An author’s year in review is an opportunity for authors to look back at their writing life for the past year. Reviews can help you plan next steps for the new year. It is important to focus on what you were able to do rather than the rejections, less than shining critiques or contracts not offered.
What writing have you accomplished this year?
The first question for an author’s year in review is to write down all of the things that you have accomplished this year. As an author you are writing most days, in your list you should include writing exercises, short stories, online challenges, projects you have started and anything that you have written or learned to advance your writing skills.
- StoryStorm Challenge – The challenge is to create 30 story ideas in 30 days.
- Teach Write Academy – supportive group of teachers who are writers. We write for an hour and a half each week.
- Miriam Laundry’s Publishing Mastermind – included writing, editing, revising … repeat!
- Morning pages in my notebook – writing one page each morning
- 12×12 Challenge – completed the challenge by writing 12 picture book drafts in 12 months, edited and revised those stories.
- Researched and hired a book illustrator for Two Wins for Wiley
- Freelance picture book writing – 7 manuscripts accepted 4 published in 2022
- With guidance, successfully uploaded the Two Wins for Wiley book to Amazon
- Achieved Best Seller Status on Amazon.com and Amazon.CA
- Designed materials to update my website
- Weekly blog posts
- World Read Aloud Day – Read Gertie Saves the Day to children via Zoom
- Women in Publishing Summit – Tickets are on sale now
- Podcast for Gertie Saves the Day
- Reader’s guide for Two Wins for Wiley
What were your writing goals for the past year?
As part of an author’s year in review you may want to visit the goals you set at the beginning of the year. I do not necessarily set goals for the new year. I prefer to have one word guide me throughout the year. My one word for 2022 was Growth and it guided me through the entire year. At the beginning of the year when I selected my one word I did not expect that I would have a second book written and published. Through the 12 x 12 Challenge I did not expect to complete 12 picture book drafts. The word Growth guided me to learn and grow as a writer.
What have you learned from this writing year?
I have learned to read more picture books and use them as mentor texts. I learned to create more well developed characters, balance dialogue and action. How did I learn these things? A book, Writing Picture Books, which Is a wonderful book about writing picture books. Excellent advice and guidance for picture book writers.
Learning is essential for us to reach our publication goals. Learn by instruction, learn by reading and learn by doing. I am constantly discovering gaps in my learning and knowledge that I want to learn. I am always looking forward to learning new skills to help me become a better writer.
If I am going to write a story about a specific topic I need to read the other books that have been published on that topic. I try to find a unique voice or angle for my story. My critique partners tell me that I am relying on the illustrations too heavily. I need a strong page turning first page. This advice has helped me with the revision process. Each revision has made my stories stronger.
Did you invest in your writing this year?
I can say, unequivocally, that I have invested in my writing with workshops, webinars and reading all sorts of books and materials about writing and being an author. I am a life long learner and there is so much to learn about writing, editing, revising and publishing.
The most obvious investment is writing time. I write every morning. It is part of my morning routine. Since I love writing that’s not a difficult investment for me to make. I have the support of my family, friends and fellow authors from my writing groups. Deadlines are also a help for me to get my writing completed.
This investment check can help you see where you might need to invest next year. There are always new things to learn and new opportunities to learn. Trust me, I have already signed up for several opportunities. You might want to consider what is the best way for you to learn? I like to learn from books and webinars. The fact that a webinar can be accessed after the live event allows me to go back and listen again. That’s what works for me. Whether you invest more writing time or invest money to improve your writing skills, value those investments because will move your writing forward.
Time to celebrate
Now it is time to take a look at your list and celebrate. You may not have signed a book contract or had your book published, but all writing counts. You cannot be a writer without writing. It is time to celebrate all of your successes. Having a book published does not make us writers, we are writers well before our first manuscript is accepted for publication. Publication makes us professional writers and while this is the ultimate goal for many writers. Be sure to include any writing that you have completed. It counts because you are a writer. Celebrate all of your successes whether they are big or small.
The final step is take the information you have gathered from your review and decide what will your next writing year look like? This review will give you perspective on planning your next steps as an author. In writing this post, I have been able to celebrate my successes and think about my next steps. I will be sharing these with you in my next post, which will be after the new year. I will be taking the next few weeks off to celebrate the holidays with family and friends and take some time to plan my writing goals for 2023.
My wish for you is to have the happiest of holidays and a happy and healthy New Year. Here’s to a wonderful 2023!
I am so glad you’re here and I thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am grateful that I can share my writing journey with you.
I’m looking forward to helping you as a children’s book writer in any way that I can. Speaking of helping — please leave a comment below and let me know what questions you have about picture book writing.
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I am now booking author visits for 2023. In the past few weeks we have been to 8 schools to share Two Wins for Wiley. The children were very excited for us to visit their school. Please consider an author visit and book early! Concerned about the cost of an author visit? Check out this article, while it is an older article, it is a jumping off point.
One last request …
You can really help this author by leaving a book review on Amazon or Goodreads. You can leave a review for Gertie Saves the Day here or here. Two Wins for Wiley here or here. Reviews can be as easy as 2-3 sentences and should take about 30 seconds to leave and would make a huge difference for me. Need help? Click here.