Friday, December 30, 2011

Focus Friday: New Year, New Goals

One Life Dream: To bring 1 Million Books to Gambia (I'm lucky to have such a supportive husband!)
I was all set to *finally* post my goals for 2012, when Kristi Holl posted her latest thoughts.  

Dream bigger, she pushed.

And I realized, looking at my totally "do-able" list of words to write or submissions per month, etc., that these weren't really my dreams for my writing career.  They were things I planned to do to get closer to achieving them.  Things entirely in my control (which I'll still do, but they're not all that I want).

So, today on my blog you get to see me spill all, even though I risk ridicule (or you thinking I'm full of myself in dreaming so big).  But if I only told you the practical things I planned to do for 2012, I wouldn't be telling the whole truth.  There's a lot more to me than word count or blog followers.  And there's a lot in publishing that isn't solely dependent on me - that's why goals are great and dreams are necessary.

So, here's to you, Kristi.  Happy New Year!

(things I can't always control, but will passionately work towards!)

1) To be able to say I like LOVE my current WIP, a YA novel.  And that it's DONE.

2) To snag the elusive picture book agent.  There are three of you I'm stalking.

3) To land my first traditional picture book contract.  Then many more. (Don't get me wrong, I love educational publishers and the work-for-hire projects I do.  But there's a big difference).

4) To hold my very first hardcover, traditionally-published picture book in my hand.  To smell it.  To run my fingers over the amazing illustrations crafted by the perfect artist.  Like Kadir Nelson.

5) To win an SCBWI or ALA award. A Newbery would be nice someday.

6) To see 1 Million Books for Gambia complete its mission in my lifetime.

7) To finally consider myself fluent in Mandinka, Wolof, and Creole.  At least one of the three anyway.

8) To win THE AMAZING RACE. (Ok, so that's not a writing dream but it's always on my mind!)

(things I can do - in the hopes of achieving my dreams!)

1) To finish my WIP (YA novel) - at least the first complete draft - by March 30, 2012.

2) To continue my agent research and attend my first national convention in 2012 as well as attend state and local SCBWI ones.  Since I already have a (small) list of agents I'd love to be repped by, I will simply stalk them until I know how they take their coffee and which toothpaste they prefer.   I will make notes on every agent on my list by August 2012 to see if we're compatible.  And submit to the ones I like before the end of 2012.  And I will not cry when someone tells me that the Agent Fairy isn't real again.

3) Since I write, write, write, and revise, revise, revise - I guess it's finally time to submit.  The feedback at conferences and current contest winnings, etc. have given my the confidence in my work.  I will submit at least two picture books each month to the 'right' publishers (assuming there's an open house accepting unsolicited mss).

3a) I've also decided to join 12 x 12 in 2012.  Those of you who know me are probably rolling your eyes (how many MORE picture book manuscripts could she possibly write...doesn't she have, like, a hundred already?).   The point is, participating will get me to move on to new picture books and actively seek homes for the ones that are complete and have gotten great feedback from authors, editors, critique groups - and most importantly - MYSELF.

4) I'm going to read every book by Kadir Nelson.  In the hopes that one day he'll illustrate something I've written.  No, I don't know him.  Not yet, anyway :)  Just a huge fan.  And all books by my mentor, Lisa Moser.  Once I finish reading their books, however, I'm going to try and read the same number of books I did this year (at least 100).  Reading = better writing.  No ifs about that.

5) I will take the first two weeks of February to review the list of all awards for children's books in my 2012 Children's Market and online at the ALA and SCBWI sites.  If there are any that my WIPs are eligible for, I will apply.

6)  To hold at least 2 book collection events in 2012.  And to recruit at least one other person to travel with me to Gambia (not for this year's trip, but in 2013 or 2014).

7) To speak as much Wolof as I can during Feb-Mar while back in Africa.  To print out and keep with me, my language guides.  To stop reverting to English because I hate sounding like a child.

8) To convince my husband to finally make that video application for THE AMAZING RACE before I leave for Africa in February.

Longwinded, yes.  Sorry.  What are your goals and dreams for 2012?  Comments are open below!


KatieC said...

I LOVE your dreams and goals, Miranda! You can definitely do it :)

My dreams? I want to have LOTS of traditionally published picture books. That is my main focus in writing--I love picture books.

Besides that, I have a couple of "dream agents" I would like to be repped by. And it would be awesome to go into a major bookstore and see my book sitting on their shelf : D

Patricia T. said...

Love your dream of taking one million books to Gambia.How many will you with you on your upcoming trip? I'm in awe of what you and your husband are doing. Have a Happy New Year!

Miranda Paul said...

KatieC - great dreams! Thanks for sharing. I know you'll realize them, too.

Patricia - the books are actually shipped on sea containers. Two containers just shipped, so that's about 44,000 books. Volunteers ( not just me!) will be stocking brand new libraries with the books in Feb and March. Many of the volunteers are Gambians in fac - working for and in their own communities. It is a very great project. Thanks for asking about it and if you're ever interested in joining forces, let me know! We can use all the help we can get!

Unknown said...

You're right - there's a lot more to all of us than word count and number of followers. Great post. I enjoyed your dreams and goals. Dreaming big doesn't mean you're full of yourself, it just means you're full of hope and anything can happen. Good luck!

patientdreamer said...

Oh My! I wish I had seen this post before I posted my thoughts on 2011 and what I hope for in 2012. (see my blog) What awesome goals Miranda. Love the idea of 2014...mmmm. I have your book, it arrived last week and am reading it..... just love it. Now I need to email you interview.

Claudine Gueh said...

Dreaming bigger is important, and that is not being full of oneself. Nope. Never.

I love your dreams here. (I hope you achieve them, especially the PB traditional publications, the 1 million books to Gambia project, and yep, The Amazing Race!)

Joanna said...

This is a wonderfully bold list! I also wanted to say congrats here on winning Susanna's contest!

I lived in West Africa also, but much further east than Gambia, in Togo!

Good luck with agent hunting. I shall also be this year!!

Julie Falatko said...

This is so inspiring! I, too, have been thinking in terms of my "do-able" goals and not about my *dreams* as much. I'm going to write them down too. How will the universe know what I want if I don't say it out loud? (I hope talking to myself about it while I'm running counts, because that's usually how I end up verbalizing my dreams.) (And also probably making other runners on the trail think I'm crazy.)

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