Welcome to a New Year: 2016 Word - and Goals and more...


Welcome to a New Year: 2016 Word - and Goals

I am a goal person. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while (or know me) realize that. So, even though some folks like the idea of "just" picking a word for the year - it doesn't work for me.

This is my third year with a one word theme. I strongly recommend it. My 2015 word, "closer," definitely kept me moving this past year. And I am extremely excited to see what God does with my word for 2016. And what word would that be?

TRUTH 

There are 217 verses in God's Word with the word "truth" in them (NJV). In addition to trying to keep the word at the forefront, and keep my actions, thoughts, and emotions in line with God's many truths, I will spend 2016 reading, studying, and taking notes on each of those verses and attempting to apply them to my life. I can't wait to see what God does!

And now to goals for 2016. After reviewing my 2015 goals, I have come up with the following:

Life/General Goals 
  • Eat Healthier: drink more water, eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer sweets
  • Get house organized and sorted, concluding with a garage sale
Writing Goals 
  • Writing or editing my children's writing a minimum of an hour each week 
  • Read and take notes on at least 300 new to me, and published in 2011 or later, picture books
  • Participate in: ReviMo, ReFoReMo(?), Kidlit Summer School, PiBoIdMo, Debut PB Study Group, at least one class or additional challenge, and my in-person critique group
  • Use RateYourStory at least twice
  • Have at least one picture book manuscript ready for submission
So - there you have it! Happy New Year - and I'd LOVE to hear your plans for 2016!

DO YOU PICK A WORD FOR THE YEAR? WHAT IS IT? HOW ABOUT GOALS?

 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
     
 


2015 - Looking Back

I know - I haven't blogged much this year. But it doesn't mean I haven't been pressing forward. And it's good to acknowledge progress, right? So - here I am, doing just that.

At the beginning of 2015, I set some goals - and picked a one word theme. And, as I generally do around this time of year, I am going to look at them and see how I did.

What were they, you ask? Well, here you go - straight from my first post of this year:

  • Complete at least twelve picture book rough drafts
  • Do substantial revisions on at least six picture book manuscripts
  • Do at least one specific, relatively substantial, thing to improve my children's writing craft each month (e.g. take a class, read a craft book, participate in a picture book-related challenge, get a substantial critique, etc.).
  •  Work on a picture book manuscript for five minutes or more at least five days a week the vast majority of weeks.
 And how did I do?
  • I did NOT complete twelve rough drafts. I would say I managed five or six - but my focus changed a bit later, so I am fine with that.
  • I definitely worked on revisions more this year - though I probably only did five substantial ones
  • January was ReviMo, February was creating and submitting a PB pitch to a blog for feedback, March was ReFoReMo, April RhyPiBoMo, May working through a good portion of a craft book, June I think I skipped, July and August were Kidlit Summer School, September I skipped, October was a one-day children's writer's conference, November was PiBoIdMo, and December I skipped (unless something substantial comes up in the next 48 hours or so :::r:::). So - nine out of twelve months. Not bad :)
  • I went through my little calendar just now (I put a "w" every time I wrote a PB, and a R when I revised) and I did one or the other five times a week 35 out of 52 weeks, with the VAST majority of the rest either four or five days. I am pleased, for the most part.
And - my one word last year was "Closer" - and I feel like it was "a success." It helped keep me focused on making progress in a lot of areas.

So - there it is :)

Watch for another post in the next few days on my word and goals for 2016.

How was YOUR 2015?


My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
     
 


Precious Cargo - a 5th Annual Holiday Contest Entry

Yes - I know I have neglected my blog. This is my first post since April, but when I saw Susanna Hill's 5th Annual Holiday Contest, and checked out the topic, I got an idea immediately - and posting the entry on your blog is kinda part of the process. See the rules - and the other contributions - at her blog. But the basics? 350 words or less, holiday themed, and with a specific first several words (or variation)

So - I got the idea when I looked at the post Monday, but I didn't get it finished until (literally) just now. I hope you like it. (And just FYI: "Chaim" - the Hebrew word for "life," is basically pronounced "HI-yum" - but combined into one syllable)

Precious Cargo

by Joanne Sher

Grazing near the hitching post behind The Belthlehem Inn, Chaim the donkey searched in vain for a water trough. People? Everywhere. Hay? Plenty. But water? Nowhere.

Chaim stretched out his back, working the kinks out. Not only had he traveled all the way from Nazareth, but he'd had precious (and heavy) cargo on his back. His rider was going to have a baby, so he'd tried to walk smoothly and gently, but now his muscles ached.

Chaim dropped to the ground and scratched his back against the brush. “So much better. Now where can I get a drink?”

Fumbling as he attempted to rise, the donkey spotted a small building off in the distance. “Looks like a stable.”

