June marks the half way mark of the year and is a perfect time to assess your progress on your annual goals and recommit to ending the year 24 Carrot strong.
We’ve invited the Soaring ‘20s picture book debut group to share their thoughts on how they stay motivated to hit their goals.
A big 24 Carrot Writing welcome to the high flying picture book debut authors and illustrators of The Soaring ‘20s.
I respond well to gamification. Meaning if I turn something into a game or a tricky challenge, I do better creatively and am more productive.
For example, I’ve noticed when I can’t get my kids to act on something they are supposed to get done, setting a timer to see if they can finish fast often makes a big difference. So, I also do this all the time with my own work in big and small ways. Whether my own timer for whatever I’m trying to accomplish is set for 3 days or 3 hours, I challenge myself to do hard things on tight deadlines. This has the added benefit of making me ditch my perfectionist self in favor of the part of me that wants to win the game and finish before the timer goes off. I don’t always make it, but it’s fun to try!
-Kjersten Hayes, author of THE ELEPHANTS’ GUIDE TO HIDE-AND-SEEK, illus. Gladys Jose (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, April 7, 2020)
I am so glad you asked. When I had signed up to participate in this blog post, I had jotted down a quick answer to expand on later: “GO ON SUB WITH WORKS FOR OLDER READERS.” I was making end-of-year goals, like one does, and flippantly imagining my success. Then the universe threw a pandemic at us, and I haven’t even opened the chapter book manuscript I had intended to give wings by now. I had also been noodling with an idea for a middle-grade nonfiction proposal that is still languishing in the back of my brain. So I will revise my goal, in the name of self-care and grace: Just. Keep. Writing. Maybe not every day. But to keep moving forward, and to be OK with whatever I can manage.
— Lindsay H. Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST, illustrated by Junyi Wu (September 1, Albert Whitman & Co.); author of FARMERS UNITE! Planting a Protest for Fair Prices (November 11, Calkins Creek); and co-editor, with Jeanette Bradley and Keila V. Dawson, of NO VOICE TOO SMALL: Fourteen Young Americans Making History, illustrated by Bradley (September 22, Charlesbridge)
One of my writing goals for 2020 is to work on my middle-grade novel.
The first novel I attempted years ago was a Young Adult Historical Fiction. I flamed out at 3k words when I realized I was in way over my head. I didn't know how to write a novel and having to do lots of research made it even harder. A year ago, I came up with a contemporary middle-grade idea inspired by events from childhood - no need to do research! With my picture books, I normally know the plot first and then the characters. However, with this novel idea, it's the opposite. My first milestone is creating an outline since I have to know where the story is going before I can write. To help me with that I’m relying on the following resources Story Genius and K.M. Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel. Wish me luck!
-Darshana Khiani, author HOW TO WEAR A SARI, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (Spring 2021, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books/Versify).
Am I? Sometimes I don’t think I’m balancing it at all. It probably doesn’t help to be under “stay at home” orders and going through a Pandemic.
Seriously, balancing writing and marketing efforts has been tricky, but it’s certainly made easier by keeping my tasks as organized as possible (I use a bullet journal), by having wonderful critique partners (aka friends), and being in a fabulous debut group. We go through lots of ups and downs, but there’s always someone there to pull us back up, keep us moving forward, remind us to breathe, write, read, relax and play!
- Joana Pastro, author of LILLYBELLE, A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS illustrated by Jhon Ortiz (Boyds Mill & Kane, Fall 2020) and BISA'S CARNAVAL illustrated by Carolina Coroa (Scholastic, Spring, 2021)