February Accountability Post

March 3, 2013

My goalI re-read my January Accountability Post to see how I did in adhering to what I had set out as goals for February, and to my relief I found that I accomplished much that I intended.

Usually when I do these month-end wrap-ups, I wonder what I could have accomplished if I had worked harder. In February, I think I did work harder than usual (although perhaps there’s still room for improvement) and I did accomplish a fair bit, but had to cut back in some areas such as reading and commenting on others’ blogs. This writer’s life is such a balancing act, isn’t it? Lately, the side of the seesaw on which the writing is sitting is heavier than the blog-interaction side. To get to where I want to go this year, it seems that has to continue, but I will try to keep up the connections I have made. You are all such a valuable part of my life.

Okay, let’s take a look at what I did in February and what is on the docket for March, shall we?


12×12: I honestly thought I wouldn’t get a picture book draft written in February, but with just a few days left in the already truncated month, an idea galloped into my consciousness and got itself written — mostly on the notepad of my iPhone while I had a snack during an errand run. One writes when one can. It is a VERY rough draft, but the point is that a picture book draft is now in existence and ready to be worked on as time permits.

An extra facet of 12×12 this year is the encouragement to revise previously-written drafts, and I did that, as well, in February. I received a manuscript evaluation on a picture book that has been in the works for quite some time. The evaluation basically said, “you’re getting there, but you’re not there yet” and asked some excellent questions that I’m in the process of working through and answering as the revised story takes shape.

Writing: As I said in my January accountability post, my main focus in February was on finishing the first draft of my novel for adults. Note: when I write “adult novel” it seems to indicate that I’m writing something risque. That is not the tenor of the novel at all — I merely use that term to differentiate it from my usual writing for kids. This is a project dear to my heart, and it is so good to be giving it a chance to blossom. I did finish the first draft of the novel in February, as well as much of the work necessary to prepare the novel for the class I will be embarking on in a couple of weeks. There is still a great deal of work, revision, plot-wrangling, to be done, but the bones of the story are there.

One added delight on my February writing path was a letter from a publishing company in the United States indicating that one of my hymn texts, “By the Well, A Thirsty Woman,” will be included in a new hymnbook that will be released in October. What I find particularly exciting about this is that I didn’t submit anything for consideration, the selection group for the book saw my hymn in More Voices, a publication of Wood Lake Books and the United Church of Canada, and actively pursued it. That was so affirming for me as a writer!

Blogging: I have discovered in my blogging over the past year and a bit that one of the joys in my life is doing interviews with people. Two of my favorite interview subjects were featured this month, one in an ongoing series, one as a celebration of a well-deserved honor.

I’m grateful to Emma Walton Hamilton for the privilege of serializing the lengthy interview I did with her for the Children’s Book Hub in my Thursdays with Emma Walton Hamilton blogposts. I realize these posts are long and take a time commitment on the part of the reader, but what Emma has to say each week is well worth the time.

In my third interview with my delightful and talented cousin, Beverley Brenna, we celebrated her most recent YA novel, The White Bicycle, being named a Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association. Thank you to all who joined in this celebration with us. If you haven’t read Bev’s trilogy about Taylor Jane Simon, a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome on the brink of adulthood, I strongly urge you to read these books.

And now for March:

My focus will continue to be on the novel-for-adults as I look ahead to beginning Cheryl Klein’s online course in plot structure, which begins on March 14th. To prepare for that, I will be doing some reading about plotting and structuring a novel, including an excellent book recently sent me by a writer friend, Jordan E. Rosenfeld’s Make a Scene. I will be devouring this book, which looks to be exactly what I need at this stage of my novel project. I also plan to read James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure and Orson Scott Card’s Characters & Viewpoint. That should keep me going for the next couple of weeks, don’t you think?

I am signed up for Becky Fyfe’s Chapter Book Challenge, although because of time and energy, my participation may be restricted to learning as much as I can, to be put to use in the future. I do have a project to work on as time permits.

A couple of ideas are clamoring for attention for 12×12 as well, so the possibility exists that I’ll get a first draft picture book written in March.

I look forward to continuing the blog series of excerpts from my interview with Emma Walton Hamilton. There will also, at some point in March, be an interview with debut picture book author Susan Verde, whose book The Museum, with illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds, will be released this month. I met Susan at the Stony Brook Southampton Children’s Literature Conference last summer, and I’m excited that she’s agreed to this interview.

I also have another series up my sleeve, a tie-in to the Emma series. Other regular blog posts will continue, if time and energy do!

Now, I feel as if I should get to work…

What do YOU have planned for March?




16 People reacted on this

    1. Thank you so much, Jordan! I am devouring Make a Scene — it is excellent. I will definitely check out Forged in Grace.

  1. My goodness you have been productive, Beth! Good luck with all your March projects. I took a course with Jordan a while ago and she was terrific, and I have that book but have yet to make good use of it 🙂 SOMEday (maybe this month since I signed up for the chapter book challenge?) I’m going to write something longer than a picture book! 🙂

    1. I can well imagine that Jordan would be terrific in a class situation. As for writing something longer than a picture book — you can do it! I have confidence in you! (I think I’m better at longer stuff, actually, although chapter books seem to be a stumbling block. Middle grade and adult stuff is great fun to write. A lot of work, but great fun!)

  2. Sometimes, when we look back on what we accomplished, it’s nice to smile and see we did much more than we realized. Glad you were able to see how well you’d done, even if it came down to the last few days 🙂

    For myself, I’m doing a cover reveal today for a novella that is starting a new series for me. Plus I have work to do on a couple of manuscripts that have to get started. March is set to be quite the busy writing month. I can already see my blog hopping/commenting being impacted. This writing life is quite the see saw balancing act.

    1. Thanks, Angela! Wow, you are definitely “booked” for the month of March (yes, I admit it, that was a pun). Have a great month of writing!

  3. Excellent month, Beth. I’ m with you on the balancing act…it is hard. I feel I constantly have to remind myself that I have to write if I’m going to get published. I have become much better at saying no to online activities that don’t further my goal of being published. Good luck with March 🙂

  4. Love how you met your goals for the month of February, Beth. I agree with Patricia. Don’t you sleep?

    I am going to work on a book called “A 90 day novel” and see if I can pump my memoir out starting in May. I got a good pb manuscript done in Feb and it waits for Christie Write Wild’s contest. Hopefully I’ll win and get a critique from her. There are other things but that is the start of two days in. 🙂

  5. WOW! I am impressed. Don’t worry about commenting on blogs. You can only do so much. It is important to write while you are inspired. Keep up the good work. You are inspiring the rest of us.

  6. Beth! You’re AMAZING! You accomplish so much!!!
    You’re writing a novel-for-adults? SO COOL!!!!!!
    And you did a picture book draft on your iPhone?????? I still haven’t seen an iPhone yet (::sigh::) but I can’t imagine how you did that. Hooray for resourcefulness!!!!
    Your interviews are so good…I’m behind in reading them…will catch up a little this visit.
    Yes…trying to maintain contacts while making progress is really difficult. Add the normal “stuff” of life and how it all takes time and we’re just overwhelmed sometimes.
    You’re an inspiration!!!!

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