Archive for ‘Diary’

January 1, 2018

2017 in Review, Looking Forward to 2018

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Once again I am participating in Julie Hedlund’s anti-resolution revolution. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t accomplish, I review my successes and use that as a building base for my 2018 goals. You can see my 2017 goal setting here. I did accomplish some of my goals but I was a bit squirrely and had my hand in a few too many different project types. More on that later.

List of 2017 Successes:

  • Persevere in the difficult picture book revision. Review course material, favorite books, do paid critiques and above all keep trying. Start to explore early chapter books to see if that’s an option. (Check sort of – didn’t review old PB course material as I had hoped. Truthfully, didn’t have a solid plan hence didn’t make the time. I did start Chapter Book Blueprint and take a PB class through the Writing Barn.)
  • Take a novel craft class. Have the big elements figured out – story arc, main and secondary characters, motivations, stakes, etc. (Check sort of – I did complete the Story Genius class which was fabulous and did learn more about my characters and story arc. However, I also realized how much more there is still to do. What I accomplished in those three months was just the tip of the iceberg. Reality is doing this novel will likely take years, and right now isn’t the time for it.)
  • Continue research efforts for the novel. (Nope – after realizing how much time I would need to spend, I felt it was best to back-burner this one for now.)
  • Attend agency retreat and one conference. (Attended our agency retreat which was so wonderful and unlike anything I have ever been to.)
  • Write 6 new sh***y first drafts. (Check!!! – I actually ended up writing 7 new drafts. Accountability via the Writing Barn class was definitely the reason I wrote three new stories in 6 weeks.)
  • Revise 2-3 stories to a polished state. (Miss – Only got 1 additional PB to a polished state.)
  • Read/listen 20 novels. (Check!) Check out my post where I break down the numbers and list some favorite titles (Adult thru PB)
  • Blog once a month. (I wrote 14 blog posts but there were a couple of months where I didn’t post anything.)
  • Participated on a panel at our local chapter SCBWI meeting (More of a surprise than a goal, but something I really enjoyed participating in.)

My word for 2017 was PERSEVERE and to stay focused on growing as a writer. This I did do which was evidenced by focusing more on taking writing classes, working on R&R’s from editors, and creating 7 drafts. While I did persevere, I don’t think I was as focused as I could have been. Some things like starting a CB class or revising my NF PB weren’t even on the radar at the start of the year. As a result, my energy was spread at across a YA novel, a CB, my fiction PBs (my bread & butter), and a non-fiction PB. The result is I was spread too thin. So my word for 2018 is FOCUS – to stay focused on my fiction PBs and completing the first draft of my chapter book.

Goals for 2018

  • Keep exploring and trying new ideas, and don’t be afraid of failing. Trying to explore multiple ideas/paths early on in the project. Be free to be silly and crazy. (I have a strong editorial mind and hence am trying to work on getting the creative/exploratory side stronger and to “play” more.)
  • Write 8 new sh***y first drafts.
  • Revise 2 stories to a polished state.
  • Finish my Chapter Book Blueprint class.
  • Finish the first draft of the chapter book.
  • Read 350 books, which includes 23 novels.
  • Blog once a month. One book talk video a month. (I really want to talk about more books so hoping a 1-2 minute video will be quicker. If these tasks take up too much time will likely cut back.)
  • Attend 1 or 2 conferences (Already signed up for the SCBWI Winter conference)
  • Spend 15 mins a day on writing.

Wishing you the very best. What are some of your goals for 2018?

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December 31, 2017

My Book Reading Report for 2017

It’s that time of the year to tally up. Here are my stats according to Goodreads.

TOTAL BOOKS READ IN 2017 = 320
5 Adult;  11 YA;  6 MG;  36 CB/ER; 260 PB

Listed below are my favorite reads from this year. This list contains titles published in 2017 and past years. 

