Honoring Your Journey

6 01 2016

2015  ReleasesI usually set goals and make resolutions this time of year. I like the thought of a shiny new year with all those beautiful blank days ready to fill like journal pages. As I look back over last year’s journal and accomplishments, it’s easy to see how I spent most of my time. Writing and illustrating took up a lot of it.

I had 6 books come out and signed with an agent, who sold my Amish novel in a 3-book deal. I traveled to quite a few speaking engagements and finished my classes for my MFA in Children’s Writing and Illustrating at Hollins University.

Those were all tangible results, but I remember many years when my only progress consisted of stacks of rejection letters, half-finished manuscripts, and a brain full of ideas. Although I put in a lot of work, I didn’t feel a real sense of accomplishment. Now I wish I could go back and celebrate those achievements, because if it weren’t for those years of drudgery and disappointment, I wouldn’t be published today.

So wherever you are on your journey (whether in writing or other pursuits), honor the hard work you’ve put in — even if it didn’t bring the rewards you hoped. Find a way to keep track of what you’ve done and celebrate the small milestones along the way. Rejection letters indicate you’ve been submitting, partially finished manuscripts prove you’ve been writing, doodles in your sketchbook show you’ve been drawing. Yes, you may not have gotten as far as you’d hoped, but rather than looking at where you expected to be, rejoice in how far you’ve come. You’ve made progress, and that’s the most important thing.

What small strides did you make toward your goals this year that you haven’t given yourself enough credit for?

 

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Too Much to Do?

5 09 2014

Here’s some great advice to fit the most important things into your days,

 

Some of the best advice ever for becoming successful.





Are Your Goals a Piece of Cake?

12 04 2014

As a former cake decorator, I love Dana Carey’s comparison of goals to CAKE! Who wouldn’t want to eat this delicious cake layer by layer?

The Monthly Goalpost for April.





Reaching for Goals

17 01 2013

cardinal in snowLooking over my goals from last year  made me wonder why so many stay the same. Do I really want to achieve those goals? Deep down where it counts? Or are they things I think I should do? Or do I feel guilty spending time and effort on them?

I once read that you should get rid of everything in your closets or drawers that you haven’t worn in the past year. You know the stuff–the too-small sizes you hope to get back into someday, the too-big clothes you keep just in case, that favorite pair of pants with the broken zipper that you plan to fix someday. I’m wondering if it isn’t the same thing with goals. Maybe I’ve outgrown some of them. Or maybe they just don’t fit right now. So when I clean out my closet, I’ll also make a clean sweep of the Yearly To-Do Lists at the same time.

If I haven’t done it this year, will I really do it next year? Seriously? Most likely not. So why have it hanging around, making me feel guilty and inadequate? Why not give myself permission to jettison it?

This year I’ll try paring down my expectations and give myself a break. I did make some pretty huge goals this year, so I’ll look back on those and forgive myself for the others that I skipped or didn’t find time for. This year, though, they won’t go on my list again. It’s obvious I’m not motivated to do them, so I won’t waste energy telling myself I should get them done.

I’m also going to go easier on myself when I make goals. I’ve already done that with my yearly list, but I’m going to do it with my daily to-do lists too.

to do list

One of my goals for last year was to have 8 books published. Not sure why that number came to me at the beginning of 2012, but that’s what I wrote. I suppose if I count all 5 vols. of the Native American Encyclopedia, the story in A Community of Writers, and my art/bio in Students Making Sense of the World, I almost made my goal. And actually, a book packager bought my YA historical, so that does make 8 books. I also wanted to have more than 2000 articles in print. I made that goal by writing 180 articles this year for an educational publisher. And I wanted to increase my picture book illustration skills, which I did with post-grad work this summer. And I’ve been setting aside time each day to practice my art.

But for 2013 I want to have more relaxing goals. Topping the list is a trip to Antarctica. I almost made it this year, but I had to cancel because of some family obligations.  I’m already picturing myself sailing past icebergs next January. I think I’ll limit myself to 3 goals instead of the usual 1-2 page list this year. If I finish those, I can always set more. And maybe without all that guilt to hold me back, I’ll accomplish more than ever.3-list





What Have You Been Putting Off? 30 Days to a New You

24 08 2012

What have you always promised yourself you’d do…SOMEDAY. Sure you’ll learn a new skill, get more exercise, write a book, play an instrument, lose those extra pounds…SOMEDAY. And the more you put it off to SOMEDAY, the less likely it is to happen. How many years have passed since you decided you’d like to do something SOMEDAY, when you have more time, when your life’s less hectic?

Chances are SOMEDAY will never come. So why not take 3 minutes and listen to this inspiring message from Matt Cutts (Ted Talks) on making those dreams come true NOW?

