Posts Tagged 'goals'

Yearly Goal Post

I’m so sorry. Puns are my mortal enemies but I couldn’t resist this one. So … this is not only my yearly post on goals but also where I set out my writing goal posts for the New Year. Setting yearly goals is particularly important for writers. Writing is an activity that relies solely on self motivation and perseverance. Goals give us something clear and tangible to work towards – they keep us focussed through the ups and downs.

But unrealistic goals do exactly the opposite. It’s all about setting the RIGHT goals. As writers, so many things are out of our control, so it’s vital to make our goals only those things we can control. Our goals should be the things that are within our power to achieve by the end of the year. No pie in the sky stuff – no goals for nabbing a superstar agent, or signing a six figure book contract, or for your debut to hit the New York Times best seller list. Those things are mainly within someone else’s control, or the universe’s (or whatever you believe).

Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with wanting those things, but I like to think of them as my ‘dream goals’. My current dream goals are for my first picture book, Squish Rabbit, to get great reviews and be a super seller. That’s a lovely daydream to entertain for a moment. But my real goals, the ones I write down and talk about, are more tangible. They look something like this:

  • Goals about specific projects: writing the first draft of a new novel, redrafting a certain project, finishing the final illustrations for a picture book
  • Goals about submissions: in 2007 I chose to submit just to my critique group, in 2008 I chose to target competitions and magazines, and in 2009 I chose to target agents
  • Goals about networking / branding: getting to more book launches or writing functions, developing a website, visiting schools, promoting yourself as a speaker, or my 2009 goal – starting a writing blog *grin*
  • Goals about craft: focussing on the areas of your writing you know you need to develop by reading books on craft or attending workshops / conferences

I have goals in all of these areas. I think I probably always will. How about you?

PS. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night (I’m signing off for the year, but will be back in the New Year, fresh and chirpy and ready to post)

A Very Happy Birthday

Rabbit - playWriters often talk about The Call. That wonderful phone call they got with the news that they were going to be published. I’ve always loved reading those stories. Now I have my own to tell.

I had sort of been warned that The Call was coming. My picture book was on submission in the US, and my Australian agent had said the deadline for offers was on Thursday – we both assumed this meant US time, so translated that to mean Friday here in Oz. So I was prepared. Ready to be cool and calm. Thursday was my birthday, and I had woken up to flowers from my fiance and had just finished breakfast when my mobile rang. A completely unsuspecting Katherine picked it up.

It was my Australian agent with news of offers. It turns out the deadline was actually Wednesday US time, so Thursday here. There was lots of jumping and whooping and dancing and plenty of giggling (I’m an unashamed giggler, but usually only after a few drinks). So I got The Call on my birthday. There really is no better birthday gift. And for the first time, I got good news while my fiance was at home with me, so I had someone to jump around with.

So, I’m now thrilled to say that I have a two book contract with Penguin US (Viking Imprint). I have spoken with the editor there, who is an absolute delight and the kind of editor I’ve always dreamed of working with. She has many years of experience nurturing writers and stories, helping them to be the best they can be. Viking has also been a strong influence on my love of books: they produced many of my childhood favourites, so it’s a lovely feeling that I’ll get to work with them and one day be a part of their list.

I feel like I’m walking around inside a bubble. But I also still feel just like me. Today I’m back in the house on my own, sitting in my office with my puppy asleep on my feet, working away on a novel redraft and my latest picture book project. Still the same girl.

But with a big smile on my face.

Writing Disability

Rabbit - lookIt would seem that when they were handing out self-esteem, I got a dud-dose.  Either that or I’ve got a gland somewhere that’s not working the way it should.  Or I’m just that sort of person.  Anyway, never one to give up, I’ve embraced the fact and had to work on ways to manage such an affliction.

So, I might be talking it up a little, but writing and publishing and the whole shebang is a tough business.  They say you need a dose of talent, a liberal serve of extra-hard-work, and a lot of luck to break into it.  I think you also need to be able to believe in yourself more than anyone else ever will, and to learn how to enjoy the journey rather than the destination.  This has been the hardest thing for me, as for a while there I was completely focussed on where I wanted to be, and not enjoying the things I was achieving along the way.  I can become so goal focussed that as soon as I achieve one thing, I move on to the next goal without enjoying the moment long enough.  A magazine accepts a story, so will they ever accept another of mine?  Finished that first draft, but the story itself is a long way from polished.  This writing disability of mine means I’ve had to learn to consciously pull myself up – or practise what I like to call smack-myself-in-the-head psychology.  Remind myself to sit back and enjoy the journey.  Look out the window.  Smell the flowers and all that jazz.

My writer’s group is brilliant at celebrating every step, from finishing a first draft and receiving a positive rejection letter, to magazine acceptances and book deals.  So, today I’m celebrating all things, great and small.  I’ve nearly finished the first draft of a new novel, the first adventure novel I’ve ever written (and in a quirky voice that I have so enjoyed).  What about you?  I know all of you have something worth celebrating – I’ll provide the champagne if you provide the story.

New Year – New Blog

WineThis time last year I made some writing goals, then toasted in the new year with a feeling that it was going to be a good one for my writing.  This was unusual for me because I’m not usually an optimistic person (especially when it comes to my writing – I’m your typical self-doubting creative).  Now I’m not sure whether it’s because I made these goals and really threw myself into them, or because I’ve now been writing for a few years and things finally started folding together like an emerging origami swan, but it was indeed a good year.

By far the most incredible thing for me was being awarded an ASA mentorship to develop a junior fantasy novel of mine.  I’ve been lucky enough to be working with Kate Forsyth, a superstar in the world of fantasy novels.  At times I have been challenged and stretched and pushed like a piece of writing putty, but I can feel new buds forming and I’m loving every moment.  I’m exactly half way through the mentorship with 6 months to go, and have learnt more in this short time than I could have in years on my own.

So when sitting down to write my goals for this coming year, I really wanted to think hard about them.  And as it turns out, this blog is one of them.  I want this to be a place to talk about all things writing (and occasionally illustrating, as I dabble in that also) – what I’m learning through the mentorship, how stories develop, the daily ups and downs of being an aspiring writer.  There’s nothing I love more than talking about the craft of writing.  Such ramblings will now appear here, instead of happening in my kitchen with my long suffering fiancé (who is undoubtedly sick of me waxing lyrical about characterisation or the dangers of certain plot paths).

So, like millions of others across the globe, I’ll be welcoming 2009 with new goals in mind.  Here’s to another exciting year of writing.  Will you toast with me?

About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:


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