Last January while my husband and daughters skied during a New Year’s family vacation, I opted to stay home and grab a few quiet hours to myself. I wrapped up in a blanket, made a cup of hot cocoa, and sat down in our rented condo to pen my writing goals for 2008. The list was ambitious. I planned to:
- write a weekly column for a suburban edition of my hometown newspaper, The Oregonian.
- write a column for Christina’s e-zine, Writers on the Rise, which had me interviewing agents and editors every other month.
- submit queries to The Oregonian for additional writing assignments.
- write book reviews and author interviews for my Web site, MotherDaughterBookClub.com.
- finish revising a book proposal I was working on for a mother-daughter book club guidebook.
- send out my proposal and have it accepted by an agent.
I knew I’d be squeezing in every spare moment between volunteer commitments at my daughters’ schools and leading their Girl Scout troops. But there was something about getting it all down in print on January 2 that felt hopeful too. The year stretched before me, and I felt that anything was possible. It was exciting and frightening at the same time.
Almost a year later I look back and see how many of my goals I reached, and how many more opportunities came up that I didn’t anticipate, all because I reached my other goals first.
As planned, I wrote my weekly column for The Oregonian, and the editor assigned me other articles even without a query. I interviewed agents and editors for Writers on the Rise, and near the end of the year Christina invited me to edit it in 2009, while offering me a column in her new publication, The Get Known Groove.
On my Web site, I began offering promotions, because publishers recognize that my readership is an audience they want to reach. So now my readers have more reason to visit my site. I also started a quarterly newsletter for mother-daughter book clubs, and began having more interaction with my readers across the country. A by-product of the greater recognition was being interviewed with my daughters for an article in Family Fun magazine.
I also revised the book proposal I was working on, adding in the bits about my increasing platform. This led to my biggest writing achievement of all this year: Landing an agent and who brokered a book deal for me with Seal Press in October, to write Bonding Through Books: Your Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs. It’s due out in 2010, and now I’m writing and learning so much along the way. The time I spend writing has increased dramatically, and I feel that the quality of what I write has improved along with my productivity during the year.
A new year is just around the corner, and I’m already itching to sit down soon after January 1 and write my new list of goals. Where will they take me this year? I’ll finish writing the book for sure, and start planning to promote it. I’ll continue to write for The Oregonian and start with The Get Known Groove while editing Writers on the Rise.
Where else will writing take me? I can’t wait to find out.