Remember, it only takes 30 days to develop a new habit–one that can stay with you for life. What are you going to go for in the next 30 days?





Procrastination Day

9 03 2011

alpsMy overflowing to-do list resembled this mountain to the left. And as new snow piles up on the old, that weight compresses the older snow underneath. (which is how glaciers form–they become hard-packed ice underneath.) I was afraid I’d soon have an avalanche if I didn’t start chipping away at some of that ice that had been forming since the last Ice Age.

So I declared a Procrastination Day. OK, so maybe it sounds more like I planned to spend to spend the day procrastinating. That does sound rather appealing. Instead, I took a whole day and did nothing but complete tasks I’d been procrastinating about doing–some for months, others for much, much longer.

All day long I tackled dreaded phone calls, long overdue emails/letters, chores I despise, and unfinished projects that I’d shoved to the back of the closet or buried in the “someday” pile. At the end of the day, I’d completed 22 items that had been moldering on my to-do list for ages. Wow, did that feel good!

So now I’ve decided to hold Procrastination Day again today. Anyone want to join me?





Savvy Authors

17 05 2010

Does everyone know about SavvyAuthors? SavvyAuthors is a one-stop resource for all your writing needs regardless of your stage in your career. They offer everything from workshops to promotion and marketing help.

They have lots of great classes for a low price. It costs $30 to join, which gives you access to free classes and a reduced rate on class prices. Or you can take classes without joining. With classes costing $10-25, most people can easily afford it. And they have some terrific teachers.

Here’s a sampling for the next two months:

May 2010 Events

2

Fairies and Other Magic Folk (Workshop)
Instructor: Sharron Gunn. Walt Disney would have you believe that fairies are sweet little creatures with wings and wands. Helpful entities like Tinkerbell and the Tooth Fairy. Walt was wrong. In Celtic lands people believe it’s not wise to go about your business in…
Duration: 27 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

3

Steamed Up: The Anatomy of Writing Steampunk (Workshop)
Instructor: Beth Daniels aka Nied Darnell. Toss another shovel full of coal on the fire, it’s time to get steamed up with steam punk, one of the newest “societies” around. What qualifies it as a society? Let’s see, there are graphic novels, jewelry, apparel, home accessories, mu…
Duration: 28 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

3

Who ARE All These People? The Role of Secondary Characters in Romance (Workshop)
Instructor: Jen Safrey. You have your hero. You are in love with him, and you’re sure your readers will be too. He’s sexy, smart, rugged, shy, daring, protective, whatever. You have your heroine. You have put a little of yourself into her, and you’re sure your rea…
Duration: 28 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Todd Stone Presents – Character(s) and Conflict–More is More and More is Better (Workshop)
Six lessons, four weeks Presenter: Todd Stone, the Novelist’s Boot Camp guy Ever hear an editor say “Sorry, your story has too much conflict?” Didn’t think so. And you probably won’t, either. In this workshop we’ll provide you wit…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Edge of your Seat: How to add Suspense to your Writing (Workshop)
Instructor: Fleur Bradley. Do you ever wonder what makes that book such a page-turner? Wish you could keep a reader at the edge of your seat with your writing? This workshop teaches you how to write riveting fiction, and how to write chapters that keep your …
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Inside the Criminal Mind (Workshop)
Instructor: Lucinda Schroeder. Inside the Criminal Mind gives writers the information they’ll need to characterize their deviate story people. This course covers criminal motivation, mind-set, self-talk and why deviants expect their crimes to go undetected. Devi…
Duration: 27 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

16

Creating Your Own Book Trailer **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Kris Tualla. Book Trailers are 60-to-90-second presentations that describe your book in the same way a movie trailer describes a movie. They are teasers, meant to make people want to read your books. Book trailer companies charge fees beginning around $…
Duration: 11 days Promo, Technology Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

17

The Four Point Critique: Making your critiques positive, constructive, specific and honest. **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Teresa Bodwell. The Four Point Critique: Making your critiques positive, constructive, specific and honest. The workshops will help you refine your critiquing skills through lecture, discussion and hands on critiquing. Topics include: Tips for great fee…
Duration: 20 days Craft Members: $25

31

Creating an Effective Book Business Plan (Workshop)
Presented by Deborah Magnus. One of the most productive things an author can do is write a Book Business Plan. It’s a required exercise for non-fiction book proposals and easily as important as actually writing the book, whether non-fiction or fiction. Why? 1) Writ…
Duration: 4 days Publishing, Promo, Industry Members: $10
Non-Members: $15

31

The Power of the Right Question (Workshop)
Instructor: Susan Meier. Ever wonder why some authors books seem to be head and shoulders above the rest? In The Power of the Right Question, Susan Meier discusses Story Question, Chapter Question and development of Questions for Lists of Twenty and shows you how t…
Duration: 28 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