Chaim strode toward it, his tongue sticking to the roof of his mouth. He sped up as he heard rustling inside, but as he approached, his eyes widened. Human voices? A giggle?

Chaim's ears perked up. He knew those people. But why were they in the stable?

A high pitched wail rang through the stable walls, then ended. As Chaim walked in, he smiled at its source.

His former rider and her husband, standing over a water trough – and inside, a newborn baby wrapped in cloths. Chaim inspected the little one, rubbing up against him and sniffing his tiny fingers. The baby responded with a sigh, and his mother with a rub on Chaim's back. Chaim stuck his dry tongue out in the hopes of a few drops around the child in the trough. Again, nothing.

“You won't find any water here – just our precious baby.” Mary smiled and gazed down at the infant.

The donkey let out a dry cough. Joseph carried a small bucket and placed it under Chaim's nose. “For you, my donkey friend. I am afraid we have been busy since we left you.” He and Mary chuckled.

As he lapped up the water, he heard another strange sound.

“An angel told us to come here to see the Savior.”

Chaim gazed at the shepherds in awe. He had been carrying precious cargo.

**

Hope you enjoyed the story - be sure to stop by Susanna's post and see all the other amazing entries!

 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
     
 


Come On, Rain! Perfect Picture Book Friday

Here's this week's fabulous pick for Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday. And, by the way, fabulous is NOT an understatement. And it is an "older" one (well, older than current, anyway) that is well worth reading.

Title: Come On, Rain!

Author: Karen Hesse

Illustrator: Jon J. Muth

Publisher: Scholastic Press, 1999, fiction

Age Range: 4-8 years

Theme/Topics: city life, heat, rain, relationships

First Spread:"Come on, rain!" I say, squinting into the endless heat.
Mama lifts a listless vine and sighs. "Three weeks and not a drop," she says, sagging over her parched plants.

Synopsis (from Google Books): Come on, Rain!" Tess pleads to the sky as listless vines and parched plants droop in the endless heat. Then the clouds roll in, and the rain pours. And Tess, her friends, and their Mamas join in a rain dance to celebrate the shower that renews both body and spirit. Through exquisite language and acute observation, Karen Hesse evokes this refreshing experience, and Jon J Muth's lyrical artwork perfectly reflects the spirit of the text.

Resources: A read-aloud lesson and paired text questions for this book are here. Kids could also make up their own rain dance, and talk about the differences between wet and dry, the water cycle, and what needs rain to grow.

Why I LOVE it: The language. The imagery. Absolutely masterful. This is truly poetry in prose. Lyrical, lovely, and magical. And, of course, the artwork is also gorgeous (just look at the cover!). A wonderful picture of urban life, diversity, longing, relationships - and so much more. I talk a lot - and this one had me speechless for a good amount of time. (and I just saw this one has already been put on the PPBF list a few years ago - but I can't resist reminding folks of it!)

Hope you'll give this book a look - and check out the OTHER perfect picture books for today at Susanna's blog - and Susanna's ever-growing list of wonderful picture books



My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
     
 

Don't Turn the Page! - Perfect Picture Book Friday

Here's this week's fabulous pick for Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Don't Turn the Page!

Author: Rachel Burk

Illustrator: Julie Dowling

Publisher: Creston Books, 2014, fiction

Age Range: 3-8 years

Theme/Topics: bedtime, rhyme, story within a story

First Page: "How about a bedtime story?" Mama asked.
Sami shook her head. "I don't want to go to bed. I'm not tired yet."
"All right," said Mama. "Why don't you pick out a book to read later?"

Synopsis (from Amazon): Like most children, Sami puts off going to bed for as long as possible. But reading a story about Little Bear's bedtime ritual inspires Sammy, just as the young reader will be inspired by this soothing story and clever book-within-a-book concept. A bedtime book that both parent and child will relish reading one more time, Don't Turn the Page! features a surprise ending that reinforces the sense that it's bedtime for everyone.

Resources:Rachelle Burk has several activities to go along with the book (including coloring pages, a maze, and creating your own "bedtime buddies") at her website. Check them out!

Why I LOVE it: It is SUPER creative. It's a bedtime book that is actually calming - AND fun (VERY hard to do!). The illustrations are beautiful. The book within a book is sweet. The kids' delay tactics are SO typical. Mama is clever. The end is cute. It's lovely. What's NOT to love.

Hope you'll give this book a look - and check out the OTHER perfect picture books for today at Susanna's blog - and Susanna's ever-growing list of wonderful picture books

 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
     
 

More Recent Articles

You Might Like

Click here to safely unsubscribe from "Joanne Sher, Christian Children's Writer."
Click here to view mailing archives, here to change your preferences, or here to subscribePrivacy