Tag Archives: Julie Hedlund

My words for 2018

Again, HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!  I hope your year is off to a great start.

Continuing with the 12 Days of Christmas set up by Julie Hedlund, for Day 6 we were to implement a plan for the year, develop a blueprint for 2018. Mine is eight points, as follows:

  1. Take a picture book writing course – Susanna Hill’s specifically;
  2. Purge, or list on Kijiji, something every day, or every few days;
  3. If I must play game on iPad or computer, limit it to 15 minutes a day;
  4. Read for 1 hour a day, at least;
  5. Work on a manuscript to prepare it for submission, each month;
  6. Pray for 1 or 2 picture book critique buddies;
  7. Write daily in journal and read daily devotional;
  8. Believe in myself.

So far I:

  1. signed up for Susanna Hill’s Picture Book Magic class for February;
  2. purged nothing yet;
  3. um … forgot to time myself but I’m sure I went over, but was listening to a book at the same time;
  4. didn’t time myself, but I think it was about an hour;
  5. polished nothing yet, but came up with a draft for a new story;
  6. heard from someone about this and I’m waiting to hear back from her after my response;
  7. forgot to write in journal, but I’ll do catch up; did read devotional;
  8. am getting there!  🙂 (a carry-over from my 2017 word – PROGRESS.)

As has been my habit for the last few years, I have been pondering what my word for the new year should be. I started this personal tradition in 2013 with my word being GRATEFUL. I don’t think I had a word for 2014; not sure why. For 2015 it was POSITIVITY; 2016 was CHANGE; 2017 was PROGRESS. This year’s? I waited and listened and waited and prayed and waited. As a result, I believe my word for 2018 is COMMITMENT. I was thinking it was REALizing, a word I like; I don’t like the word commitment. I would prefer REALIZing or SHINE, but I think my word is … COMMITMENT.  *sigh*  The negative aspect of that is an old feeling of being trapped into something I will not want to keep doing because it’s hard to stay with it. The positive aspect is that it will help to keep me on track to actually complete and accomplish my goals. So, if I look ahead with anticipation instead of dread, I’ve found my word.

COMMITMENT in 2018.

I also found a quiz on Day Spring: Find Your 2018 Word of Truth. Out of curiosity I did the quiz. My word there came up as SIMPLIFY. That astonished me at first, but when I read over my blueprint for 2018 … yep! Simplify fits.

For me in 2018 it is COMMITMENT and SIMPLIFY.  That looks like a great pairing. If you want to try the Day Spring Quiz, <– click there.

What is your word – or what are your words – for the new year? If you do the Day Spring Quiz, please let me know what your results are.

Thank you so very much for adding good things and encouragement to my life. I wish you all the best in 2018. May the light of creative joy fill your heart and life.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings.  🙂   

 

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My Successes in 2017

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list for 2017.

Since setting goals instead of making resolutions has been my way for many years now, sharing what I see as my successes feels much more positive. So, in 2017 I have surprised myself because I:

1. settled on my word for the year – PROGRESS – and set out to make it happen in my writing as much as I could manage, and grew in confidence as a writer;

2. celebrated my 7th year of blogging here on WordPress on January 9;

3. wrote 144 blog posts, including this one and one scheduled for Dec 31;

4. wrote reviews of 67 books on my blog, 42 of which were written by 12 x 12 members – past and present;

5. interviewed 3 authors here on my blog, and 2 illustrators – my first time to interview illustrators;

6. participated in Tara Lazar’s Storystorm challenge and came up with 30 ideas for stories;

7. entered Susanna Hill’s Valentiny writing contest  (my entry);

8. entered Vivian Kirkfield’s #50 Precious Words challenge (my entry);

9. participated in ReFoReMo (Reading For Research Month) and read over 100 recommended picture books to learn more about writing picture books – and the reading continues;

10. read over 600 books during the year, all but about 60 were picture books;

11. wrote a 500-word story for a writing challenge through InScribe;

12. attended an information session with other local writers, put on by the writers federation of which I’m a member;

13. attended 15 (or more) webinars about different aspects of writing, mostly regarding picture books;

14. attended a full day online Picture Book Summit & won the big prize;

15. participated in all the 12×12 webinars – except for maybe one;

16. gained a picture book writer friend through 12×12 & we share about our writing life nearly every day;

17. earned a place on the 12×12 winners wall because of writing 25 new story drafts, 18 more than in 2016, (12 are required for the win);

18. wrote 6 revisions of stories;

19. got one story polished and submission-ready;

20. submitted story (point #19) to an agent – my first time to approach an agent;

21. received a reply from agent (point #20) with positive comments and helpful advice – a champagne rejection;

22. posted one of my stories in the 12×12 critique forum and received wonderful comments and helpful critiques, one by a critique ninja;

23. was gifted a helpful critique by author Marcie Colleen to further improve my story (point #19);

24. prepared, arranged, and published my dear mother’s children’s story as a photo flip book and had 8 copies printed for family in her honour;

25. believe more deeply I AM A WRITER!