June 2010 Events

3

Ignite Your Fiction (Workshop)
Instructor: Sally Walker. Learn how to examine and WRITE succinct, vivid examples of Exposition, Description, Narration/Summary, and Action-Dialogue. Experienced writers will learn to “think” in revision and New writers will work on the habit of purpose from the ver…
Duration: 25 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

7

Make a Scene (Workshop)
Instructor: June Diehl. Make a Scene explores the elements that go into structuring a scene, how to decide how to begin and end a scene, and the types of scenes and when to use them. We will also touch on setting, point of view, and character and plot development …
Duration: 14 days Craft Members: $10
Non-Members: $15

7

Weapons, Violence and Reality (Workshop)
Instructor: Rory Miller. Conflict is the essence of story-telling. Violence is the rawest and most visceral form of conflict. Rory Miller, former Corrections Officer, Tactical Team leader and Contractor/Advisor in Iraq will help you get the details right. The cla…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

7

Completing Your Mystery (Workshop)
Instructor: Jacqueline Corcoran. Like many writers, you may have a library of books on writing craft, but have you used them? Learn my step-by-step method for applying exercises to develop your craft and complete your mystery. In this hands-on class with lots of “homewo…
Duration: 14 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

13

Creating Your Own Book Trailer **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Kris Tualla. Book Trailers are 60-to-90-second presentations that describe your book in the same way a movie trailer describes a movie. They are teasers, meant to make people want to read your books. Book trailer companies charge fees beginning around $…
Duration: 11 days Promo, Technology Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

14

Show Don’t Tell (Workshop)
Instructor: Flo Fitzpatrick. Are your characters spending too much time explaining, telling, thinking, feeling, musing, wondering or debating? Let’s turn those “tell” sentences into “showstoppers!” Join Flo Fitzpatrick for a fun workshop that will rev up your writin…
Duration: 19 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

15

Romantic Suspense 19 SPOTS LEFT (Workshop)
Instructor: Dee Lloyd. To keep the reader eagerly turning pages from the first word to the last, a Romantic Suspense novel needs engaging characters, a believable and complicated plot and fast-moving pace. This workshop will give you some of the tools necessar…
Duration: 20 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

20

Flash Fiction: What is it? How do I write it? Why should I bother? 19 SPOTS LEFT (Workshop)
Instructor: Jim Harrington. This workshop is aimed at writers who are new to flash fiction. The topics covered include: Session 1 – 6/21 – What is flash fiction? Session 2 – 6/23 – Choosing a story to write Session 3 – 6/25 – That’s a story? Session 4 – 6/28 – T…
Duration: 13 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

20

Everyone Needs a Name, a guide to character naming (Workshop)
Instructor: Kathy Frost. Finding the perfect name for your main character can be difficult enough, but most stories need a supporting cast. You’ll need names for all your characters, from the lead and their love interest to the neighborhood grocer. For many write…
Duration: 6 days Craft Members: FREE
Non-Members: $5

20

The Dirty Little Secrets of Character Development (Workshop)
Instructor: Keena Kincaid. Do you know the secret to character development? We all keep secrets from each other—and sometimes from ourselves. Three-dimensional characters are no different, and it’s the author’s job to reveal those deep, dark secrets and desires t…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $10
Non-Members: $20

21

Silencing Your Inner Saboteur (Workshop)
Instructor: Sherry Peters. In this workshop, writers will identify the voice of your saboteur, recognize the tricks it uses to keep you from achieving your goals, and how to win the battle against it. The lessons will cover: Introduction of the class and the In…
Duration: 20 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

28

The Heroine’s Journey: Adapting Four-Act Structure to the Character-Driven Story (Workshop)
Instructor: Wendy Lyn Watson. Christopher Vogler’s Hero’s Journey is a basic “four act” mythic story structure that can be used to describe everything from the legend of King Arthur to Alien. There’s something about this narrative structure that resonates with us on an…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

28

Using Writer’s Block As A Building Block For Ideas (Workshop)
Instructor: Raquel Rodriguez. Using Writer’s Block As A Building Block For Ideas Want to just write? Stop fighting your Muse! Dry spells can indicate the dreaded writer’s block, a rough wall to hurtle. Teacher and writer, Raquel Rodriguez, can help you understand t…
Duration: 27 days Craft, Writing Life Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

28

The ‘W’ Plot…Or the Other White Meat for Plotters (Workshop)
Instructor: Karen Docter. One of the staples of any writers group conversations is the plot. It’s integral to every novel, holds everything together. It’s the vehicle that carries readers from page one to “The End”. It’s one of the scariest things an author faces …
Duration: 25 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

Check them out. You’ll be glad you did.
savvyauthors.com – Writers Helping Writers

http://www.savvyauthors.com/workshops.cfm