ADULT: Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng), Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

YOUNG ADULT: The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas), The Crown’s Game (Evelyn Skye)

MIDDLE-GRADE: Real Friends (Shannon Hale), Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive (Ammi-Joan Paquette & Laurie Thompson)

CHAPTER BOOKS: Goldie Blox Rules the School! (Stacy McAnulty), Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen (Debbi  Michiko Florence), Talented Clementine (Sara Pennypacker), Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse (Tamara Will Wissinger), Dory and the Real True Friend (Abby Hanlon)

EARLY READERS: Eva Sees a Ghost (Rebecca Elliot)

PICTURE BOOKS:

  • I Will Not Eat You (Adam Lehrhaupt & Scott Magoon)
  • It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk (Josh Funk & Edwardian Taylor)
  • Wait (Antoinette Portis)
  • After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again (Dan Santat)
  • Nobody Likes a Goblin (Ben Hatke)
  • Mice Skating (Annie Silvestro & Teagan White)
  • The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse (Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen)
  • Double Take! A New Look at Opposites (Susan Hood & Jay Fleck)
  • The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way) (Patrick McDonnell)
  • Freedom in Congo Square (Carole Boston Weatherford & R. Gregory Christie)
  • Giant Squid (Candace Fleming & Eric Rohmann)
  • Mr. Lincoln’s Way (Patricia Polacco)
  • Barnacle is Bored (Jonathan Fenske)

 

January 1, 2017

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

happy-new-year-2017-imagesHappy New Year to all my readers!

Once again I am participating in Julie Hedlund’s anti-resolution revolution. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t accomplish, I review my successes and use that as a building base for my 2017 goals. You can see my 2016 goal setting here. It worked quite well in that I was able to stick to my plan for the most part.

List of 2016 Successes:

  • Got an Agent!! (THE highlight of the year. This wasn’t a listed goal since it wasn’t fully under my control, but I did have a goal to finish revisions for prospective agents. So Check!)
  • Going on submission with several PB stories. (another highlight, but again not a goal since it wasn’t entirely under my control.)
  • Wrote 8 NEW first drafts of picture books! (My goal was to write 12, but I’m still happy with 8. My previous record was only 5.)
  • I finally attended the NJ SCBWI conference!! This had been on my bucket list since I first started writing five years ago. Also attended the SCBWI Summer conference. (Goal met. Check!)
  • Took the Nonfiction Archaeology class and completed a draft of my first picture book biography. (Check!)
  • Read two craft books, Story Genius and Big Magic. (My original goal was to finish reading Writing Irresistible Kidlit which didn’t happen. These two books were more of what I needed at the time. Lesson learned – be flexible.)
  • Read/listen to 23 novels and 230 picture books. (My goal was 25 novels, so I almost met my goal. Check!) Check out my post where I break down the numbers and list some favorite titles (Adult thru PB)
  • Added one more polished story to my portfolio. (Had set a goal of two. Will be working on this again in 2017.)
  • Kept up my blogging. Still a little sporadic. (My goal was to blog at least once a month. Check!)
  • Wrote 3K words for a YA novel. From this, I learned I need to have more structure laid down. This ties into a 2017 goal.
  • Became involved in South Asian kidlit. I wrote a piece for WNDB on South Asian kidlit and did a promotional post for 2016 South Asian books and authors. Hadn’t planned for any of this, but will definitely continue.
  • Got two accountability partners. 🙂
  • Volunteer PB application reader for We Need Diverse Books

My word was for 2016 was CREATE and that I did by completing 8 new PB drafts and starting my YA novel. The last few months have ended with a pile of rejection slips which while expected is still a downer. I had one story which I spent 6 months revising in 2016 and that I thought was done, only to realize I may have to tear it up and start again. So my word for 2017 is PERSEVERE – to stay focused on growing as a writer. And if I get a book deal along the way that’s a bonus.

wordcloud1

Goals for 2017

  • Persevere in the difficult picture book revision. Review course material, favorite books, do paid critiques and above all keep trying. Start to explore early chapter books to see if that’s an option.
  • Take a novel craft class. Have the big elements figured out – story arc, main and secondary characters, motivations, stakes, etc.
  • Continue research efforts for the novel.
  • Attend agency retreat and one conference.
  • Write 6 new sh***y first drafts.
  • Revise 2-3 stories to a polished state.
  • Read/listen 20 novels.
  • Blog once a month.
  • PERSEVERE

Wishing you the very best. What are some of your goals for 2017?

December 28, 2016

My Book Reading Report for 2016

It’s that time of the year to tally up. Here are my stats according to GoodReads.

