Janet Sumner Johnson
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Goals

My Year in Review

Jan

04, 2016 |

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Writing

Happy New Year!

With all the Christmas rush, I have been absentee the last couple of weeks, but I didn’t want to miss again. Because this is the time of year where I hold myself accountable for the goals I set at the beginning of last year. And if I don’t hold myself accountable, who will?

So here we go. My goals from last year and my assessment:

1. Write 5 days a week.
I started out well with this, then wow. A big fail on this goal. BUT, if you consider all the non-book-writing things I wrote, perhaps I didn’t do so terribly. That said, I hope to do better this coming year. But I realize that for me, this type of goal will always be a fail, because I hate being tied down. I do much better when I assign myself a project to accomplish, as you’ll see in the next goal . . .

One page of my crazy edits

One page of my crazy edits

2. Finish revising my 2 WIPS (Works in Progress).
WOOT! TOTAL WIN! Granted, I now have more revising to do on WIP #2, BUT I finished 2 other rounds of revisions on it (2 other MAJOR rounds of revision), and this next round won’t be so terrible. WIP #1 is now on submission. *curls up in fetal position*

3. Finish a first draft of a new book.
Okay. Total fail. I just started yesterday. But in my defense, I didn’t expect the majorness of the revisions for WIP #2. Plus I wrote a bonus story for PB&J SOCIETY (hoping you will all love it!), and a bunch of other PB&J-related things. The next book just didn’t happen. However, it is STARTED, so finishing the first draft at the very least is this year’s goal.

4. Write at least two picture books.
Sigh. Nope. I did take a PB class, but I was so busy, I mostly skimmed through it. Turns out that when you have a book contract (which I didn’t have when I made these goals), you suddenly become much busier. While I would like to do this again, I realize debut year will be full of too many other things.

5. Attend at least one writing conference.
And Hooray!! Another accomplished goal! I will definitely be keeping this goal. I am attending LDStorymakers again as an attendee (my husband will be presenting!), and I will be presenting at the MD/DE/WV SCBWI conference in April. So check and check! It really is good to plan a goal that you have already facilitated the accomplishment of.

And there you have it. Not a great showing, to be sure. However, life sometimes mixes things up for you. It is somewhat surreal to realize that last year at this time, I had no idea what was in store for me. I had no idea I was on the verge of signing my first book contract . . . which changed the course of my whole year.

So while I didn’t accomplish all the specific goals I set for myself, I DID accomplish some pretty major things. And I am a firm believer in being flexible. Yes, I could have killed myself to accomplish every one of these goals above, but I feel pretty proud of all I accomplished this past year.

Now it’s your turn. Please tell me what you accomplished this past year so I can celebrate with you! 🙂

Speak up:

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Happy New Year!

Jan

05, 2015 |

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So I popped off for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and then the
boat left the dock without me, and I missed all of December. Family and Writing
(Well, revising, but same whatever).

My writing space

Anyway, it’s the new year, and we’ve had the discussion of Resolutions vs. Goals, so today I’m listing a few GOALS (nothing so wishy-washy as a
resolution for me, thank you very much!).

1.     
Write
5 days a week
. I don’t write on Sundays, and I need some leeway for the
other 6 (I’m all about not feeling cramped). However, to keep myself from the
path of insanity, I’m adding this: I get a smiley face for as little as ONE
page (written or revised). For the record, I usually do more, but this keeps my
mind free from feeling weighed down by the burden of it. It lets me enjoy. Oh yeah! And I’m giving myself 1
month of vacation, too. It’s only fair. Yeah I’m weird. But I’m totally owning
this.

2.     
Finish
revising my 2 WIPS (Works in Progress)
. After spending all of November
and December revising, I am confident this is doable. (Assuming I really stick
to goal #1). 😉

3.     
Finish
a first draft of a new book
. I have the book in mind, and it’s actually
started. I can do this. I can!

4.     
Write
at least two picture books
. I wanted to just say one. But I want to
push myself a bit. Plus, after my September class, I’m really excited to do
this. It might be a summer thing, but I have at least one idea ready to be developed.
And just maybe I’ll take that class again to help me along. J

5.     
Attend
at least one writing conference
. Okay, I’m taking the easy way out
here, because I’m all signed up for LDStorymakers in May. But we all need at
least one gimmee, right?

And I think I’ll stop there because all of that will keep me
plenty busy. So how about you? What are your goals (writing or not)?

