JUST SAY NO TO NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS WITH THIRTY-ONE JUST FOR FUN
I offered my first THIRTY-ONE JUST FOR FUN CHALLENGE in 2012. Each year since, I have modified my original post and reposted it. Before I share the modified version, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported my blog throughout the year. I wish you all a very Happy New Year. May the new year bring each of you all that your heart desires.
Now for THIRTY-ONE JUST FOR FUN. . . .
A common question in life coaching is, “What’s the difference between a life coach and a therapist?” The answer goes something like this: Imagine you are driving a car through life with a psychotherapist as your driving instructor. The psychotherapist will spend a lot of time instructing you to look through your rearview mirror at where you have been. A “life coach” driving instructor will encourage you to look out your windshield at where you are going.
A NEGATIVE DRAIN
Today, I am going to swim against the life coaching current and ask you to look back at where you have been. New Year’s resolutions often have roots in the past. We look back, with a certain amount of regret, at what we failed to accomplish in the outgoing year. Focusing on our shortcomings, we resolve to make up for them in the New Year; usually with bigger and better plans than before. Although setting these goals can leave you feeling hopeful, looking back with self-judgment can sap your confidence and drain your spirit.
ENERGIZE YOUR SPIRIT
Instead of looking back at your shortcomings with regret, look back at your successes with confidence and gratitude. Looking back and acknowledging your accomplishments will give you the opportunity to celebrate your successes and energize your spirit as you look forward to your new year.
THIRTY-ONE JUST FOR FUN
Over the next couple of weeks, take some time to reflect on 2015 and list 31 things that you accomplished throughout the year. I hope you will celebrate your successes by coming back and sharing some of your discoveries in the comments section of this post or share them on your own blog. The most important part of this challenge is recognizing the positive, energizing events of 2015. Even if you are unable to list 31 achievements, come back and celebrate with us by bragging a little about your year.
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU GET STARTED ON YOUR LIST
- How did you grow personally, professionally or as a writer?
- Did you have a positive impact on others?
- What writing skills did you learn or strengthen?
- Did you improve organizational skills?
- Did you find the secret to time management?
- Did you complete any writing challenges?
- Did you join any groups?
- What personal strengths did you gain?
- What goals did you achieve?
- What unplanned accomplishments did you achieve?
- What character qualities did you strengthen?
- Have you improved your communication skills?
- Have you gotten better at saying no to others, to yourself, or to activities that drain you?
- What acts of kindness did you share?
- What special, memory building moment did you have with family, friends, writing groups, by yourself and so on?
- Did you submit any of your writing? If you want to challenge yourself to submit more in 2016 join my Sub Six private manuscript submission support group on Facebook.
- Did any submissions get accepted for publication?
- Did you get any rejections with encouraging notes?
- Did you find a positive way to accept rejections?
For tips on celebrating your achievements see CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS BIG AND SMALL. Be sure to scroll down to the section about the achievement jar, so you can celebrate all through 2016.
Below I share ten of my thirty-one achievements.
- I started 2015 with my first SCBWI annual winter conference in New York where I met many of my friends in person for the first time, including four out of six of my Penguin Posse critique partners.
- I developed a highly detailed picture book writing course. This was a long and challenging process that I must celebrate by sharing. I consider it a huge achievement. Yay!
- I completed Renee LaTulippe’s fantastic course The Lyrical Language Lab: Punching Up Prose with Poetry
- I attended the excellent SCBWI workshop, Tammi’s Top Picture Book Writing Secrets with Tammi Sauer and Janee Trasler
- I started art classes.
- I completed Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen’s and Kami Kinard’s Kid Lit Summer School: The Plot Thickens
- I helped as many fellow writers as possible with their manuscripts.
- I learned to practice one of my favorite survival skills, which is write from the heart – submit with detachment.
- I completed my 4th 12 X 12 writing challenge and my 5th PiBoIdMo challenge.
- I ended 2015 with a very successful launch of my picture book writing course ART OF ARC: How to Analyze Your Picture Book Manuscript (deepen your understanding of picture books written with a classic arc).
I’m already planning for next year. I recently signed up for the 2016 Big Sur at Cape Cod, Andrea Brown Literary workshop. This is doubly exciting for me because I will be meeting up with some of my Penguin Posse sisters once again.
Best wishes in 2016!
Posted in life coaching, Manuscript Submissions, Picture Book Writing, Picture Book Writing Courses, Poetry Classes, Poetry Writing, Writing, Writing Challenge, Writing Courses | Tagged 12 x 12, Andrea Brown, Art of Arc, Big Sur at Cape Cod workshop, Facebook, how to analyze your picture book manuscript, Janee Trasler, Julie Hedlund, Kami Kinard, Kid Lit Summer School, Lyrical Language Lab, manuscript submission, manuscript submission support group, New Year's Resolutions, PiBoIdMo, Picture book writing course, picture books written with classic arc, Punching up prose with poetry, Renee LaTulippe, SCBWI, SCBWI conference, SCBWI Workshop, Sub Six, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Tammi Sauer, Tara Lazar | 12 Comments »
This month, on the TODAY’S LITTLE DITTY blog, Michelle H. Barnes had a spotlight on Rebecca M. Davis – the senior editor for Boyds Mills Press and for WordSong, the only imprint in the United States dedicated to children’s poetry. Rebecca challenged TODAY’S LITTLE DITTY followers to write poems about acts of kindness. Lacking confidence in my poetry skills, I hesitated to join the fun. But I had a little ditty gnawing at me until I gave in and tried. I will share my free verse piece below. But first I must say, if you aren’t aware of TODAY’S LITTLE DITTY, it is worth a visit. It inspires not only writing and poetry, but in my case, stepping outside comfort zones and possibly growing as a writer.
