Each year, I choose an annual theme, an idea I originally got from Steve and Vicki Palmquist of Children’s Literature Network. My word for 2012 was Focus. I think I got better at focus last year. I learned to do better at blocking out my to-do list and focusing in on JUST whatever I was working on at the moment. So that was good. Yoga helped a lot. I don’t think I did very well on applying Focus to my freelance life in general. I still feel spread too thin, so I need to keep working on this.
But, I’m still choosing a new word for 2013, and it’s Courage! I’m going to try to find the courage to:
Stand up for my writing more often to editors. Editors are often right, and I’m very open to revising, so that’s no problem. Last year, though, I worked on a set of rhyming picture books for an educational publisher. In my opinion, the editing made the meter of the books inconsistent and hard (for me, anyway) to read aloud. We went back and forth and back and forth, but we got nowhere. Eventually, I found the courage to say that I wanted to use a pseudonym. It was awkward. It was uncomfortable. But I recently got my author copies, and I’m so glad I did it. The books are adorable and teach content. But the meter, to me, is off. It is not a reflection of how I write rhyming manuscripts. So I know I did the right thing. I respect this publisher and hope to keep working with them. But if this did put an end to that working relationship, I’m still glad I found the courage to do what I did.
Get more involved with educators. I often feel intimidated by educators since I’m not in the classroom and don’t know all the current studies and practices. But I’m excited to be a Co-Chair on an NCTE Committee this year and can’t wait to go to the annual conference again. It took courage to say yes to the invitation, but I’m glad I did it. I need to jump into conversations more often and be willing to offer my perspective as a writer (not as a teacher) on subjects I’m passionate about.
Write things that might not be salable. I write plenty of things that turn out not to be salable (dang it!), which is an entirely different thing from purposely writing something you love, knowing it will likely never find a home. But I need to find the courage to write those things anyway, knowing they’ll make me a better writer even if they never find a home.
I’m sure there are plenty of other ways I can be more courageous, and I’ll be thinking about what those are. But these are a few to start with.
What’s your goal/theme for 2013?