January Accountability Post

January 27, 2013

My goalAfter wondering if January would ever end, it seems amazing that we’ve nearly reached the end of the month. With the end of the month, of course, comes accountability. How did I do on what I planned to do this month?

Perhaps because, to quote the Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne song, “the weather outside is frightful,” I have accomplished quite a bit this month.

12×12: In my looking-ahead-to-the-New-Year post, I said I was planning to join Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 group again, at the basic level. That’s how I started the month, but midway through January, I decided I wanted to avail myself of all that is on offer to full “Gold” members, so I upgraded my membership. NOTE: Registration for 12×12 is still open!

This upgrade enabled me to participate in a query letter critique opportunity provided by Emma Walton Hamilton. Scroll down in that link to the paragraph about query critiques, to realize just what an awesome gift that was to the 12×12 community from Emma. Her critique of my letter, and of the others, taught me a great deal about how best to craft a letter to a prospective agent. She is such a skilled and insightful editor!

Besides all the extra perks that are available to the various levels of 12×12 members this year, there is, of course, still the basic plan to complete a picture book draft each month, and I’m pleased to say I wrote my draft for January. It is a topic close to my heart, set in 1922, and dedicated to my Dad. I wish he were alive to read it!

Writing in general: On January 1st (an auspicious day, I’m sure you will agree) I received the manuscript evaluation done on my middle grade novel. Once again, Emma gave me much to think about, and excellent suggestions for how to delve more deeply into this project and really get to the heart of the book and the character.

Having received that, I immediately began revisions — and did a “blurt” revision that I’m sure goes far beyond what Emma suggested as “a little fleshing out” here and there. Then I went through the much longer manuscript, and made a chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene list so that I can see how everything flows. Now I think it is time to set it aside for a little while, both to gain clarity-of-vision when I look at it later, and because another project is clamoring for some attention.

Blogging: For the first time, I missed a Perfect Picture Book Friday post. This month I was feeling a little in the doldrums as far as blogging is concerned. The thoughts and ideas weren’t coming easily to me. However, I did manage to post something for each scheduled day, except for that one missed PPBF. I’m enjoying the midweek “this day in the arts” post — the research is great fun. I don’t know if others are enjoying it, but it will continue.

Since I’ve been devoting so much time to working on my novel, I haven’t been commenting as much on other people’s blogs. Sorry! I will try to do better in February, but it’s going to be another busy month…

What’s On Tap for February: I mentioned a project that is clamoring for attention — I have signed up for an online course taught by Cheryl Klein, author of Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults.  Although the course doesn’t start until March 14th, the prerequisite is that one should have the first draft of a novel ready to work on in the course, and one is supposed to do a “book map” of that novel prior to the beginning of the course. I want to work through my adult novel in this course, and that means first finishing the first draft! So that is February’s project. Here’s Cheryl’s blog post about the course (which filled up in a matter of just a few days!)

I’ll be participating in International Book Giving Day on February 14th, taking a stack of picture books culled from my shelves (in as-new condition) to the children’s rehab hospital. Watch for a blog post in February about the event.

Also in February, I’m slated to be a guest blogger in Donna Martin’s Wednesday series, Writerly Wisdom. I will be blogging about blogging, actually. “To blog or not to blog, that is the question for writers.” Stay tuned!

Somewhere in there, I’ll fit blogging and writing my 12×12 draft.

How was your month? What do you have planned for February?

23 People reacted on this

  1. Wow! What a busy and successful month, Beth! I have not written by 12×12 draft yet… but I’ve still got three days and I just got an idea this morning that I think might blossom into something. Of course, you never know until you try to write it 🙂 I also just purchased Cheryl’s book yesterday – it’s due to be delivered Wednesday – and I can’t wait to read it. I signed up for Becky’s Chapter Book Challenge in March – thanks to your encouragement! – and i need all the help I can get 🙂

    1. Here’s to that idea blossoming into something wonderful! (or at least into a 12×12 draft, for starters!) I realized after signing up for Cheryl Klein’s class that I’m doing the chapter book challenge at the same time as the class… hope I get good at juggling!

  2. You have certainly had a busy and productive month. February looks to be another month of productivity where it matters most: getting writing done.

    Hoping each day is a day of getting things done.

    Been a busy month of visiting other blogs this month. Will be participating in a Book Blogger online fair for February and look forward to releasing a novella to start a new series in March. Busy, Busy!

  3. You are one busy lady!!! But it sounds like you are enjoying it all! I hope you continue to do so and keep us all posted! Thanks for sharing!

  4. You amaze me! What drive and energy. It sounds like you started off the year right. Congrats on having your 12 x 12 draft complete. I have started a couple, but need to complete one of them or start one that inspires completion 🙂

    1. I wouldn’t be too amazed at me, if I were you. I haven’t had much else to do, so I’ve just worked and worked. Good luck with your 12×12 draft!

  5. Your month’s work is impressive to say the least! I wrote a January draft, blogged a few times, and entered the Highlights Fiction Contest. I’m also signed up for Susanna Hill’s online class in February. …And Cupcake is fetching her baseball 8 out of every 10 tries.

  6. It is great that you were so productive this month. I enjoy your blog, even though you don’t hear from me often! One comment this month prompts my hearty ” Yes!”. That was the comment about Feb.14 being a day to donate gently used books to your nearest children’s hospital. My younger son was hospitalized many times as a youth. The hospital had a library where children or their parents could check out books, games, videos or CDs. Even adult books were included so parents would be able to read while staying long hours with their child. One overlooked area is the needs of older kids. Be sure to include books, etc. for kids in the adolescent age group. Children’s hospitals have patients as old as 18, and sometimes a little older.
    I have done this several times locally and am always greeted with lots of hugs and appreciation.

    1. Thanks Diane. I will add your information when I do a blog post about the Book Giving Day. Thank you so much for pointing out the need for books for older kids as well.

  7. What a great start to the year. I always think if you get a good start in January, the year will go well! I look forward to your guest post over at Donna Martin’s blog.

  8. You have had a great first month of 2013, and this bodes very well indeed! I am VERY excited to hear how Cheryl Klein’s course is because I love her book. Your 12×12 draft for January sounds fascinating. I managed a couple of drafts which still need a lot of thought. Here’s to as productive a February!

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