watch for it in the next couple days.

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. Joanne, I have witnessed you faithfully attacking your writing goals all year, but never knew you were trying to drink more water. That is one of my goals! I don't drink sodas or milk or much tea or enough water. It's a wonder I don't look like a prune. I'm excited that one of your goals is to submit 2 PBs!

    1. Thanks so much, Zoe! I so appreciate your encouragement.


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