 

 

 

What are YOUR 2017 successes? No matter how small or insignificant they might seem, they add up and fit together somehow. Please share with us in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! What are your goals for 2017?

happy-new-year-stars

It is already day three of 2017! I must still be recovering from the busyness of Christmas to make me so late writing here. (Unfortunately, we all know that doesn’t have to be the case.)

christmas-bells

Briefly … we got all our shopping, mailing of ‘away’ gifts, baking, and preparations finished on time – Yay! – minus mail-out cards that I didn’t do. On Christmas Eve we had six family members come by, then on Christmas day seventeen of us met around Dad’s dining-room tables (two tables end-t0-end) and enjoyed a delicious dinner to which all eight households had contributed. Gifts, desserts, and clean-up followed that. Afterward, my sister and family went home to enjoy their own time together, and my daughters and families and my dad all came to our house where my husband and I hosted another round of gift exchanges, snacks and an enjoyable evening get-together. It was a busy family day. Dad and I then went back to his house for sleep and the start of my week there. On New Year’s Eve nine of us got together at Dad’s for games, snacks, and fireworks. Now this week I’m home where I have so much to do!

new_year_icon_55464The rest of this post is about my goals for 2017, decluttering what remains of past creative interests being one major project. I love to sew but rarely get to do that anymore, so I will pack up the huge collection of beautiful fabric to sell – what I know I’ll not use myself. Most was part of the online retail business I had for a while that had to be set aside. Now I need to sell off the greater part of it to reclaim my space. Know that feeling? 

lots-of-fabric

Along with that I have lovely sewing embellishments and crafting supplies to liquidate. Life circumstances can change one’s plans a great deal. I had hoped to sell most things through my business; now I’ll let them go at even lower prices. 

craft-suppliesAs yet I have not managed to repurpose the room I had for my publishing. That room is planned to be my writing room; however, there is much to pack up and get rid of first, including the antiquated duplicating machine I used. It will be set out by the road during Spring cleanup and hauled away if I can’t sell it cheap. 

writer

I have started 2017 with several goals involving decluttering and selling off things, thereby reclaiming and repurposing space for writing and living. It means I have to get busy! There is so much to do here it can overwhelm me in short order, so I have to focus really hard on one little thing at a time. I don’t want to be paralyzed by the hugeness of my goal to free myself from things I no longer need or use. It’s going to take serious effort as I can become exhausted simply by the enormity of the project. Months ago my daughter introduced me to a minimalist website to help me simplify my life, which I’ve yet to take on because it seems like even more to do. 🙂 I think minimalizing is a great idea, though; who of us needs to have all the things we accumulate! Here’s the link if you are interested in looking at what is offered. http://my.becomingminimalist.com/  

My underlying goal for which all the aforementioned is aimed is to write, write, write. I’ve signed up for Storystorm (the new name for Picture Book Idea Month) hosted by Tara Lazar for the whole month of January. It’s no longer only for picture book writers. Next week I will be renewing my membership in the year long 12×12, hosted by Julie Hedlund. I still have manuscripts to bring as close to perfection as I can, and then start the process of submitting them. The one I sent out late in 2016 has not seemed to hit the mark (the publisher will contact me by the end of January if interested), so after January I will have to revisit that manuscript and find other places to send it. (I could do it now but, obviously I have other things to do.) I’d love to have an agent, so in order to be ready for that search I have to prepare several other of my stories to completed as-good-as-they-can-be manuscripts. 

Another of my goals is to set up much better records of submissions, rejections and all that fun stuff. Oh, and I must not forget the many books I want to read!

So, my goals are:

  1.  declutter and reclaim space through selling and getting rid of things
  2.  set up a writing room – through decluttering and getting rid of things
  3.  write, write, write – which includes submissions, and well-written manuscripts to prepare me for an agent
  4.  set up organized records for my writing
  5. read, read, read

Yikes! Although that seems like a short list, for me it’s a HUGE undertaking. Can I do it this year? I can try. There are twelve months in which to make my best effort. I didn’t even mention that I have specific plans for my blog this year, and I still want to learn to draw much better. Whew! (now I need a nap)

pooh-nap

It’s your turn. Tell me … what are YOUR goals for 2017?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Hurry! Time is running out to sign up for 12×12 & ReFoReMo!

