Tag Archives: ReFoReMo

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!  🙂 

 

 

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My personal reading challenges

I have an account on Goodreads. If you love books then Goodreads.com is a great place to be. Each year they set up a challenge for us to challenge ourselves to read more, to set goals to read however many books we think we can or that we want to read. I enjoy challenges like that since I’m just a little competitive. And I love books.

In 2013 my goal was 25 books. I made it to 44%, having read only 11 books. Actually, if you look at my list here on my blog for what books I read that year, my total was 34. The difference is because I apparently didn’t report them all on Goodreads. Oops!

I don’t remember what my goal for 2014 was, but I reported 38 books. In actuality, I read 46.

In 2015 I met my goal of 50 books. Yay! (Plus one I didn’t report.)

This year I set a goal of 25, then decided to up it to 50 again. Once I joined the ReFoReMo challenge in March, I said – what the hey! – and reset my goal to 150 books this year. Yipes!  Not to panic, yet.  I am already 64 ahead of schedule at 71%, having read 107 as of this writing. I still have a few more titles on hold at the library for the lingering on of ReFoReMo in my life, and we have about eight months left in 2016. I can do it! (yes I can)  Gosh, I love books!

It may not seem like such a big accomplishment where most of my reading so far this year is picture books. I could never manage to read that many novels in twelve months. BUT … reading is reading. I’m learning about writing while I’m enjoying all those expertly told stories, too, as they serve as mentor texts.

Someday I’ll try to count how many books I have here in my growing TBR stashes♥  Novels, that is. Novels beckoning to me, novels tempting me, calling me.  *sigh*  I want to read them, get lost in them, devour them all!

pile of books

BOOKS.  

Another feature on Goodreads is that other members I’ve connected with as “friends” can recommend books they’ve read. Oh me. Some have.  🙂 

Oh, and while I’m on the topic — thank you to author Darlene Foster who follows my blog and recommended Pompeii by Robert Harris. I bought it through Audible.com and very much enjoyed it. Of course, I could have borrowed it from the library but I didn’t even think of doing that at the time. I really like Audible, anyway.  🙂  I can multi-task that way — listen to the book being performed for me (not just read), which is so great, and work around doing something else at the same time. But not writing. Not while “reading.”  😉

Have you set a goal this year for how many books you want to read? Or is there some other goal-setting you’ve established?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

Local library love; giveaway reminder

I just found THIS VIDEO on my local library’s Twitter feed.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

My library is still bringing books in for me for ReFoReMo, and I’m analyzing the few I have to take back soon. The challenge was a great learning experience for me; I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My fourth giveaway draw is tonight, but it seems I have to change the stipulation that I’ll send only to Canada or US for this one.  This nice little photo pen is great as a Mother’s Day gift, or a gift to a grandparent – with the children’s photo in it. 

If you aren’t interested in this item perhaps you know someone to pass it on to, or you can send someone here to enter the draw for themselves?

Are you a lover of your local library?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Another pile of books for ReFoReMo

The challenge has ended, sort of. ReFoReMo may be over in one way, but I have a lot of work to do yet. On our own we were to read through each book and then analyze it – study how each was written, observe the POV and universal theme, choose our favourite line, write a little about the story’s main character, and more. It’s been educational for me to find out what is popular now, the many different types and themes of picture books, and the variety of ways to present stories. I’ve learned what type of book I’m not interested in writing and what style I’d like to try. A few I didn’t enjoy reading, a couple brought tears to my eyes, a few were educational and I learned fascinating things I didn’t know before; some stories were funny, a couple were hilarious (to me), and many were sweet stories in a variety of ways. This has been a great experience. (Thanks Carrie Charley Brown!)

I got more books from the library on Saturday and I’ve also started returning books. That’s the sad part.

Here are some of the latest ones I borrowed, I have a few others to photograph,  and there are more on hold for me.

batch 5 -11 Have you read any of the above?  They are:

  • Gravity by Jason Chin
  • One Day, The End by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
  • Birthday Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka
  • Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead
  • How Hybrid Cars Work by Jennifer Swanson
  • Sparky! by Jenny Offill
  • A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey
  • Wolfie the Bunny by Amy Dyckman
  • if you want to see a whale by Julia Fogliano
  • When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Locomotive by Brian Floca

I’ve read over eighty picture books through March because of Reading For Research Month, and I’m not done yet. That’s more books than I would normally read in a year! Some people have read many more than the 100 suggested, in only this month.

Now we’re learning from the special posts written for our further insight and inspiration. I’m so glad I did this, although now I’m behind in some other things I was doing – blogging and 12×12, to name only two. What I’ve gleaned through ReFoReMo should help in my writing though, so it’s all good.   🙂

On Sunday eleven of us shared Easter dinner at my dad’s, then I came home for my week off. I have a lot of reading, writing, revising to do and also publishing to finish! I am a writer and lovin’ it! 

When is the last time you read a picture book to a child or for your own enjoyment?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

           

A fourth pile of books for ReFoReMo!

