12 Days of Christmas for Writers- Year 2

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list for 2022:

I stuck with 12 x 12 for another year, and joined other 12 x 12ers on CrafterNoon CrafterZoom, a fun and funky monthly Zoom meeting where writers do something other than writing, while chatting and catching up. I decided to use that time to sketch and draw. One month, I made a necklace, which is another hobby I enjoy as much as writing. This is a fun way to meet people from all over the world and learn how they find the time to write.

I got several critiques from Katie Davis in the Writer’s Block. Katie keeps me honest! I love her blunt commentary, and while I didn’t have as many manuscripts to submit towards the end of the year, I still learned a lot about first drafts, using words well, and how to get to the point of the plot. I will continue this in 2023.

I participated in NaNoWriMo for the second time, in November. My book: part 2 of a memoir. More details on that later…

I joined SCBWI for the first time, and even found an in-person critique group and met with this group a few times. It was fun, exciting, and scary. Isn’t it always that way when you put your words in front of other people?

I called myself a writer. Every day.

On to 2023: I will: continue with 12 x 12 for my third year; join CNCZ when I can; keep subbing and seeking critiques; continue with SCWI; call myself a writer – every day.

I will keep writing.

Ho! Ho! Ho! The 11th Annual Holiday Contest Is HERE!!!

Here is my entry into Susanna Leonard Hill’s fabulous contest:

Go Green for Christmas

            “Due Monday- Go Green for Christmas contest entries,” said Mrs. Denton. “First place is fifty-dollars. Recycled materials only.”

            “Fifty bucks?” Jake shouted. “I’ll take it!” Everyone laughed.

            “Psst! Sam!” Jake whispered. He held a note.

             “Not now, Jake,” Sam said.

            Jake wasn’t the best listener: his note flew onto Sam’s desk.

            “My house. Tomorrow morning. To create the WINNER!”

             “I …work for my mom on Saturdays.”

             “I’ll be there!” Alex said.

            “Sam, breakfast!” Mom said.

            “Do I have to help you collect garbage today?”

            “Yes. Junking is how I get supplies.” 

            “Most artists buy supplies, Mom,” Sam said.

            “I’m not most artists. I’m The Junk Lady- ‘Making Garbage Artfully Useful.’”

             “Look at that!” Mom said fifteen minutes later. Her pick-up truck was soon filled with construction cones.

            Mom turned left. “Doesn’t Jake live on this street?”

Sam crouched down. Maybe Jake wouldn’t notice him.

             “There’s your friend now.”

            Alex stood in Jake’s driveway.

            Jake burst out of his house.

             “You made it!” Jake said.

             Alex snickered. “Your mom collects garbage?”

             “Uh…yeah,” Sam said.

             “Go ahead, Sam.” Mom said. “I’ll manage alone today.”

             Mom hit the gas. A cone fell off the truck and landed straight up. Jake threw the basketball to Alex.

            Alex missed.

            Sam ducked. The ball settled on the cone.

            “Wow!” Alex said.

            “It’s a…funky Christmas tree,” Sam said.

             Jake opened the recycling bin. “Just needs decorations.”   

            “Being The Junk Lady’s son is pretty great,” Sam said Monday, as the principal placed a blue ribbon on the tree.

Pressing the “Send” button

Well, it’s been a quiet week-end in my house. If this sounds a bit like the beginning of a Garrison Keillor monologue, perhaps its because I just finished reading his latest Lake Wobegon novel The Lake Wobegon Virus. And reading Garrison’s writing, with its simple storylines and understated humor, always inspires my own writing.

As the leaves sprinkled the still-green lawn, I spent time submitting three short stories, two to one magazine, called Kaleidoscope, and the third to another, called Soul Fountain. I tweaked my query letters, neatened up the manuscripts, and pressed “Send” three times. It’s a good feeling! (Even if I didn’t rake one leaf to the curb.)