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?

%d bloggers like this: