STORYSTORM Winner and Goal Updates

 

Don’t think I ever announced that I completed STORYSTORM in January. By the end of the 31 days, I had 31 ideas to reconsider and figure out which ones I would work on this year. Some of the most promising are juvenile or cozy mysteries, a few new Beatrice and Charlotte adventures, and an Easter story.

Even though it’s early, I’ll use this time to review my writing goals.

GOAL 1: Submit Clever Tom to agents

Deadline on this was February 15, so I didn’t make it. Still a top priority on my list. Might be able to research a couple of agents this month.

GOAL 2: Participate in STORYSTORM

Done and won!!!!

GOAL 3: Blog twice a week on all four blogs

Not doing too badly on this. Until we went on vacation mid-February I was staying on top of this. I’m already set to blog at all four blogs this week.

GOAL 4: Guest blog at least once a quarter

I need to get this in soon. I guest blogged in December 2017, but not so far this year.

GOAL 5: Contribute to Guardian Angel Kids this year

I’m considering a contribution to the August, September, October or December issues.

GOAL 6: Finish Amelia’s Mission and get it ready for submission

I’m into the middle of Chapter 18 now. I’ve been using writing group time to move the story along. In addition, while we were away, I wrote an emotional scene that will change Amelia’s life.

Here’s looking forward to the next quarter of 2018 and what I can accomplish. Feel free to share some of your goals with us. We would love to hear them.

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2018 Writing Goals

 

Happy New Year! Tomorrow it is back to school and work for everyone–actually, I’ve been working off and on since the day after Christmas–and it’s time to set some goals for 2018. A few of these goals will be carry overs from 2017, but that’s okay. I still made some great progress last year.

GOAL 1: Submit Clever Tom to agents

This is my most recent story. It was a Picture Book Idea Month (now STORYSTORM) idea that I was finally able to iron out the details of and write down thanks to my writing group.  Not thrilled with the title (titles have never been my strength) but totally in love with the story. It appears in good shape, so I plan to shop it around and see if I can’t get any bites on it. (Smaller goal is to research at least three children’s agents by February 15, 2018 and see who might be the best fit.)

GOAL 2: Participate in STORYSTORM

Just started today. No more logging ideas on my blog, but I’ll provide a weekly update. I’ve managed this challenge more than once. It has lead to one published book, another due to be released this year, and the story above. I also have several other partially written or waiting to be edited stories in the works thanks to this annual event. Can’t wait to see what this year brings.

GOAL 3: Blog twice a week on all four blogs

In addition to this site, there’s The Book Connection, An Imperfect Christian Mom, and Books Can Be Deadly. This seems manageable and not too overwhelming with my work schedule. I’m doing my best not to make my mommy blog only about books. There is so much more I would like to share there. I blog twice a month at Christian Children’s Authors. (Smaller goal is to set up my calendar a month in advance and log in two days a week for blogging.)

GOAL 4: Guest blog at least once a quarter

I love guest blogging on other people’s sites. I’m going to be reaching out to friends via email and social media to see who will host me. I’m always willing to return the favor. (Smaller goal is to reach out to fellow bloggers within the next two weeks to see about getting on their schedules.)

GOAL 5: Contribute to Guardian Angel Kids this year

I’ve wanted to do this for a while. Guardian Angel Publishing has been so wonderful to me. I must make time to return the favor by supporting their online magazine. This was a goal from last year and I want to make it a reality this year. (Smaller goal is to research all themes by January 31, 2018 and see which issue I would like to contribute toward.)

GOAL 6: Finish Amelia’s Mission and get it ready for submission

I’m seventeen chapters in. This will be my project at all my writing group meetings this year. Amelia is away at school now and has met a good friend. She also has encountered some mean girls who are out to make life miserable. She’s still pondering Aunt Martha’s secret and what she should do about it. (Smaller goal is to attend all monthly meetings.)

STORYSTORM 2018 is Coming!

Tara Lazar’s STORYSTORM 2018 will start tomorrow! Thanks to this annual event (formerly known as Picture Book Idea Month), I have come up with numerous story ideas over the last few years, including one that became my third published book, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, and also Amos Faces His Bully, which will be released by Guardian Angel Publishing in 2018. The children’s story I recently wrote at writing group also came about thanks to this challenge.
Any writer interested in brainstorming new story ideas in January is invited to join. Any genre, any style; student, amateur, hobbyist, aspiring author or professional.