This is a reminder post.

If you – or someone you know – is interested in signing up for Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 in 2016, there are only three days left to register. Don’t put it off because if you miss the date then you have to wait for registration in 2017! Please remind your friends who might be interested. Go HERE to register for this amazing challenge. There is so much offered, well worth the fee charged. 

12x12

Also, if you – or someone you know – is interested in signing up for Carrie Charlie Brown’s ReFoReMo (Reading For Research Month) for this year, tomorrow (February 27) Pre-ReFoReMo begins! Remind your friends because you and they won’t want to miss any of it. Registration for the challenge ends March 1 at 11 pm CST. Go HERE to register and get ready to read over 100 picture books! It’s free, by the way. 

ReFoReMo

12 x 12 and ReFoReMo work well together. If you have wanted to write picture books this could be your time to get started. Do check them out, and maybe I’ll see you there! Let me know if you sign up. 🙂

Do you enjoy challenges such as these?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Words of encouragement from Ira Glass

On January 16 of this year I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 in 2016. The goal for members is to write a picture book draft each month so that by the end of this year we will each have twelve completed drafts or manuscripts, hence, twelve by twelve. There’s no penalty if we don’t manage it but there is a huge amount and variety of encouragement to help us get there. I’m happy I did this for myself.

I participated when Julie first concocted the idea and made it public for 2012, the year she decided she needed accountability writing friends who would join her in this challenge she had set for herself to push forward with the ideas she had come up with during Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo. 12×12 (twelve by twelve) has grown into an amazing program during the years since, with hundreds of participants, and I am very glad I signed on for 2016. Three weeks in and I’ve learned a lot already. I’m among a group of writers who encourage and learn from one another (as well as learning from professionals who join in at certain times), plus – I might be in a small critique group soon.

There is still a little time left should anyone else want to join 12×12 for this year before the door is closed. I can’t recall exactly when that is but I think you have at least another week if you’re interested. 

Now I want to share with you a quote someone in 12 x 12 brought to our attention for encouragement. Do you know Ira Glass? Well, he said the following – and I have it written exactly as he said it:

“Nobody tells people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me …  is that all of us who do creative work, like y’know we get into it and we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there’s a gap. That for the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good, okay? It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, your taste is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. Y’know what I mean? A lot of people never get past that phase and a lot of people at that point they quit. And the thing I would just like to say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. It didn’t have the special thing that we wanted it to have and the thing what to do is … Everybody goes through that. And for you to go through it, going through it right now, if you’re just getting out of that phase you’ve got to know it’s totally normal and the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you’re going to finish one story. Because it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you’re actually going to catch up and close that gap. And your work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions. In my case, like I took longer to figure out how to do this than anybody I’ve ever met. It takes awhile. It’s going to take you awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. And you just have to fight   your   way   through   that. Okay?”   – Ira Glass

 

What do you think of this advice? What has been your experience?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

Baby steps toward CHANGE

2016, my year of change.

I’ve stated it publicly. I am determined to achieve it. I am committed to accepting it.  (Thanks, Darlene, for that last point.)

For me, change means stepping beyond myself, my comfort zone, my place of safety.  Even if that step is only a baby step, it is a step forward to my goal.

I am not saying I want to change everything about myself, or that I want to make drastic changes in my life. What I mean is I am working on my attitude and beliefs about my God-given abilities, talents, gifts, creativity. And fear – I am making baby steps away from the fear and toward the reality of who I am as a creative and what I am capable of doing.

“The key to change … is to let go of fear.”  – Rosanne Cash

 

My goal, which I’m sure you all know by now, is to write children’s books for publication. The changes have begun for me to achieve this:

  1. I have my own writing coach as of September 2015;
  2. I’m ending my publishing of a newsletter I (very sadly) haven’t had the focus and leading to do anymore; after many years it’s hard to let go. I have the final issue to complete and loose ends to tidy up;
  3. my publishing room will become my writing room, my creative space, which I’m excited to prepare;
  4. I’ve continued with Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo each November, keeping the ideas coming. To take those ideas further, Friday I signed on for a year of *12×12, making that huge (for me) leap in commitment when I’m not sure how I’m going to manage the challenge. Having said that, I signed on because I need what is being offered through it in order to reach my goal. (I did 12×12 in 2012, Julie Hedlund’s first year offering 12×12; now it’s much advanced from those beginnings.)

