Welcome to 2016!

new-years-day-2016-5637619880820736-hp2xWell, we’re a week in–how is 2016 treating you so far? It was rough coming off a semi-break (you’re rarely totally “off” when you run your own biz), but I have a lot to look forward to this year, both work-wise and writing-wise. What follows is slightly bragsplanitive, but I’m trying to be better about the grossness that is self-promotion. After that though, it’s all totally aspirational, so if you’re not interested in how I pay the bills, feel free to skip down to “Writing” and see what makes me cry in the shower! I jest, I jest…mostly…

Work: In February, Marvel Press publishes my next reader, Falcon: Fear of Flying. Later, in the spring, I have several new short stories publishing in Marvel’s Spider-Man Storybook Collection. Further ahead, new projects for Grosset & Dunlap and Penguin Young Readers, as well as essays in an upcoming LIFE project. I also have a bunch of fantastic new copywriting projects coming up this year. Those projects are harder to talk about–sometimes they are locked down by an NDA, other times there’s just no specific public-facing element to which I can point and say, “Check out this thing I did!” For example, marketing consulting, social media campaigns, or catalog copy–all sort of invisible to the public, but just as important to my business as the showier projects.

Also new this year, I’ll be joining the Children’s Media Association as an event coordinator. The CMA is, by far, one of the best professional organizations to which I’ve belonged, and I’m excited to take on this new, more involved role within the group.

Writing: As of August 2015, I’d submitted ZERO short stories for publication in my life. By the end of the year I had four new stories and 14 rejections under my belt, two of them personal. I know that might sound like splitting hairs or Pollyanna-ing the situation, but personal rejections are extremely encouraging and often very helpful in pitching that story elsewhere. Behind the rejection section* is the more exciting news–I’m writing my own short fiction again, FINALLY. I love short stories and it feels good to work in that format again.

“But, didn’t you just mention you sometimes write short stories for work?” Yes, technically that’s true and I know it seems like I’m splitting hairs again. But for work writing, although the stories are my own, the characters are not. Also, at the end of the day, it’s the client–not I–that must be happy with the final draft. That said, all those stories (all my projects, really) have taught me something new about writing and storytelling–it’s one of the many reasons I love what I do.

All this brings me to my writing goals for 2016. If I’m ever going to be able to add a “Fiction” tab to this site, I’ll need specific, actionable goals.

  • A query-worthy draft of my novel by May  (this may still be too vague, I’ll work on breaking it down further)
  • At least six new short stories (written and submitted for publication)
  • Begin the agent query process (I can’t say “get an agent” definitively–though I’d like to–there are just too many factors outside my control. What can I control? Getting on that crazy train and committing to riding it as long as necessary–woohoo?)

That’s it for me. Whatever your goals are for 2016, I’m rooting for you!

* I’m writing lyrics to a song called “Rejection Section,” sung to the School House Rock classic, “Conjunction Junction”–wait for it!

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