Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bustin' Out with 2019 - Make It Your Year - by Kathy Halsey

Nothing but blue skies at the rodeo today. The year is still fresh, your intentions are good; you have saddled up your pony for a successful ride up the writing road. Hold your horses, writer gals and guys. I rounded up some help for you while you mosey down the trail.  

Anti- Resolutions Revolution
Back at the ranch house, Julie Foster Hedlund gave us some provisions for the trail. You might call it "food for thought." Back in 2014, I began participating in Julie's 12 Days of Christmas for Writers. (web site here and FB group here) From December 26 -January 6, we come together to review/reflect on our writing year to refresh/renew ourselves for a new year. The Facebook group closes January 10, 2019, but circle Dec. 26, 2019  on your calendar so you can join us at the year's end. Julie believes that most resolutions come from a place of negativity so we began with surprises, successes, move to challenges and disappointments, what we learned from both and then build goals from last year's achievements. This year 503 children's writers joined the fun. 
I'll share my illuminations from the process and the ripples of change that are already coming to fruition for me and others writers.   
“A surprise is an extra gift over and above what you set out to achieve.” -Julie Hedlund 
One of the best surprises that continues this year is that Beth Stilborn and I became accountability buddies. Every Monday we email our weekly accomplishments and our intentions for the coming week. We're not critique partners; we don't even write for the same age group! Beth lives in Canada and I'm in the Midwest, but we were surprised by this great motivator and wonderful friendship. You might try this, too.
Guiding Word/Motto for 2019
Some writers created vision boards; many of us came up with  a word/phrases to guide our writing and goals. Words like "Power," "Treasure" "Fearless" were claimed. One writer said, "I want to treasure what has been given to me, like friends in the writing community, opportunities, ideas, and time to write. I want to treasure the process and let ideas grow organically into the stories they were meant to be." Beth came up with this formula: FOCUS plus FOLLOW-THROUGH leads to FRUITION.
The cover page to my 12 Days features my guiding phrase.

Ripple Effect
Most of my critique group participated in this challenge and we've revised and renewed some of our procedures. During our first online 2019 meeting we came up with these ideas.
  • Post a calendar on Google docs and sign up for a critique. Commit to the date.
  • Commit to writing sprints every first Thursday of the month.
  • Create our own missions statements for the year and share online for greater accountability.
  • Change up our critique style by using Manuscript Magic. Look at big picture items first. Give themes, motifs, goals for the manuscript. 
Another writer friend and member of 12 Days, Beth Gallagher   and I decided we wanted to submit more in 2019. With accountability as a key, we created the Facebook group 100 Rejections Are a Good Thing. Join us and go big in this year's writing rodeo. 

Finally, some folks were inspired to write poetry and share with the group. Derick Wilder reminded us that small steps lead to success with this poem.

The Mighty Teeny Tiny

Teeny Tiny isn’t much— 
shy, timid, brittle.
But Teeny Tiny 
can become,
a Little.
Now Little’s also 
no big deal,
but better
than before.
And if you add 
those Littles up,
you get 
a little More.
More is less
than you would like,
but treasure 
what you’ve got.
Just lay some Mores
and then you’ve got
a Lot.
So dream delightful, 
vibrant dreams— 
make them 
sheeny shiny.
But don’t forget
each begins
with but a
Teeny Tiny
Julie had us end our 12 days with a list of gratitude. The gratitude attitude is one we can all cultivate as we grow into 2019. I am grateful to Julie and all the writers who shared so much over these 12 days. 
"Remember to illuminate your writing life, shine a light on the dark places, but even more, the light places, those where we excel." Julie Hedlund 
As Jane Yolen reminds us in her book Sister Fox's Field Guide to the Writing Life, "The joy is in the process."



  1. Love, love, LOVE this post, Kathy! And Derick Wilder's poem is genius :) Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ty, Eileen. May your writing year kick up some new-found successes. Yes,love that poem.

  2. So many great thoughts to reflect upon as we move forward into 2019, Kathy. To do my best work as a writer, I need to slow down, think about, and understand my writing process.

    May we all become self-reflective writers. Time to cultivate the writer in me.

  3. great post. I like the idea of setting a "rejections" goal... kind of a fun way to back into the 100 submissions thing. Yee-haw! Go get 'em, cowgirl!

  4. Love this post! Happy that you loved "Treasure." I was reading that, thinking, wow, someone else chose the same word! LOL. Love the idea of a FB group for querying...I'm going to check it out! Best wishes for 2019!

    1. Angie, your reflection really stayed with me. I should have asked you first, but I let you remain anonymous. TY.

  5. Ah, thank you so much Kathy. First for your participation and for this post. Your enthusiasm and obvious love for the process made it extra special for me. So I'm grateful for YOU!

  6. Thanks for the great post, Kathy. I especially love the idea of having a guiding word for the year. Since I have a picture book coming out this year called FINDING TREASURE, I think I'll borrow the idea to use the word treasure. I need to take more time to treasure the creative process!

    1. Enjoy this special PB experience and TREASURE it. Congrats, Michelle.

  7. Fabulous post! Fabulous start to the new year! We're out of the gate and ridin'! Yeehaww!

    1. Yeehaw, you and me, Jilanne. I believe 2029 will be our year to grab that brass ring.

  8. YeeHaw! My CP is riding into the year with positivity! Kathy, thank you for this inspiring post. As you know, I have a long ride ahead of me. Your support and encouragement are true blessings to me and mine.

    1. You will ride through 2019 in style and with class. Know you will leave it on an up note, Charlotte.

  9. I love how specific you are with your accountability partner. I think that would work well for me.

  10. I love your pome about Little!

    1. Not mine. all the credit goes to the talented Derick Wilder.

  11. Wonderful recap & post, Kathy! I'm "in" for 100+ rejections this year - let's hope there's an acceptance or two lurking in there, too. And thanks for sharing your crit group's new practices. As my group regroups for 2019, I'll be keeping these in mind. Happy 2019!

    1. Yip that 100 get su closer to the "yes." Happy 2019, Patricia. Hugs.

  12. I love the ideas you and your critique group came up with. 100?I’m working on it! I’ve gotten a few already!! My word for this year is ‘Continue’ as in continue the journey.

    1. Hi, Erik! Onward and CONTINUE. Great word for the year.

  13. Great summary of our 12 Days of Christmas, Kathy! I love participating in it, too. Nice poster. I love how you and Beth are accountability partners.

  14. Yes, it is helpful to have lots of writing friends working together towards a common goal.

  15. Sounds like a great start to 2019! I enjoyed Julie’s 12 Gifts too to get my mindset right for the year .

    1. Hi, Lauri! May your mindset make 2019 a wonderful year for you.

  16. Such a good post to start off the new year. Your ideas are spot on, and I am thinking I really ought to have an accountability partner!

  17. Sounds like you're off to a great start, Kathy!