Speak up:

4 comments

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Belated Year-end Review

Jan

21, 2013 |

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So, confession. I did not make any resolutions this year. Nary a one.

I had good intentions, but we were on vacation, then life was coming fast, and next thing I know, here I am, 3 weeks into the new year with nothing done.

But if you recall last year’s discussions about resolutions vs. goals, well, let’s just say that I always have goals I’m working on. And I actually did accomplish quite a bit this past year.

So today I’m giving you my top 5 goals accomplished in 2012:

1. I ran a half marathon. To be honest, it still boggles my mind that I ran for 2 hours and 15 minutes straight. That’s a long time. And I don’t know if I can ever make myself do such a thing again. But I did it ONCE! And man was I proud of myself. (You won’t mind a little bit of pride to seep through here, will you?)

2. I started the Hacky Sack Club with the fabulous Amy Sonnichsen. This was not a goal I set, but rather something that grew from connecting with a kindred spirit. I am particularly proud of this one because I tend to be extremely reserved. Did you just die of shock? Yes, despite all the crazy videos I’ve posted in the past year, I am a VERY reserved person. Not shy, per se, but I do tend to keep my talents and deepest passions inside. Breaking out of that just a little, and sharing myself a little more with others has been surprisingly satisfying. So THANK YOU for indulging me with it all. And P.S. It’s still open to members! 😉

3. I moved half-way across country without dying or killing anyone. Overexposure to the question “Are we there yet?” almost did me in, but fortunately we discovered the cure in time: “Here, play with my iPod.”

 4. I finished writing a book. A book I’ve been in love with since the idea first struck me. We shall see what happens with it from here, but let’s just say that IT’S AWESOME! I know, humility and all that. Sorry. But if I don’t love it, how can I hope others will?

5. I signed with an agent. *Heehee* I still giggle when I say that. And I still sometimes go back and read the e-mails to make sure it’s real. In truth, I don’t feel like this is something I really accomplished, but rather something I’ve been working toward for a long time that finally came to pass. But since this IS a writing blog, I thought it should count.

So how about you? What did you accomplish in 2012?

Speak up:

12 comments

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NaNoReviMo 2012

Nov

05, 2012 |

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I have known about NaNoWriMo for about 4 years now. And I have never done it.

My mini-writing challenge with Leigh Moore last March told me that I would pretty much stink at it. Like a lot.

Last year at this time, I was just gearing up for some major revisions on my book, and I was fortunate enough to discover a group working on revisions instead of writing. We called our November NaNoReviMo.

Ironically, many of us are in the same boat this year, so we have rebanded. Jessie Humphries is keeping us organized, so if you’re interested in joining, go check out her blog and shoot her an email.

Anyhoo, the point of this post is that we are supposed to publicly announce our revision goals to keep us accountable and junk like that, so here are my revision goals for this month:

I know I should be more specific with daily goals, but since I’m super close on everything but the last one,  my daily goal is simply to work on one of these three things. Six days a week. Definitely do-able!

So what are your writing goals this month?

Speak up:

15 comments

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This vs. That: Resolutions vs. No Resolutions

Jan

30, 2012 |

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Of all the polls I’ve done, this one surprised me the most. In truth, I thought this would be a ‘no contest’ event, but boy was I wrong. However, I found it fascinating to hear about all of your opinions on resolutions and goal-setting. Good stuff!

But lets get to the interesting stuff:

Total votes: 17

Resolutions: 8 votes; 47%
No Resolutions: 9 votes; 53%

I really thought that while people might ignore resolutions or #fail at them (it just sounds cool to add the pound sign), most people would be pro-resolutions. So yes, I voted in favor of them.

However, I forgot to consider that most of my readers are writers. I should have realized that semantics would play into this. Unlike most people in the world, we writers make the distinction between goals and resolutions.

Nit-picky bunch, aren’t we?

That said, I have a feeling that if I did Goals vs. Resolutions, Goals would win hands down. They seem to be preferred based on all your comments.

Okay. Now on to the next debate:

Apples
vs.
Oranges

Speak up:

22 comments

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My 2011 Reading Habit

Jan

02, 2012 |

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Last year, I didn’t set a goal for a specific number of books to read, but I did set a goal to keep track of what I read. I think I mostly succeeded. Though I might have missed one or two. Anyway, my total?