How does STORYSTORM work? It’s simple…

  • Register at Tara’s blog by signing your name ONCE in the comments on the registration post. Registering makes you eligible for prizes.
  • Visit her blog daily (taralazar.com) in January for inspirational essays by guest bloggers—professional authors, illustrators and experts in creativity.
  • Instead of visiting the blog directly, you can receive the daily posts via email by clicking the “Follow Tara’s Blog” button in the left column—look under her photo for it.
  • After you have read the daily inspiration, jot down a daily story idea in a journal (the annual CafePress journal will be linked when ready), computer, anywhere you like to write. Some days you might have no ideas, but some days you might have five or more.
  • At the end of January, if you have at least 30 ideas, sign the STORYSTORM pledge she posts and qualify for prizes.
  • Prizes include professional consults, signed books, original art, writerly gadgets and gizmos.

In previous years, I’ve posted my ideas here on my blog. This year I’ll track them on my computer and give a weekly update on my progress.

Good luck to all participants!

2017 Goals Year End Update

Hard to believe that we are close to the end of 2017. For me, it was a good real estate year, which means it wasn’t such a great writing year. That said, the last quarter has seen me focusing more on my writing than I was earlier. Here is what my goals were when I started.

GOALS FOR 2017

  1. Participate in Picture Book Idea Month in January. I’ve participated in this endeavor twice, which resulted in Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving being published, Amos Faces His Bully being under contract, and four other picture books written. I’m game to do it again.
  2. Submit two short stories this year.
  3. Contribute to Guardian Angel Kids e-zine once this year.
  4. Seek out guest blogging opportunities once a quarter.
  5. Write four chapters of Amelia’s Mission by June.
  6. Attend writing group monthly.

Then in June I added:

New item: Amos Faces His Bully is currently being illustrated. That should come out sometime later this year. I’ll need to dedicate time October – December to promote it.

New item: I’ve given the Christian chapter book I ghostwrote to one of my publishers for review. With any luck I’ll be needing to work on edits to that this year as well. Say a prayer.

 

Where did I end up?

2017 GOAL YEAR END UPDATE

Goal 1 DONE!: Picture Book Idea Month became STORYSTORM this year. This allowed more writers to participate and certainly helped me to achieve my goal of 30 story ideas in 30 days.

Goal 2 Incomplete: Thought I would do this, but much of my focus this year has been on a larger project you’ll see below.

Goal 3 Incomplete: Guardian Angel has been very good to me over the years. They have another book of mine in the works, so I will put this one back on my goals list for 2018.

Goal 4 DONE!: This has been an important part of my marketing plan since before my first book was published. I love to host fellow authors at my blogs and they are more than happy to return the favor. My last guest spot of the year appeared at Mary Cunningham’s Cynthia’s Attic blog. You can read it at http://cynthiasattic.blogspot.com/2017/12/holiday-inspiration-by-cheryl-c.html

 Goal 5 Made Progress: I am up to seventeen chapters and I just edited all of them because I’ve been writing a tiny bit each Wednesday. I’m ready to start the new year off strong. I want this book completed in 2018.

Goal 6 Made Progress: I can’t say I kept track, but I think I only missed three meetings this year. Not bad for someone who is usually out selling houses in the evening. I’ve already set up our meeting schedule through the year for 2018, so I am in the process of adding the dates to my calendar. I won’t usually schedule over it if that time is already reserved.

GOAL 7 In the works: Sadly, the original illustrator for Amos Faces His Bully became ill this year and was unable to complete the project. I am thrilled with his replacement, but I don’t have a  new release date from the publisher yet.

GOAL 8 On hold: The publisher opted not to pick up the Christian chapter book I ghostwrote. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet, but I’ll see what 2018 brings.

In a day or two I will be posting my 2018 Goals List. Hope you’ll share how your goals went this year and what you’re planning for the new year.

2017 Goals Update

It’s time for a goals update. I used to review my goals once a quarter, but now it’s more like twice a year. No matter how often it happens it is important to gauge progress.

GOALS FOR 2017

Considering my real estate work schedule and my family commitments, I am keeping it simple again this year.

  1. Participate in Picture Book Idea Month in January. I’ve participated in this endeavor twice, which resulted in Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving being published, Amos Faces His Bully being under contract, and four other picture books written. I’m game to do it again.
  2. Submit two short stories this year.
  3. Contribute to Guardian Angel Kids e-zine once this year.
  4. Seek out guest blogging opportunities once a quarter.
  5. Write four chapters of Amelia’s Mission by June.
  6. Attend writing group monthly.

JUNE 2017 GOAL UPDATE

Goal 1: Complete! Picture Book Idea Month became STORYSTORM this year. This allowed more writers to participate and certainly helped me to achieve my goal of 30 story ideas in 30 days.

Goal 2: I’m really not a short story person, but I am hoping something I have in my finished works might be tweaked. Might look at this on vacation next month.