TOTAL BOOKS READ IN 2016 = 255
5 Adult;  11 YA;  6 MG;  2 CB/ER; 231 PB

Listed below are my favorite reads from this year. This list contains titles published in 2016 and past years.2016reads

ADULT: When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi), Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert)

YA: The Sky is Everywhere (Jandy Nelson), The Sun is Also a Star (Nicola Yoon), The Game of Love and Death (Martha Brockenbrough), The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie)

MG: Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White (Melissa Sweet), Hour of the Bees (Lindsay Eagar), Dear Mrs. Naidu (Mathangi Subramanian)

PB:

  • Strictly No Elephants (Lisa Mantchev and Taeeun Yoo)
  • Horrible Bear (Ame Dyckman and Zachariah O’Hora)
  • Mother Bruce (Ryan T. Higgins)
  • Nerdy Birdy (Aaron Reynolds and Matt Davies)
  • Mirette on the High Wire (Emily Arnold McCully)
  • Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes (Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton)
  • Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay (Susan Hood and Sally Wern Comport)
  • Diary of a Spider (Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss)
  • Are We There Yet? (Dan Santat)
  • Poppy Pickle (Emma Yarlett)
  • Maple (Lori Nichols)
  • Pink is for Blobfish (Jess Keating and David DeGrand)

What were some of your favorite reads? I’m always looking for excellent titles for my 2017 to-read list.

January 1, 2016

Celebrating 2015 and Looking Forward

happy-new-year-resolutions-2016

Hope you all had a relaxing holiday break. Many wishes for you in 2016.

In setting my goals for 2016, I am first following Julie Hedlund’s anti-resolution revolution and writing down my successes. In the past, I didn’t even make resolutions. Seemed pointless since they came from a place of what wasn’t achieved, a place of negativity. With Julie’s approach, you celebrate successes from the previous year and use it as a base to build upon. I did this last year and faired better in making forward progress. My next thing is to figure out what happens at mid-year when the plan starts to unravel. It’s possible I should make only 6-month goals in order to remain flexible with my changing needs. Without further adieu, here is my recap of my successes big and small for 2015.

  • Rejoined my in-person picture book critique group. Love being back with my peeps.
  • Got an accountability partner. Just sort of happened and it’s been great.
  • Three month picture book mentorship with Kathi Appelt.
  • Winner of the 12×12 Diversity Scholarship!!
  • Attended three SCBWI conferences (Asilomar, Spring Spirit, and Oakland) and Kidlit Summer School.
  • Took an excellent on-line class on Character Building in Picture Books.
  • Grew in my picture book writing skills.
    • Realized I love writing with lyrical language.
    • Started using storyboarding during the revision process and loving it. Really helps with pacing and being able “to see” the full story.  (Got the idea after seeing this terrific post.)
  • Volunteer PB application reader for We Need Diverse Books
  • Positive feedback on my stories from a few agents.
  • I read 212 books! Checkout my post where I break down the numbers and list some favorite titles (Adult thru PB)
  • Seeing myself continuing to grow as a writer. Taking joy in the process without getting too consumed by the agent search.

This past year turned out to be a year of “revision”, due to my three-month picture book mentorship, professional critiques, and an R&R (request and resubmit) I received from an agent. As a result, I only wrote 1 new PB draft. So my word for 2016 is CREATE. My over-arching goal is to create new material. Whether they be drafts of new picture books stories, or background material/character sketches/free-writes for my YA novel idea.

wordle4

Goals for 2016

  • Finish latest round of revisions for prospective agents.
  • Take Nonfiction Archaelogy and start a new PB story which will be a NF Biography. (So excited to be finally taking this class.)
  • Attend 1-2 writing conferences. (maybe NJ-SCBWI ??)
  • Finish reading Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole – excellent craft book.
  • Write 12 new sh***y first draft PB stories.  (This will be my biggest challenge. I dread first & second drafts. I have a strong internal editor. Thanks to Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas group I’m gonna shoot for the stars!)
  • Read/listen to 25 novels. (I love audiobooks! No way I would be able to get through this many novels without it.)
  • Restart research efforts for my novel.
  • Add two more polished stories to my portfolio.
  • Blog at least once a month. (I do miss conversing with all of you. 🙂 )
  • Write/think about stories/Study Craft EVERYDAY – even if only for 5 minutes. (Up till now I work in spurts which is okay, but when I fall off the bandwagon I lose momentum.)
  • BELIEVE

Wishing you the very best. What are some of your goals for 2016? 

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