1. Find a writing WORD for the year to focus on. I found this idea on the SCBWI Blueboards, specifically from Vijaya. My word is SUBMIT. I've written 48 picture book drafts in the past four years for 12x12, and I really need to SUBMIT now that I've worked on craft and revised them multiple times. Write your focus word on a note card and hang it in your office.
2. Make money. To go with my word submit is the quote above from A.A. Milne. Before I started teaching, I was a full-time writer. Writing for the educational market brought me a small income. But now I haven't been able to do all that. I want to work that into my schedule again, starting this coming week! I'm submitting an article to a magazine and requested materials to an agent.
3. Organize. I've loved this winter break as I've been able to revise many stories and start a new picture book biography. As I said before, I now have a collection of drafts on my computer in multiple folders. How do you keep track of which stories are done and need to be submitted? Which need revised? Which need to go to the critique groups again? For now I wrote them on Post It notes. I use Excel to keep track of my submissions. If you have a great system, let me know in the comments!
4. Fellowship in a kidlit community. For some of you, you can attend writing conferences and retreats in your area. But for me, my kidlit community is online. There are multiple Facebook kidlit groups, SCBWI Blueboards, 12x12, and others that keep you abreast of all the latest. If you haven't yet, do subscribe to the Kidlit 411 run by my friends Elaine and Sylvia. They send out an email of all the greatest news and exceptional blog posts for the week, and it's free. Go to the web site link, and subscribe to get updates by email. They also have a Facebook group.
5. Buy something new. You know the phrase, "Out with the old, in with the new." Yesterday on New Year's Day, for whatever reason, I was in a cleaning frenzy and scrubbed everything in my kitchen, including appliances. I threw out foods and candies the kids weren't eating. But for writing, we can't throw out the old stories. But we can revise them or decide they're a dud and put them in a folder. We can buy something NEW to inspire us in the new year. I bought a colorful notebook, and the kids gave me some colored pens for my stories. I have a new stash of chocolate, so I'm ready!
6. Pin inspirational quotes. I have a document of writing quotes and Bible verses that inspire me. I also have a board on Pinterest for inspirational quotes. I found a cool web site where you can make your own quotes worthy of pinning or posting. Check out Quozio, and it's free, nothing to download! If you know of any other neat quoting sites, let me know! Share your quotes with me! I'd love to decorate my office.
So I'll leave you with Jane Yolen's quote, as it's a great reminder to write every day in this new year. Oh, my other goal is to read more picture books!
So go forth, be inspired, and write!