84 books read in 2011, and here’s the list:
  1.  Pants on Fire by Meg Cabot
  2.  Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch
  3.  The Janitor’s Boy by Andrew Clements
  4.  Song of the Lioness: Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce 
  5.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Alexie Sherman
  6.  Leaving Fishers by Margaret Petersen Haddix
  7. The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
  8. Feed by M.T. Anderson
  9. Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
  10. Ivy’s Ever After by Dawn Lairamore
  11. Judy Moody was in a mood by Megan McDonald
  12. Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
  13. Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes by Louis Sachar
  14. The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
  15. Crash by Jerry Spinelli
  16. Judy Moody Gets Famous! by Megan McDonald
  17. Judy Moody Saves the World by Megan McDonald
  18. Judy Moody Predicts the Future by Megan McDonald
  19. Crispin: The End of Time by Avi
  20. Revenge of the Snob Squad by Jane Anne Peters
  21. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
  22. Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald
  23. Children of the Lamp: The Five Fakirs of Faizabad by P.B. Kerr
  24. A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
  25. The Thirty-nine Clues: Black Book of Buried Secrets by Rick Riordan et al.
  26. Sabotaged by Margaret Petersen Haddix
  27. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney
  28. Judy Moody: Around the World in 8 ½ Days by Megan McDonald
  29. Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: The Glitter Girls and the Big Fake Out by Meg Cabot
  30. Junie B. Jones and the Monkey Business by Barbara Park
  31. Charlie Bones and the Red Knight by Jenna Nimmo
  32. The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck
  33. Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth by Barbara Park
  34. Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying by Barbara Park
  35. Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake by Barbara Park
  36. Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Blast from the Past by Meg Cabot
  37. Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Stage Fright by Meg Cabot
  38. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
  39. Tom Trueheart: The Land of Dark Stories by Ian Beck
  40. In the Hand of the Godess by Tamora Pierce
  41. The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
  42. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  43. My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison
  44. Possession by Elana Johnson
  45. Junie B. Jones and that Meanie Jim’s Birthday by Barbara Park
  46. The Thirty-nine Clues: Vesper Rising (book 11) by Rick Riordan et al.
  47. Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under her Bed by Barbara Park
  48. Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook by Barbara Park
  49. Junie B. Jones Is a Party Animal by Barbara Park
  50. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  51. The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian by Lloyd Alexander
  52. Wings by E.D. Baker
  53. Junie B. Jones Is a Beauty Shop Guy by Barbara Park
  54. You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
  55. Chronicles of the Red King #1: The Secret Kingdom by Jenny Nimmo
  56. The Thirty-nine Clues: Maze of Bones (book 1) by Rick Riordan
  57. Much Ado About Grubstake by Jean Ferris
  58. Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy by Barbara Park
  59. Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
  60. The Missing, Book 4:  Torn by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  61. The Morpheus Road: The Black by D.J. MacHale
  62. Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren by Barbara Park
  63. Junie B. Jones is (almost) a Flower Girl by Barbara Park
  64. Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in her Pocket Warren by Barbara Park
  65. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  66. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
  67. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
  68.  Junie B. Jones is Captain Field Day by Barbara Park
  69. The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
  70. Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine by Barbara Park
  71. Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl by Barbara Park
  72. Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at last!) by Barbara Park
  73. Junie B. Jones: Boss of Lunch by Barbara Park
  74. Junie B. Jones: Toothless Wonder by Barbara Park
  75. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers
  76. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
  77. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  78. Matched by Ali Condie
  79. Crossed by Ali Condie
  80. What Happened on Fox Street by Tricia Springstubb
  81. Mo Wren, Lost and Found by Tricia Springstubb
  82. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  83. Junie B. Jones: One-man Band by Barbara Park
  84. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
Fyi, I didn’t record any of the picture books I read. That would have tripled my list or something, but I DEFINITELY count them as books read. 
Also, you might note a large portion of my list is from the Junie B. Jones series. I’d never read it, so I decided to rectify that. For research, of course. 😉
And I didn’t record any of the books I started and didn’t finish. There were a few of those. Still, this is a pretty good representation of my reading habit. Very MG-centric. Perhaps I should diversify a little more this coming year, no?
So how do our tastes compare? Any books you’d recommend for my 2012 reading habit?
P.S.  I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season!

Speak up:

20 comments

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The Best Laid Plans . . .

Apr

27, 2011 |

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Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to go to France for two weeks as a tour guide. No, I am not French scholar. And Yes, it was a LOT of work to get ready.

