Beginning new yearDreams, hopes, wishes, plans — what might the new year hold? When setting forth our goals for the coming year, do we make sure that they are completely attainable? Or do we add a challenge? Do we set the bar so high that we cannot possibly achieve those heights, or do we measure in some realism?

I firmly believe that we need to give ourselves something to strive for, something that’s currently beyond our grasp, but that we have a good chance of achieving. Not an assured chance, though. There needs to be some risk involved, as well as opportunity for growth, for stretching of one’s mind and character, and for that wonderful feeling of satisfaction when one at last achieves something that once seemed nearly impossible. As Robert Browning famously said, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”

In my 2012 Goals post, I referenced a blog post by my mentor, Emma Walton Hamilton, about setting goals rather than making resolutions. This year, she has used the word “intention” as her watchword as she considers what she wants to achieve in 2013. Both those posts are worth reading.

What goals have I set for myself — in my writing life — for the coming year? What are my intentions? What do I want to strive for, to risk and reach for?

I intend to start the agent-search process in earnest as early in the new year as possible. I believe I am ready this year. I believe I have manuscripts that are ready. It’s time.

I will strive to keep juggling the balls of the different genres in which I write. I have another couple of middle grade novels that want a chance to tell their story. My adult novel needs to be completed. I want to continue honing my skills in picture book writing, and I want to surmount whatever keeps stalling me in midstream when I start work on a chapter book. That’s a lot of juggling, but it’s what I want to strive for in the new year.

I plan to sign up for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 in 2013. Writing a picture book draft each month in 2012 was excellent training in idea gathering, plot building, word-count whittling — I learned so much, and found it such a good challenge to come up with fresh, different drafts each month. This year, Julie has three possible streams for 12×12. I will be signing up for the basic “Margaret Wise Bronze” level, which is the one that best suits my current needs.

I hope to attend the Stony Brook Southampton Children’s Literature Conference again. I would like to be part of both the short Conference (the one I participated in last year) and the long Conference, where I would work on my adult novel. It remains to be seen if doing both will be a viable option this year, but I will keep my hopes alive. (Full information on the conferences is not yet available, but there is some information at the Stony Brook Arts Summer site.)

I mentioned chapter books. I have signed up as a participant in Rebecca Fyfe’s Chapter Book Challenge 2013, which takes place in March. This is the second year of the challenge, but it will be my first year participating. This challenge may be just what I need to get past the doldrums stage in my chapter books.

I will be on the lookout for courses and/or workshops that will help me hone my skills in one or the other of my genres.

I look forward to participating in whatever Alayne Kay Christian has in store on her Writer’s Whole Life Perspective blog.

I intend to continue last year’s goal of posting at least one item per day (blog or article link, searching question, etc.) in the Children’s Book Hub Facebook Group, in my role as co-administrator. I want to continue to seek out ways to enliven discussions and get people participating actively.

On my blog, I intend to continue my Monday Musings, with thoughts about “reading, writing, the arts, and life” as my byline says, reviews of books other than picture books, and occasional interviews. On Wednesdays, I have begun a series called This Day in the Arts that I plan to run throughout the year, looking at that day in arts history — posts could be about some historical happening in the world of theatre, music, dance or visual art. I hope in this way to guide my blog toward more of an arts focus. I will continue posting Perfect Picture Book choices on Fridays, and as I did last year, I will try to choose mainly picture books that either have some relation to the arts, or are Canadian in origin.

All this and eating my veggies and getting a good night’s sleep, too. Self-discipline will be involved.

What are some of your goals and intentions for the new year?


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