2019 Writing Goals

 

Welcome to 2019! I am so excited. Last year was a bit tough with all that was going on, but I still made some great strides. I don’t usually do this, but in the spirit of making some changes, here are a few 2019 predictions:

  • My calendar will be time blocked better this year, making me more effective and efficient
  • I will submit at least one finished project to an agent
  • I will actually take a vacation this year where I don’t do work–well, real estate work anyway

Now, on to my writing goals for 2019…

 

GOAL 1: Submit Clever Tom to an agent

This will happen. My best shot at it is first quarter 2019, since by spring the real estate market is in full swing. So, by mid-January, I want to have two potential agents to submit to. For that to happen, I am going back to Twitter to see the agents who participated in PBPitch in October and research them a bit more. Then by the end of January, I want my query letter polished and ready to go, so that the beginning of February my submission will be out the door.

GOAL 2: Participate in STORYSTORM

This started today. We come up with 30 book ideas over 30 days in January. I’ve won the last few years. If I really think on ideas that have been brewing in my head, it should happen again. I’ve already got my list on my computer waiting to go. In the past, I’ve blogged about my ideas. Now, they aren’t all centered around children’s literature, so I keep a running list on my computer.

GOAL 3: Contribute to Guardian Angel Kids 

This was a missed goal from 2018. In order to make it happen, I need to review their themes for 2019 (DONE). The holiday issue in December still seems the likely candidate. By the end of February, I want to come up with two possible ideas for short stories (500 words or fewer). First draft needs to be done by May so that I can submit in June or July while we are on vacation.

GOAL 4: Write 10 chapters of Amelia’s Mission

I need to finish this project. I love it so much and feedback has been great. If I can write one chapter a month, taking two months in the calendar off to concentrate on Clever Tom and my Guardian Angel Kids submission, I might be able to do this. Writing group meets once a month (first Monday of the month), so if I work on the chapter the last three weeks of the month, by the next meeting I should have something to submit.

GOAL 5: Maintain my blogs

I made some excellent strides in 2018 where my blogs are concerned. In addition to my four main blogs, I brought a blog out of hiatus and now contribute to 4RV Publishing Reading, Writing, & Art News and Christian Children’s Authors. My hope is that by the end of tonight (or by tomorrow) my calendar is updated with all my regular blogging dates.

Here is the key to it all–my calendar. My husband set up Outlook to automatically populate my phone–which is helpful–but I am still a paper calendar kind of person. If I can get at least the first quarter together this week, I have the chance of creating a good habit to bring me through the rest of the year.

Now, you know my goals, what are some of yours? What are you especially excited to accomplish in 2019?

 

2018 Goals Review

 

It is that time of year again–time to review my goals and see how the year went. I’m a person who looks at the positives. Focusing on the negatives or what I didn’t accomplish is counterproductive. This was a year when real estate and caring for my in-laws took center stage. My latest book, Amos Faces His Bully, was also released by Guardian Angel Publishing. I’m satisfied with the progress made, even if it wasn’t all I wanted.

GOAL 1: Submit Clever Tom to agents – Made progress

This is a cute and funny story that came out of last year’s STORYSTORM. Though I didn’t submit it to agents yet, I did tweak it a bit before researching a few agents. I also participated in PBPITCH on Twitter a couple of times.

GOAL 2: Participate in STORYSTORM – DONE

I love this annual event. Thirty story ideas over 30 days. It’s tough, but not impossible. When picture book writers follow this up with National Picture Book Writing Week then great things happen.

GOAL 3: Blog twice a week on all four blogs – Blogged more than last year and made some additions

I started out with four blogs at the beginning of the year. The Book Connection and The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection are the ones that probably got the most attention. An Imperfect Christian Mom was probably the next most active. Books Can Be Deadly was active, but had some gaps. I resurrected Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection. I also began blogging twice a month at the 4RV Reading, Writing & Art News blog–which belongs to one of my publishers. I’m also still contributing to Christian Children’s Authors and play around with Laura’s Little Houses (my Little House blog) when I have time.

GOAL 4: Guest blog at least once a quarter – Not really

With the release of my new book in January, I did a bunch of guest blogging. Simply haven’t done much since.

GOAL 5: Contribute to Guardian Angel Kids this year – Tiny bit of progress

I took a look at themes this year, but only felt a connection to the December issue. I’m really not a short story person, which doesn’t help. I might still try it again this year.

GOAL 6: Finish Amelia’s Mission and get it ready for submission – Laughs a bit

Now twenty chapters in, Amelia is stuck at school when she receives some bad news from home. I’m dedicated to finishing this, but I am such a s-l-o-w writer. I have been attending most of the monthly writing meetings to help move things along. Our group has grown, so I don’t always get feedback right away.

An unspoken goal that has been on my mind for a while came to fruition this year. I became an acquisitions editor intern for 4RV Publishing. I’m also editing a children’s book series right now. So, I am keeping one leg in the writing world while real estate and family responsibilities move in to consume me. Look for my 2019 goals coming soon. It’s going to be a great year!

What were some of your goals for 2018? What did you accomplish? Any idea on what your goals are for the new year?

2018 Goals Update

 

It’s time to review my writing goals for the year. I fear I’ll be sadly disappointed, but work and family come first.

GOAL 1: Submit Clever Tom to agents

Not yet. Deadline was February 15 and I haven’t really driven into that one. I’ve participated in Picture Book Pitch on Twitter, but nothing further. I’ll need to go back and look at that hashtag “PBPitch” to see if I can get some ideas of appropriate agents.

GOAL 2: Participate in STORYSTORM

Did this in January and won.

GOAL 3: Blog twice a week on all four blogs

When I am busy with work these get neglected, but at least two of the four stay regularly updated. I also added contributing to the 4RV blog twice a month and also contribute to Christian Children’s Authors.

GOAL 4: Guest blog at least once a quarter

Since I had a virtual book tour for Amos Faces His Bully  I did a bunch of guest blogging. I’ll probably set up another book tour in November.

GOAL 5: Contribute to Guardian Angel Kids this year

Looks like my best hope is the December issue.

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

I’ve been polishing the earlier chapters a bit based upon feedback from my local writers group and my critique partner. I’m in the middle of Chapter 20 now. 🙂

Overall, not a bad effort. What are some of your goals? Do you review them quarterly? How do you stay on track?

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.

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!