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?

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Picture Book Idea Month is Now STORYSTORM!

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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

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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?

Blogging at Christian Children’s Authors – Prayerful Goal Setting

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It’s my Friday to blog at Christian Children’s Authors. I am so honored to be among the talented group of writers contributing to this blog. Today’s post talks about prayerful goal setting. You can find it at http://christianchildrensauthors.com/2016/10/21/prayerful-goal-setting/

2016 Writing Goal Review – First Quarter

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It’s hard to believe that the first quarter of 2016 is almost done. Where did it go?

As is typical for me, I review my goals once a quarter to gauge my progress and make any necessary adjustments. Here are the goals I sent at the end of December:

  • Complete Amelia’s Mission by December 31, 2016.
  • Continue to attend critique group twice a month.
  • Edit The Sisterhood.

So, where do I stand now?

  • Only one chapter has been written since the end of December, but it’s a good one. Amelia is off at Elms Academy where Aunt Martha banished her after she disobeyed her strict aunt one too many times. There she meets new people–some nice and some not so nice. I like how this story is developing.
  • I’m attending critique group twice a month, but might need to cut back to once a month. The spring real estate market is very busy and I am gone many evenings, so being home one extra night a month will make a difference to the family.
  • I dug out The Sisterhood and brought it with me to the last two critique group meetings; mostly because I hadn’t written the next chapter of Amelia’s story, but also because I think it deserves some attention. It definitely needs extensive revisions, but the overall idea is strong.

What other projects are there in the hopper? I have numerous written picture books looking for homes:

A New Home – Three abandoned kittens search for a new place to live.

Crabby Cathy is about a mean bully who bothers Amy until she discovers why Cathy behaves the way she does and works on befriending her.

Everybody’s Home for Christmas – Rachel is sad her father is stationed overseas during the holidays and prays for a Christmas miracle.

The Real Cinderella Story – A snarky story by one of Cinderella’s stepsisters. I love this one! Looking for a home for it.

Beatrice and the Dinosaur – First book in a series. Needs some polishing, but it is about a girl and her imaginary friend who go on adventures together. In this one, Beatrice and Charlotte imagine Dad’s lawn mower is a dinosaur.

Beatrice and the Polar Bear – The second book in the series finds Beatrice and Charlotte being chased by a polar bear (Dad’s snow blower). This one also needs a bit of polishing.

 

Searching for Popularity is what I had started as a middle grade/young adult memoir. I think the story would be better as a novel so once some other projects are completed I will tackle this one.

A Shepherd’s Journey is a Christian novel for the adult market. It tells the story of Obed, who seeks out the apostles after the Resurrection to learn if Jesus is the Messiah he met when he was just a boy living outside of Bethlehem.

Looks like I have more than enough to keep me busy. How about you? Have you set some writing goals for this year? Do you review your goals on a regular basis? What is one story idea you have that is begging to be written?

Writing Goal Planning

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My last post set forth my writing goals, but I know they need to be broken down into smaller chunks to make them more manageable. So here it goes.

Main Goal: Complete Amelia’s Mission by December 31, 2016.

Hard to believe I am giving myself a whole year for this, but spring will be very busy and summer is dedicated to the kids. I love this story and won’t give up on it. Most of my research is done, so writing should go smoothly when I have the time to dedicate to it.

Smaller Goal: Write one chapter a month. Doable since twice a month I need to bring something new to my critique group.

Smaller Goal: Time block one Saturday afternoon to writing. 

Main Goal: Continue to attend critique group twice a month.

We meet at the library the first Monday of the month and at my office the third Monday, so at least I am sure to get one in on a monthly basis. At these meetings I am getting feedback on: A Shepherd’s Journey (Christian fiction), Montezuma’s Revenge (romantic suspense novella), and Searching for Popularity (tween/teen fiction).

Smaller Goal: Time block on my calendar so I don’t put other work in its place.

Main Goal: Edit The Sisterhood.

This was the first full-length novel I finished. It’s women’s fiction, and I feel it has a lot of promise. It just needs a ton of editing. I doubt I would get all the way through it, but even if I got through a quarter of it, that would be progress.

Smaller Goal: Time block one evening a week to edits.

Smaller Goal: Have first half of book edited by May 31, 2016. Honestly not sure right now if this is realistic. Just have to see what the spring brings for real estate and other work.

Have you set any writing goals for yourself this year? How about other goals? Do you break them down so they are more manageable?

Writing Goals for 2016

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Hard to believe it’s that time of year again. Before I get into the goals I am setting for 2016, I would like to review what I’ve accomplished in 2015.

Because this was going to be my first full year of working outside the home, I kept my goals simple and few: daily Bible reading, complete editing projects, complete Amelia’s Mission by May 31st, and reconsider my blogging duties. So, how did I make out?

Daily Bible reading.

This has gone from being a chapter a day to a verse a day, but at least I am still reading. In addition, I’m working books like The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren into my reading schedule.

Complete editing projects.

I had two large editing projects this year. Both of them worked out well and I was glad to see they both made it to the publishers on time.

Complete Amelia’s Mission by May 31st.

As I mentioned in July when I last updated my goals, this seemed realistic when I set it in January. Then my real estate business took off and writing was pushed aside. I ended 2015 with fourteen closings and five rentals. I currently have three listings and numerous potential sales coming up.

So, where does that leave poor Amelia?

With thirteen chapters completed, I haven’t touched the manuscript since July. Not that I haven’t been doing some writing, it’s just on other projects and not as much as I would like. I have, however, regularly attended our critique group meetings, so that means I always need to have something to bring with me.

GOALS FOR 2016

I need to remain realistic in setting my goals for 2016. I’m thinking the amount of time dedicated to writing will be the same or less than it was this year. In addition, I want to make sure to keep some balance between my personal and professional lives. Kids are only little so long. My girls are already in middle school and high school.

Complete Amelia’s Mission by December 31, 2016. 

Hard to believe I am giving myself a whole year for this, but spring will be very busy and summer is dedicated to the kids. I love this story and won’t give up on it. Most of my research is done, so writing should go smoothly when I have the time to dedicate to it.

Continue to attend critique group twice a month.

We meet at the library the first Monday of the month and at my office the third Monday, so at least I am sure to get one in on a monthly basis. At these meetings I am getting feedback on: A Shepherd’s Journey (Christian fiction), Montezuma’s Revenge (romantic suspense novella), and Searching for Popularity (tween/teen fiction). 

Edit The Sisterhood.

This was the first full-length novel I finished. It’s women’s fiction, and I feel it has a lot of promise. It just needs a ton of editing. I doubt I would get all the way through it, but even if I got through a quarter of it, that would be progress.

 

What is not under my control?

My publisher has two of my picture books under contract. They’ve had them for a while, but are awaiting available illustrators to work on them. My hope is Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving will be out next fall, but we’ll have to see. I don’t think Amos Faces His Bully will be out until 2017 or later.

That’s it for me. Have you set your writing goals for 2016 yet? Feel free to share them.