Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year. Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here are my lists of successes and surprises from 2021.
- In February, I won 4th place in Susanna Leonard Hill’s 2021 Valentiny contest. My prize was a picture book critique from author Dawn Young.
- In June, I won an honorable mention in the Cooking Up Culture contest, hosted by Rate Your Story and Lynne Marie.
- In October, I was one of the winners of the 2021 Fall Writing Frenzy contest, hosted by Kaitlyn Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis. My prize was a picture book critique from author Jolene Gutierrez.
- In November, I won an honorable mention in the 2021 Birthday! Birthday! contest, hosted by Gennie Gorback and Amy Leskowski.
- I entered additional contests too, including 50 Precious Words, Halloweensie, and Rate Your Story’s Summer Contest.
- I submitted work to Chicken Soup for the Soul, Reader’s Digest, and various children’s magazines, including Highlights and Ladybug (a few of my submissions are still outstanding, so fingers crossed 🤞🏻).
- I wrote a total of 10 picture book drafts this year.
- I started writing a middle-grade novel.
- And most exciting, I had two full requests by agents this year.
- I won 4 picture book giveaways this year:
- I won 5 Thursday Read-Through giveaways by Sarah Meade.
- I won a picture book critique from author AJ Irving in the #OverBearUnderWhere contest, hosted by CK Malone and in support of Julie Hedlund.
- I received a total of 4 agent hearts ♥️ during various pitch events this year (which is 4 more than I received in 2020!).
- I set a goal this year to double my Twitter following from 1K to 2K. Amazingly, through engagement and relationship building, I surpassed that goal and grew to over 2500 followers.
I’m still not published or agented, which feels disappointing. I love writing, and I wish I had something to show for it. But, writing out these lists of positive things that DID happen in 2021, really helps keep things in perspective. I grew and made progress toward my goals this year, even if that progress feels slow.
I also want to recognize that this has been a tough year in a lot of ways. Some of you may remember that I was diagnosed with melanoma in May, which set me back for awhile, as I dealt with the physical and emotional aspects of that.
I also turned 40 this year, I potty-trained my toddler, and transitioned him into preschool for the first time ever. My family traveled out of state twice to visit family, we hosted out-of-town guests four times, and we made four trips to Disney (we are Florida residents with annual passes, so that’s not as extravagant as it sounds, but it made for a lot of overall travel).
When I think back on this year, I’m actually amazed I got anything accomplished at all. We read a LOT of picture books from our own collection, as well as from the library. And I even made time to read a few books for myself, because as I’ve said before, you can’t be a writer without also being a reader.
And I can’t end this blog without giving a shout-out to my wonderful critique partners—Molly, Lindsey, and Gennie. We’ve been together over a year now, and we’ve all said we might’ve given up by now if it wasn’t for the support and camaraderie that we’ve found in each other. I am so proud of everything they are accomplishing in their own journeys, and I’m so glad to call these lovely ladies friends. ♥️
So, that’s a wrap on 2021, folks. See y’all in 2022! Happy New Year!! 🎉