What Might the New Year Hold?

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?


24 thoughts on “What Might the New Year Hold?”

  1. Beth, I think I am going to be there with you on the Margaret Wise Brown level and finding workshops. I already signed up for Anastasia Suen’s nonfiction workshop, which starts Wednesday. Have a wonderful 2013, and I look forward to staying in touch with you. I can’t wait to hear how the agent search turns out.

    1. Oh, good for you for signing up for a nonfiction workshop! I can just feel that you’re going to have a stellar future in nonfiction. I look forward to another year of connection with you, as well. Happy New Year!

  2. Wow, Beth. You certainly have given yourself something to strive for. I’m impressed with the thought you have put into these goals. Given your list of 2012 achievements, I believe you have what it takes to reach your 2013 goals. I look forward to seeing you make these intentions come to life.

  3. I am always impressed with all the juggling you do. I am laughing, too, as many of our goals overlap! I am so excited to continue to follow all your writerly progress into another new year and wish you all success! I sure hope you get to attend both conferences at Stony Brook.

    1. I’m not surprised that many of our goals overlap, Joanna! I’m looking forward to reading your post tomorrow, and hope to see you in person in July! All the success in the world to you, my friend.

  4. Enjoyed your post. You have accomplished and continue to take on more. Okay, with the four of us who started our journey together two years ago, I hope at least one or two of us (if not all of us) find agents/publsihers this year. Am also thinking about Stonybrook again now that I know the ropes — it will depend on a number of things falling into place. Wishing you very Happy and Joyful New Year in 2013! Love, Pat

    1. I will echo your hope for one or two or all of the Four to find success in the coming year. Here’s hoping that Stony Brook works out for both of us. May your New Year be all you could wish for and more, Pat!

  5. Your intentions are inspiring, ambitious, well thought out, and a little embarrassing to me. I was planning to stop biting my nails and teach Cupcake to fetch a ball! I am such a slacker. 🙂

    1. Don’t feel like a slacker, Genevieve! Teaching Cupcake to fetch is equal to seventeen or twenty or forty-two regular intentions! 😀

  6. By participating in some great groups in 2012, you accomplished so much. Hopiing you’re able to participate in those things again and to stretch your reach toward heaven and grasp your success in 2013…or at least smile and laugh and enjoy the process why grasping at the moon and stars 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Angela — love your take on this. Have you seen the old Bette Davis movie “Dark Victory”? It uses the quote about reaching for the moon and at least landing in the stars to great effect.

  7. Congratulations on all you have achieved in 2012. All the best for 2013 and all you hope to achieve. I too am joining up with 12×12 again, 2013 looks promising for the fab four…lol!

  8. Wow, I’m exhausted just reading your goals!! I have a feeling you’ll accomplish them all – and then some!

    You’ve probably heard of this site but, in case you haven’t, check out Querytracker.net to help you with your agent search.

    Happy 2013!!

  9. Beth, I hope 2013 turns into an amazing year for you. Best wishes with the agent search. I’m still debating what level of 12×12 to join for next year, but I’ll look forward to keeping up with you in the New Year regardless. PS- I just noticed your copyright statement on your blog says copywrite Beth Stilborn, 2012… I think I need to update those same stamps on my blog as well. 🙂

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