But as a favor to my sister (for whom I would do a lot because she is just that awesome), I went and posed as a confident tour guide. I not only learned all kinds of French history, but all kinds of random tidbits about life. For example, cobblestone may look cool, but it’s really not fun to walk or drive on. 
Still, I digress . . . now that I’m back, I get to subject you with all kinds of travel log writing analogies. Bwah ha ha ha! (Your ears should be ringing with my evil laugh.)
So, here we go . . . the first thing we visited after dropping off our luggage was the Eiffel Tower.
 

This iconic building fascinates me. It was built for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889. It was meant to stand for 2 years before it would be dismantled. Then they upped its life to 20 years, and finally, with the coming of the radio and its usefulness assured, they decided to keep it.

It’s hard to imagine, from our current frame of reference, that the French would ever have considered taking the Eiffel Tower apart. But back then it was something of an atrocity to many. Modern art at it’s worst, so some people thought.

Now we can look back and breathe a sigh of relief that they revised their plans. Somehow, Paris just wouldn’t be Paris without it.

Writing can be a bit like this. We lay out our plans. We set our goals. We write our books and think that’s the end.

And then the first critiques come back.

We revise our work and sigh with relief that that’s done.

And then the next batch of critiques come back. I’m sure you get the idea.

What’s important to remember though, are the breathtaking results from your efforts.

Oh wait! How’d that get in there? I meant to post these . . .

So when you’re working on that next draft. Just think of the Eiffel Tower and all the future audiences you will wow.

It will be worth it.

Speak up:

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Resolutions and a Little Silliness

Jan

01, 2010 |

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I did a quick search to see if I could find my resolutions from last year. Nope, not recorded in the journal. So I guess that means I kept them all. BUT, here are some pretend ones so we can all feel good about that assessment:

  1. Start a blog. Check.
  2. Start the next draft of Prince Bob. Check.
  3. Have a baby. Check.
  4. Get back to pre-baby weight. Check.
  5. Be more patient. Che . . . well, this is kind of an “always” resolution, so we’ll go ahead and say Check.

Of course, I COULD go on (wink, wink, nod, nod), but you get the point. I definitely accomplished things this past year. And may I just say, that resolutions are SO much easier when you write them down after the fact.

But not to let sleeping dogs lie, or whatever idiomatic expression would fit better there, I am going to actually record some resolutions for this coming year. And a year from now, I can reassess and see if I don’t prefer last year’s method of writing them down after I accomplished them.

Okay, here we go:

  1. Lose weight. Cliche I know, but alas, there we are. And yes, I know what you’re thinking: that’s a vague goal, but I have a plan. No, really. I just don’t want to reveal all my secrets. Bwa, ha ha. (maybe I should add a resolution to work on my evil laugh.)
  2. Read with London every day. I can hear your gasp. “But all good mothers do that anyway without having to set a goal! And what about your other children?” Yes, yes, we do that, but I mean the “he-reads-to-me” kind of reading. He has my temperment (i.e. throw-a-fit-when-you-can’t-do-it-perfect-the-first-time-behavior), but he’ll get there. Dad, your curse is in full force. Oh, and sorry.
  3. Finish draft 2 and 3 of my book. How long did the first draft take you, you ask? Details, details. Never you concern yourself with that.
  4. Start a blog. Oh . . . wait! That one’s already taken. But on the bright side, I’ll just check it off now. Check.
  5. Visit at least 1 cool thing in the area per month. Totally attainable. The trick will be making it something different every month. But note, that’s not actually part of the goal. 🙂 Every good resolution list has to have at least one loophole. Right?

I think 5 is good for now. Though I have others, I’m choosing not to list them here . . . that whole mystique thing. 🙂 So are there any uber-unique resolutions out there? I’d love to hear them. And in fact, maybe I will add a sixth, uber-unique one, just for kicks and giggles. Let’s see, it would have to be something I wouldn’t normally do . . . something legal, of course . . . something that might challenge me . . . and that may be just a little silly. I could sew something wearable that’s NOT a costume. But that’s not very silly. I could read a non-fiction book. Definitely something I wouldn’t normally do, but there again, not very silly. Ah, wait, I have it:6. I resolve to hold a contest with an actual prize on my blog. Pointless, you say? Maybe. But I wouldn’t normally do it. It’s legal (except in states where prohibited, of course). It will be a challenge, because I still have to come up with what the contest will be. And last but not least, it’s a little silly. And funny, I’m actually excited by the prospect! Random contest, here we come!

Speak up:

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