It's a new year, a new day, and I am off, spirits high and goals solidly in place. I hope this enthusiasm doesn't fade, as it so often does, and that next year at this time I can look back on 2014 and say proudly and happily, "I accomplished my goals." Actually, it's more of one goal -- to write regularly if not daily and get my work out there. To that end, I have put several things in place to help ensure my success.
I used New Year's Day as my December 26 and put my writer's workbook together. This suggestion comes from Suzanne Lieurance, founder of the Working Writers Club. Every December 26 she takes advantage of the lazy day in her house, as she describes it, to put together a workbook for the upcoming year. As I read her 'Morning Nudge," I realzed that New Year's Day would be the perfect day for me to do this. My workbook is a little different -- I have sections for picture book ideas, middle grade ideas, magazine fiction and non-fiction ideas, one for notes on agents and publishers, and another for my successes. Since its a loose-leaf notebook, I can add additional tabs if I find I need them.
I've already made use of my writer's workbook for the daily writing prompts from Start the Year Off Write. It is yet another challenge, this time providing 21 writing prompts throughout January. I write something each day, based on the prompt, then comment on Shannon Abercrombie's blog. There are prizes at the end, randomly awarded to participants who complete all 21 prompts. So far, I am off to a pretty good start. I am stumped by two of the prompts, but I have completed the others, and I have until January 31st to get "unstumped." The best thing about the prompts is that they get me writing every day. I'm having fun doing it, and each success -- finishing each prompt -- spurs me on to write other things as well, or at least scribble notes about stories I am working on.
I've also signed up for the Julie Hedlund's fabulous online, year-long writing conference 12 X 12 in 2014. I did it last year and while I started off strong, I didn't finish up that way. I am determined not to repeat that this year. This year I come armed with the drafts I did write last year, ready for revising, and 30 ideas generated for November's Picture Book Idea Month challenge. I've already commented on Emma Hamilton's blog post for January, revised a short-short story, and know what story idea I want to work on for my draft. I think January is in the bag!
All in all, 2014 is off to a good start. Not only am I writing, but I am feeling stronger too. January and February are usually my blue months, but this year I am feeling a bit perkier, a bit happier. I still have my moments. One of the writing prompts for Start the Year Off Write was to write down 10 memories from childhood. That was definitely bittersweet. Putting my Christmas decorations away hs been an ongoing process all weekend. The house will look so dull without the sparkling lights of the Christmas tree and, truth be told, I will miss seeing all those mooses, snowmen, and Santas when I come home from work. Each one holds a memory for me, and, like the childhood memories, they are bittersweet. I am happy and sad at time. There is something comforting in their presence. Only time will tell if I am moving on in this journey through grief that I have been on, or if this is simply a short detour taking me on one big U-turn.
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