Goals: looking back and pushing forward

I recently wrapped up what I think will be my last in-person school visits of the 2015-2016 school year, and promotion activities for the three books that are out is starting to die down. This seems like a good time to pause and reflect on my goals and progress, especially since I was too busy at the beginning of the year to do my usual review and planning exercises.
Since this time last year, I’ve done:

  • Done!1 high school presentation,
  • 13 middle school presentations,
  • 4 elementary school presentations,
  • 6 Skype visits (including one to Hawaii, one to Brazil, and one more to go!),
  • 3 radio interviews,
  • 2 preschool storytimes,
  • 2 teen library events,
  • 1 adult library event,
  • 2 Girl Scout workshops,
  • 3 bookstore signing events,
  • 1 book launch party,
  • 1 blog tour,
  • 1 book trailer,
  • 1 storytime activity kit,
  • the Texas Book Festival in Austin,
  • the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) conference in Columbus,
  • the Pacific Northwest Library Association conference (PNLA) in Portland,
  • the International Literacy Association’s (ILA) conference in St. Louis,
  • one research trip to St. Louis,
  • Indies First! on Small Business Saturday at Secret Garden Books,
  • 1 guest lecture at the University of Washington,
  • 2 appearances at a children’s museum,
  • 2 summer camp visits,
  • 2 Twitter chats (including one for WWE moms!),
  • 2 recordings for TeachingBooks.net,
  • 1 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award presentation at SCBWI-WWA’s Inside Story event,
  • 1 middle-grade book written and submitted,
  • 3 picture books revised (but not yet finished),
  • 1 YA project edited and revised (still in progress),
  • preliminary research for 2 new book projects,
  • at least 2 major website overhauls (one here and one for Online Author Visits),
  • volunteering for We Need Diverse Books,
  • volunteering for SCBWI Western Washington, and
  • 19 blog posts.

Not too shabby! It’s so easy in this business to feel like I never get anything done. I have a stack of in-progress manuscripts that I desperately want to perfect so they can go out and try to find their publishing homes, and every day that they don’t quite get there (or worse, don’t make any progress at all!) feels like a big fat failure. Listing out all of the things that I have done makes me feel a little bit better. I haven’t just been spinning my wheels, after all! I didn’t get to finish everything I had hoped to by now, but I did check off some big goals and also did a bunch of things I hadn’t expected or planned on. And, many of the things listed were firsts for me and/or major highlights, so there’s a lot of personal growth hidden in that list as well as some major accomplishments to be proud of. So, all in all, not bad!
Still, there’s so much more I want to do! My goals for the rest of the year include:

  • TKfinishing up revisions for the first book in the Two Truths and a Lie series: It’s Alive!,
  • completing the photo research for It’s Alive!,
  • attending the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando to accept the Schneider Family Award,
  • revising my nonfiction picture book until it’s ready for submission,
  • revising one of my fiction picture books until it’s ready for submission,
  • revising the middle-grade nonfiction proposal until it’s ready for submission,
  • revising the YA project until it’s ready for submission,
  • finalizing the outline for Two Truths and a Lie, Book #2, and beginning the writing,
  • and writing more blog posts.

There are several other manuscripts I hope to finish revising, as well as a handful of new ideas I’m really excited about researching further and beginning to write, but those will all just have to wait until I complete the above. Revision is one of those things that’s difficult to predict how long it will take, so I’m not sure if this list is even anywhere close to doable. I’ll check back in January to let you know how I’ve done! 🙂

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