A year ago, I stumbled on a writing challenge called the 12 Days of Christmas for Writers. This series of daily writing exercises really helped me bring 2016 to a close and plan for the year ahead. I’m doing the challenge again this year and find that it is super-helpful (almost in a cleansing/freeing way) to look back on the year I’ve had to see what has worked, what hasn’t worked, what I should do again, what goals I should focus on, etc.
Today’s exercise is all about sharing successes. Not just listing them on a blank piece of paper, but about really sharing them so that others can help me celebrate, too. Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged those of us doing her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series (BTW: It’s not too late if you want to jump in and join the challenge, too!) to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs/websites today. She believes that New Year’s resolutions, traditionally, come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year. By celebrating our accomplishments, we can set ourselves up for reaching even higher marks in the coming year. So, in order to set some goals later on in the 12 Days series, here is my “Anti-Resolution Revolution” list of accomplishments for 2017:
- Joined Julie’s 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. While I didn’t write a manuscript draft every month, I did come away with several and two that I am very proud of. If you have ever thought about writing picture books, this is a challenge you will want to take! I’m already excited to see what next year brings!
- Participated in Tara Lazar’s Story Storm (formerly PIBOIDMO: Picture Book Idea Month) and generated a tremendous amount of picture book ideas. I keep running lists of ideas from year to year even merging ideas together to form a new idea. It’s amazing what the mind will come up with when one is persuaded to think outside, inside, around, under, and on top of the box all at the same time! Story Storm (which starts in January if you are interested) really helped set the tone for 2017. Storystorm and 12×12, together, make the perfect picture book storm!
- Attended two wonderful SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) workshops in New Orleans and Pittsburgh. The JambaLAya Conference in New Orleans was so much fun that I’ve already signed up for this coming March. Want to join me? I’d love the company!
- My husband and I formed Spot on Safety LLC this year. Both of us have backgrounds in safety education/training and are looking forward to 2018 when we have more time to contribute to it. No logo yet, but our beloved pooch, Cole, is the inspiration behind the name and the logo. (RIP Cole!)
- The hubster and I had two very unexpected trips pop up this year; one being the vacation of a lifetime. In August we spent 10 days at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, just a few short weeks later that area was devastated by Hurricane Maria. When Tara Lazar offered Skype critique sessions in exchange for donations to reputable hurricane relief organzations, I JUMPED (literally jumped out of my seat and ran for my purse) at the chance! Her manuscript critique that followed was wonderful and some of her suggestions have found their way into other manuscripts. If you’ve not read any of her work, “Oh slippery slush!” You’d better get started! (He work is as hysterical as she is!)
- Ambassador International, publisher for both of my picture books, has been incredible to work with from the very beginning. They’ve recently started a Story Time series on You Tube and invited me to share Firefighters’ Busy Day. What a hoot that was to create! I’m very self-conscious so hearing me read my story take after take was quite an adventure. If you are looking for something entertaining to watch; here ya go: Story Time with Maria Bostian
- Of all the things I did this year, I’m most proud of exceeding my goal of reading 375 picture books. To date, I’ve read 412 picture books and 14 chapter books including the entire Twilight Series and my favorite book of the year, The Hate U Give by the phenomenal Angie Thomas! Be on the lookout! Some of the books I’ve read this year are going to find their way to this blog site in 2018! (Stand by for more info!)
2017 has been a remarkable year of highs, lows, self-imposed valleys, nooks, and crannies, but it has also been a year of baby steps, jumps, waltzes, and giant leaps of faith! I’m glad I took an opportunity to write down my accomplishments and share them with you. Won’t you look back at your year and see what you accomplished, too? If you do, I’m sure it will help you set yourself up for a terrific 2018!
Enjoy the last few days of 2017 and have a very Happy New Year!
*** Feel free to share a link to your successes/accomplishments or just list them below!