For a week I haven’t posted the newest books I’ve received from the library for Reading for Research Month! The librarian has been faithfully bringing them in for me and the notifications have been popping up in my email. (I currently have 64 out on loan.) Even though today’s mail brought another notice, I am posting a photo of the nineteen books I haven’t shown you yet. The others can wait – I’ll show them to you later since I haven’t been able to get them today anyway.

batch 4 - 19They are:

  • Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow
  • This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary
  • Fox and Squirrel by Ruth Ohi
  • Cock-a-Doodle Oops! by Lori Degman
  • The Snatchabook by Helen Doherty
  • Max the Brave by Ed Vere
  • Home by Carson Ellis
  • Swan by Laurel Snyder
  • Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley
  • No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart
  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  • Won Ton: a Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw
  • Waiting by Kevin Henkes
  • One Word From Sophia by Jim Averbeck
  • Be a Friend by Salina Yoon
  • I Dare You Not to Yawn by Helen Boudreau  [let me know if you keep from yawning when reading this one]
  • The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös by Deborah Heiligman
  • No Nap! Yes Nap! by Margie Palatini
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt  [hilarious!]

Aren’t they beautiful? 🙂  Some I enjoy more than others and for different reasons.  I’m impressed by every one … and for different reasons.

Have you read any of the above books?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Giveaway reminder & a third pile of books for ReFoReMo!

Reminder: As you can see by my countdown counter on the right, the time is nearly here for my 3rd giveaway. If you haven’t yet left a comment on my February 18 post to enter the draw, please don’t delay. I will again use Random.org name picker the evening of March 9 (Wednesday) to select a winner. The next morning I will be announcing here who will be receiving my giveaway this month! Go HERE to check it out.

I’m continuing to read lots of picture books this month – and loving it! On Saturday my husband and I stopped in at the library to collect more of the books on my list. They always send me an email when more are in and being held for me, so I am visiting the library more than I have in a long time.

This trip I came home with seventeen more books.  🙂  Now I have on lend forty-five picture books.  Later that day we had visitors, one being a twelve-year-old who enjoyed reading many in my stack of books.

batch 3 - 17 books Have you read any of these?

  • I Want My Hat Back  by Jon Klassen
  • You Nest Here With Me  by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple and Melissa Sweet
  • Bridget’s Beret  by Tom Lichtenheld
  • Seaver the Weaver  by Paul Czajack and The Brothers Hilts
  • Everyone Loves Bacon  by Kelly Dipuchchio and Eric Wight
  • Brave Girl : Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909  by Michelle Markel and Melissa Sweet
  • Rain!  by Linda Ashman and Christian Robinson
  • I Don’t Want to Be a Frog  by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt
  • Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle  by Chris Raschka
  • Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy  by Jan Thomas
  • Henry’s Freedom Box: a True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson
  • Rabbityness  by Jo Empson
  • How to Read a Story  by Kate Messner and Mark Siegel
  • How to Babysit a Grandpa  by Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish
  • Heckedy Peg  by Audrey and Don Wood
  • Mustache Baby  by Bridget Heos and Joy Ang
  • My Name is Elizabeth!  by Annika Dunklee and Matthew Forsythe

If you are a reader, do you change it up once in a while with a picture book or any other genre from your usual?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Another pile of books for ReFoReMo!

Gosh, I love any excuse to read!  Wednesday evening I made a second trip to the library for another load of picture books brought in for me. Fourteen more. I  now have twenty-eight of the books I’m to be reading for ReFoReMo. Gotta love it! 

15 in batch 2

Have you read any of these?

  • Jemmy Button by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali
  • Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace and LeUyen Pham
  • Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
  • How To Wash a Woolly Mammoth by Michelle Robinson and Kate Hindley
  • Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt
  • Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal
  • Ask Me by Bernard Waber and Suzy Lee
  • Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
  • Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle
  • Yard Sale by Eve Bunting and Lauren Castillo
  • Mine! by Shutta Crum and Patrice Barton
  • That is NOT a Good Idea! by Mo Willems
  • Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton
  • Uh-Oh! by Shutta Crum and Patrice Barton

Several weeks ago I’d donated a poster to my grandson’s school’s library, a poster of an artist’s painting. Yesterday the librarian sent a book with my little guy for him to show me. She thought I’d like to see it because it is about that renowned artist – Ted Harrison! My grandson brought it by tonight and we read it together since he has reading homework every night.

This is the book, and next is my favourite of his paintings in it.

A Brush Full of Colour. The World of Ted HarrisonTed Harrison's painting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used to want to paint. I liked to sketch and draw. Last year I even started to sketch a little again and got tips from an illustrator, but I don’t know how to fit that creative study into my life right now. Maybe one day … eventually … once I have books to illustrate or I’m on a writing pause so I can pursue that study.  🙂

What creative study have you wished to pursue and haven’t yet? Or maybe you have, so what led you to do it?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