Goal 3: Not yet. I may be too late, but I’ll see what the themes are for the remainder of the year and go from there.

Goal 4: Definitely got back into guest blogging this year. The release of Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and my participation in the Author’s Fair at our local library helped this along.

Goal 5: Did not happen and might not happen. I ended up going in a slightly different direction, using my monthly writing group meetings to review The Sisterhood, a women’s fiction story that I would really like to revise.

Goal 6: I’ve only missed one so far this year. I’ll miss next month’s while we are on vacation. Amazing considering how busy my real estate business has been.

New item: Amos Faces His Bully is currently being illustrated. That should come out sometime later this year. I’ll need to dedicate time October – December to promote it.

New item: I’ve given the Christian chapter book I ghostwrote to one of my publishers for review. With any luck I’ll be needing to work on edits to that this year as well. Say a prayer.

How are your writing goals coming?

Picture Book Idea Month is Now STORYSTORM!

storystorm

 

During last month’s virtual book tour, I spoke a lot about Picture Book Idea Month and how it helped me to come up with more story ideas than ever before and led to the publication of Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and Amos Faces His Bully being under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing. Though it used to take place in November and was limited to picture book authors, its founder, Tara Lazar, moved this annual event to January and renamed it STORYSTORM so that the broader scope can inspire even more writers to fulfill their dreams. You can read more about the changes here.

While I was goofing off between Christmas and New Year’s I missed all this fun stuff, so I am playing catch up now. Good thing it’s only January 2. 🙂

Want to join us? Register here by January 7th!

2016 Goal Review & 2017 Writing Goals

goal

Oh me, oh my. I blinked my eyes and 2016 was done. I set myself three goals for this year and achieved only one: I attended writing group fairly consistently, missing only a few. I’m long past the point of being disappointed when I don’t hit a writing goal. What did bum me out is that I wasn’t disciplined enough to review my goals more than once since December. It’s important to review goals at least once a quarter to stay focused.

Enough whining, because good stuff happened in 2016. Here’s what I accomplished:

Book Release

This November, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving was released by Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP). This was totally unexpected, so I had to make time to promote the book once it came out. I still have a few copies available for review if anyone is interested. You can email me at ccmal(at)charter(dot)net. Please put “Mac and Cheese” in the subject line.

Amelia’s Mission

One of my goals was to finish this middle grade novel by the end of the year. That didn’t happen, but I am now in the middle of Chapter 16, so there’s progress.

Writers Conference and Agent Meeting

I sat on the planning committee for WriteAngles again this year. We ended up having an agent slot open, so I snagged it. I’ve met enough agents at this point that it is no longer intimidating and practice is always good. I pitched Amelia’s Mission and she helped me polish my query letter.

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That leaves my edits for The Sisterhood as a totally untouched goal from 2016. This is the first full-length novel I completed. It needs a lot of editing, which I didn’t get to this year. I’m going to hold off on it for now. It’s too large of a project for me to commit to tackle in 2017. I truly want to get Amelia’s Mission finished first anyway.

Searching for Popularity is an incomplete manuscript that I changed from memoir to young adult novel. It probably won’t garner much of my attention until Amelia’s Mission is done.

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The following completed books are searching for a home:

A New Home (chapter book) – Romeo, Juliet, and Peter are three abandoned kittens searching for a new home.

Crabby Cathy (picture book) – Cathy is a mean girl who shoves people around in the schoolyard and takes things that aren’t hers. But when Amy and Chloe decide to befriend this bully, they see a side to Cathy they didn’t know existed.

Everybody’s Home for Christmas (chapter book) – Rachel is sad that her military father isn’t around for Christmas like the other dads. With some encouragement from her mom, she spends the days putting together a care package to send to him in Afghanistan, and before she goes to bed each night she prays for his safe return. Will Rachel experience a Christmas miracle?

The Real Cinderella Story (picture book) – A snarky story of Cinderella told by one of her sisters.

 

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Amos Faces His Bully is under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing. Wouldn’t it be great if an illustrator took on that project and it released in 2017? That is my hope.

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GOALS FOR 2017

Considering my real estate work schedule and my family commitments, I am keeping it simple again this year.

  1. Participate in Picture Book Idea Month in January. I’ve participated in this endeavor twice, which resulted in Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving being published, Amos Faces His Bully being under contract, and four other picture books written. I’m game to do it again.
  2. Submit two short stories this year.
  3. Contribute to Guardian Angel Kids e-zine once this year.
  4. Seek out guest blogging opportunities once a quarter.
  5. Write four chapters of Amelia’s Mission by June.
  6. Attend writing group monthly.

Are you setting your goals for 2017 yet? Want to share any of them?