My alternate title for this post was “Hello, long-neglected blog!” To be honest, the more time I spend writing, the less time I have to blog. But in the spirit of all the year-end reviews and resolutions posts, I’ve been looking at all I accomplished for 2015. Sometimes it didn’t feel like much, since my day job writing school and library nonfiction got super busy. I often struggled to find time for my own writing. I hope to strike more of a balance in 2016.
First, here are the stats for my “day job”:
- 7 — the number of school and library books I had published this year including The West (Mason Crest), Amicus’s Freaky Nature Series, and two titles in Rourke’s Devastating Disasters series (Tsunamis, Nuclear Meltdowns). I even got a good review from School Library Journal for Zombies in Nature!
- 12 — the number of school and library books I wrote this year: four for Rourke (Science Tools and Rock Cycle won’t appear until 2016); six for Amicus’s Protecting Our People Series (2016); 1 for Capstone (Countoff: U.S. Special Ops Past and Present, 2016); and one for a classroom literacy program (2019).
- 2 the number of author visits I did in 2015; for 2016, I’ve already booked five days of visits.
Now, here are the stats for my own writing, work not assigned and without deadlines (except those I impose, and I can be a tough boss):
- 1 chapter book finished. I had a concept I loved, but it just wasn’t working for a 500-word picture book. It was a 3-year struggle to find the right form, but it finally ended in something I plan to query in 2016.
- 1 picture book biography polished. I began research for this draft in March 2014, and the book finally came together almost a year later after multiple revisions. It’s even received some good editor feedback. I may query this one in 2016 as well.
- 1 new picture book written. I still haven’t been hit with the necessary bolt of lightning to make this one work, but I think the concept is strong. Hopefully inspiration is coming soon.
46,206+47,147 words written on my YA novel. I plotted the idea during the summer in preparation for NaNoWriMo (November). I didn’t get anywhere near the 50,000 target for the month, but I made good progress. I had hoped to finish my 60,000-word first draft by today. Guess what didn’t happen? My new plan is to finish by Jan. 19, when I start a novel-writing class.
- 2 agent queries, 5 editor queries. I queried several agents in 2014 and received some good feedback (two requests for more work, which ended in polite rejections). I stepped back from querying agents in 2015 realizing I needed at least one more polished picture book draft before querying in earnest. I only subbed as part of conferences (the editor queries) and contests (agent queries).
So, my goals for 2016 are:
- Finish and revise the novel
- Draft second YA novel (yes, another idea is percolating)
- Take classes to improve my novel writing
- Query agents (and hopefully land one!)