Celebrating Writing Successes in 2018

Although my blogging has fallen by the wayside, my reading and writing have been going fairly strong. I will post an update on my Reading the Shelves effort soon, but in the meantime, I’m doing some reflecting on the past year of writing (and reading). This year has been transformative for me in terms of how seriously I’ve taken my writing and how productive I’ve been, and I want to take a moment to celebrate it.

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 suggests we set goals for the New Year that build on our achievements from the previous one. Last year, I didn’t complete the challenge because I felt too unsuccessful. I had done nothing the previous year to advance my writing. And I wasn’t being too hard on myself—it was entirely the truth. But this year, I’ve made real efforts, and now I’d like to share my successes. They are perhaps small in comparison to the successes of others in the community, but I have taken my first steps, and I know there will be more. Here is my list for 2018.

  1. I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge and completed six picture book drafts, two of which are now polished and submission-ready. That is six more stories than I had written in years!
  2. In January, I participated in Tara Lazar’s StoryStorm and came up with 30 new PB story ideas. Just this month, I completed my sixth story using one of these initial ideas.
  3. I joined an online critique group with fellow writers from 12×12. They have become good friends and trusted editors who see all of my work first. We are also each other’s cheerleaders and sources of information, sharing everything from conference experiences to workshop finds.
  4. I attended my first writing event—the New England SCBWI’s Agent/Editor Day. At the workshop, I read my work aloud to fellow writers and editors/agents for critique, and shared my critique on others’ PBs. As an introvert, I find these events stressful. Having never been to a writing workshop/conference before, I had no idea what to expect and was anxious about interacting with so many new people. In the end, it turned out to be a wonderful first experience, and I’m proud of myself for sharing my work and receiving feedback.
  5. An editor who was in one of my critique groups at the NESCBWI Agent/Editor Day reached out to ME to ask me to submit my revised story to her team because she really liked it. I haven’t heard back, so I’m assuming the story will not find a home with this particular publisher, but I’m so heartened by the interest. I had no expectation of interest from an editor or agent that day beyond the expected critique, so it came as a wonderful surprise.

There are likely other small moments that could be considered successes, but I will stop here for now. And that’s only partly because I am starting to nod off at this late (early?) hour. I know this is a process that takes time, and there’s a danger in comparing yourself to others, particularly those who have been working at this longer. So rather than compare, I’m going to celebrate my fellow writers’ successes as I continue working on my writing, celebrate my own 2018 successes, and look toward an even bigger 2019!

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