The biggest change for me is my private outlook, my self-talk, what I believe about myself. Change in those will bring about the most change in me and how I approach my writing.

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” – Steve Maraboli

Yes, 2016 is my year of CHANGE, the follow-up to and continuation of POSITIVITY – my word in 2015.

I am determined.     I will need reminders. And energy. And focus and refocus. (That’s not a negative already, I know how it’s been and I’m needing to not go there.)

My life as caregiver will continue as it has been, with the change being in me, in how I use my other time. There’s no progress in wishing things were different.

“Life has no remote. Get up and change it yourself.” – Thegoodvibe.co

This could be an exciting year, a challenging year, a surprising year.

2016.

My year of change.

* If YOU are interested in writing children’s books, it is not too late to sign up for 12×12. Just follow the link I provided above in my point #4.

Can you relate to the struggle of staying the course? What are your goals and determinations that you know will make a remarkable change for you? (Or put that in past tense, what were your goals … and how did you manage to meet them?)

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

It’s the 12×12 blog party! six months down, six to go

IT’S A PARTY!

and not just any party,

it’s …

Maybe it’s because I’m totally distracted some days in just keeping up, but I haven’t said much about what I’m doing with my writing. Here’s the scoop.

I’m not writing a book, I’m writing twelve books!

Julie Hedlund came up with an idea to write one picture book manuscript a month for all of this year. She had many story ideas after doing the Picture Book Idea Month challenge and wanted to actually use them. Then – since she felt she would be more successful if not doing it alone – she made it into a ‘community’ effort, named it 12 x 12 in 2012, and put out the invitation expecting a few dozen  picture book writing hopefuls to join in. What she didn’t realize is how popular this idea would immediately become and the exciting challenge it would turn into. Boasting over 400 members (yes! over 400 for this first-time challenge), can you imagine the vast number of potential picture books being written?

Now we are at the halfway point in this writing extravaganza and it’s time for a blog party. Julie has asked us to blog about it if we want to – either celebrating or lamenting. I think I will reveal my heart and take the risk of doing both. My post will probably be different from everyone else’s but … here goes.  (deep breath)

The ideas I have for stories are varied and definitely need work (most gleaned while doing PiBoIdMo), so when I began this challenge it was with the hope that I could actually pull together a few picture book manuscripts. Now that I’m a full-time part-time caregiver for a family member I have to try to keep writing when I don’t feel creative at all; some days knowing I have writing commitments is what helps keep me going.

Julie set up 12 x 12 in 2012 not only as a challenge, but as a learning experience for us. She has guest bloggers on a regular basis, each one bringing their own perspective and expertise to the writing (and illustrating) experience. Some days I’m  amazed at the forward thinking and ingenious ideas that are shared. I so appreciate the generosity of the contributors in their willingness to let us in on their secrets, what works for them, what is effectively-applied common knowledge, and what not to do. To be frank, sometimes I am a little overwhelmed. But always I am inspired to keep going.

With all that, what possibly could be my lament? Well, maybe it is more of a whine. My isolation. There’s the fact of a wonderful support group that has developed and I’m mostly on the outside of it. I don’t use Facebook where the support group is set up, and I just feel weary and blah some days, and wishing for the push that talking with another writer involved in this challenge could afford me. So, since it hasn’t really got anything to do with 12 x 12, it’s my own problem and I don’t have a lament after all!

This year so far, the six months gone by, have been challenging on many levels. As for my writing accomplishments, although I have five – not six – rough drafts written (I should say rough to very rough) I still hope to get twelve ready by the end of 2012. I can’t say that I’m delighted with all of them so far, but they are not polished yet. There’s room and time and permission for improvement. Further to that, 12 x 12 in 2012 has helped me even more to explore the fun of writing and to tap deeper into my creative thinking and possibilities.

In closing, I just want to say to Julie Hedlund, thank you for reaching beyond your own aspirations and drawing others into your scope of imagination. This is a truly amazing experience. Where else can an aspiring picture book author have access to the abundance of talent and wisdom of published authors and illustrators – and for such a great deal? What better way to learn and share and meet others of like mind without having to leave home, allowing us to continue the flow of writing? And thank you to the inspiring guest bloggers – the writers and illustrators willing to be involved – the ones who have already brought so much and the ones we have yet to be fortunate to meet.

This is an exciting adventure and we’re only halfway there!

It will surely continue to be amazing.

Party on 12 x 12’ers!

Be sure to check out other 12×12 blog party posts here.

Oh, and Julie plans to do this again in 2013, so if you missed out this year or feel you’ve just begun to tap the well, you’ll have another opportunity. How great is that!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