Eye to Eye
by Alayne Kay Christian
Inside a cardboard lean-to
a child crouches, wrapping arms around legs,
tapping tingling toes
to warm them.
“Change to spare?” her mother begs.
A boy stares,
his mother tugs.
His arms reach out
with cocoa and coat.
A grinning boy shivers his way home.
Alayne’s Picture book writing course – Art of Arc: How to Analyze Your Picture Book Manuscript (deepen your understanding of picture books written with a classic arc).
Posted in Agents and Editors, Editing Picture Books, Picture Book Writing, Picture Book Writing Courses, Writing, Writing Challenge, Writing Courses, Writing Poetry | Tagged acts of kindness, Alayne Kay Christina, Art of Arc, Boyds Mill Press, Michelle H Barnes, Picture book writing course, Picture Books Written with a classic arc, Poetry, Rebecca M Davis, Today's Little Ditty, Understanding Classic Arc | 8 Comments »
While I was off pondering future blog posts, taking a break from critiques, and editing picture book manuscripts, I discovered a great picture book writing course. To be fair, I wrote a picture book writing course! Today’s post will share some exciting news about my critique partners and friends. But I’m also EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE the launch of ART OF ARC: How to Analyze Your Picture Book Manuscript – An independent study writing course. My Mama brought me up to be polite, so I’ll share the news about my friends first. We have had so much good news in the writing community this year that I can’t share it all in one post. My apologies to my friends who are not in this round of announcements.
My critique partner Yvonne Mes has two newly released picture books.
Oliver’s Grumbles – illustrated by Giuseppe Poli
Meet Sydney Nolan – illustrated by Sandra Eterovic
My critique partner Renee LaTulippe authored poems in the recently released
National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry: More than 200 Poems With Photographs That Float, Zoom, and Bloom!
My critique partner Julie Falatko’s debut picture book Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) will be released in February 2016. It is illustrated by Tim Miller.
My critique partner Dev Petty’s debut picture book I Dont’ Want to be a Frog was released this year. The illustrator is Mike Boldt.
My friend and Sub Six member
Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book
There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight was released in August. It’s illustrated by Ben Mantle.
I just registered for my fifth round of Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) Since I am sharing friend’s books, Tara has been on fire! She had two books released this year and has several coming out next year. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL MY FRIENDS!
AND NOW FOR MY BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!
I’m happy to announce the launch of ART OF ARC: How to Analyze Your Picture Book Manuscript. This is a self-study course that will deepen your understanding of picture books written with a classic arc and introduce you to other picture book structures. Understanding story and character arcs will help give your stories order and the tension that will energize them from the beginning to the end. This energy will not only drive your protagonist forward – it will also drive readers to turn pages and keep reading. The course offers worksheets that will improve existing manuscripts and make future writing stronger. You will gain the knowledge and receive the tools to assist you in analyzing your own work prior to investing in professional critiques. It guides you through a manuscript-self-assessment process that may help prevent submitting manuscripts prematurely. It also shows how to avoid common writing errors and apply writing elements that will enhance your stories in a way that will take them to a higher level. The tools provided are perfect for analyzing mentor texts, too! All the above and much, much more for less than the cost of one professional critique! Detailed information about the course, the very low introductory price, and my qualifications to teach this course can be found on my website. You can find a few testimonials below.
ART OF ARC is one of the most comprehensive writing classes I’ve ever taken. It breaks down complex aspects of story structure in a clear manner that helped me to understand every element of picture books, from hook to satisfying ending. The worksheets helped me to dissect my stories and see what they were missing and how they needed to be rearranged, making the revision process a lot less painful. If you want to learn how to develop a great story arc with a hook, page-turners, tension, dark moment, climax, and satisfying ending – this class is for you! Alayne even includes links for writing resources.
– Donna C.
Children’s Book Writer
Alayne has outdone herself with this course; I don’t know HOW she does it. Things I thought I understood about writing picture books are now crystal clear!! Alayne somehow manages to make it simple and easy to understand yet delves deeper into the workings of a picture book than I ever have before, and I’ve studied picture book writing quite a bit! Great information, wonderfully laid out to lead you systematically through analyzing and improving your manuscript. Almost every lesson gives really helpful examples. I loved this course! I’ll continue using it to polish my manuscripts in the future.
– Meg M.
Children’s Book Writer
Fresh. Straight forward. Thought provoking. Idea generating. WOW! It clarified and enhanced my understanding of things I’ve learned prior to the course. You’ve explained things I’ve heard before in a way that is clicking better now. I feel I have a better eye for story arcs, extraneous information that bogs stories down, lack of forward movement, how authors keep or do not keep tension in their books, etc.
– ART OF ARC Beta Students
Detailed information about the course, the very low introductory price, and my qualifications to teach this course can be found on my website.
Posted in Children's Writer, Children's Writing, Picture Book Writing, Picture Book Writing Courses, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Courses | Tagged analyze picture book manuscripts, Ben Mantle, character arcs, classic arc, critiques, Dev Petty, Giuseppe Poli, I don't want to be a frog, independent study picture book writing course, Julie Falatko, Meet Sidney Nolan, Mentor Texts, Mike Boldt, National Geographics book of nature poetry, Oliver's Grumbles, Penny Parker Klostermann, PiBoIdMo, Picture Book Idea Month, picture book structures, Picture book writing, Picture book writing course, Renee LaTulippe, Sandra Eterovic, self-paced picture book writing course, Snappsy the Alligator, Story Arc, Tara Lazar, There was an old dragon who swallowed a knight, Tim Miller, Yvonne Mes | 10 Comments »