Bonne Année 2012 – What are you dreaming of?

For all my adult life I have written very concrete goals each January and for the most part, the process of setting them in print and revisiting them regularly during the year, has seen many of these goals, partially or fully achieved during each twelve-month period. Of course, the more the goal is dependant on others, the greater the challenge of success. But when it depends on me, and is measurable and quantifiable, then all is possible! Goals are not meant to be a bind or burden. We should be aiming for our dreams; that which bring us joy and hopefully equip us better to bring our small contribution to the universe! I believe setting goals, which enable us to fulfill our potential, cannot help but have positive impact on others and I know we all hope to be a source of blessing to those along our path this year.

The number is irrelevant, and the format. Maybe you will create just one goal, to meditate on the word PEACE daily or to choose to live in the ‘now’ of each moment, such goals can be as powerful as a list of twenty targets that don’t spring from your true yearning to become more  who you are this year.

I share my writing goals with you below and would love to know some of yours. My more personal goals are for my journal, and one or two will carry over from last year as they are still on the way to completion. You see, I am not wallowing in any sense of failure that I didn’t sign them off last year. My goals are guideposts to light up the path, but not so prescriptive that I can’t take the alternative route when the whim takes or a slower pace, if needs be!

  • I am in a life-changing phase at the moment and since December recognized the need to pick up my personal journaling again, to process all my feelings. Not least of all because I think some of this could be fodder for a book I have in mind. I want to continue this through 2012.
  • In 2011 I aimed to write poem a month. I managed 9, which thrills me. This year I shall continue, but with the goal of reading more poetry (at least an anthology per month) and actually LEARNING more about this art form.
  • I started writing last year and have 6 picture book manuscripts and 1 chapter-book at various stages of editing and readiness! This year I am doing the 12×12 picture book challenge, so plan on doubling my output of PB’s, but with the same focus on quality! I want to rewrite that chapter book too, after Kathleen Duey’s input.
  • This will also, consequently, be the year for starting to submit to agents. I already have my sights set. I would rather be focused and disappointed than random, defeatist and lacking boldness.
  • Mentorship in some form or another will continue its importance for me this year. I want to be the best possible writer I can and most definitely recognize the need for input from those much further along the road.
  • My author’s platform needs work! After ten months of blogging I need to work on creating more uniqueness to my blog. Part of this will come with more inspirational writing as I believe I need to develop this gift.
  • I need to work out what forms of self-promotion I am comfortable with. I realize my discomfort about many approaches is quite European, but am unsure how much I have to break out of these cultural norms and how much to work within, to pursue my goal of authenticity!
  • I want to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to the kidlit community, especially those I know well and will get to know this year, through blogging, the Hub and social networking to exhort, inform, learn and build friendships. This is challenging as we all want to cast the net wide and build a following, but I don’t want to become impersonal in so-doing.
  • I want to go for new writing challenges this year and ensure I don’t stay within my comfort zones. I have just started to write in rhyme and want to pursue this as well as other untried forms of writing.
  • I plan to submit to uTales this year.
  • I also want to keep up with technological changes and publishing trends in children’s publishing in this fast evolving field! I think one key to this is following people in the know, such as Emma Dryden and Harold Underdown.
  • Enjoy every step along the way.

If you had to choose one word to sum up 2011 for you, what would that word be? Mine is Authenticity – this has been true of my personal life and I hope it is also true of my writing life; I sure want it to be.

I am writing this from a cozy Manhattan café and am contemplating the next 365 days with great anticipation. Follow your dreams, dear friends.

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22 Responses to Bonne Année 2012 – What are you dreaming of?

  1. Thank you, Joanna, for such a well-written, thoughtful, and inspiring post.

    After some consideration, I think the word that best sums up 2011 for me is Expansion — expansion of dreams, goals, experiences, self-image, courage, inner strength, life-possibilities. On January 1, 2011 I had no idea of the myriad of new experiences and connections that I would be part of during the year. Looking back, it was truly an astonishing year. (I have to admit, with a wry chuckle, that I rather wish that word “expansion” didn’t also refer to my waistline.)

    I, too, have decided that a return to journaling is important. How I wish I’d been keeping a proper journal over the past year.

    My first goal, before all else, is to get my new blog up and running so that I can share my writing goals with the world!

    All the best to you as you pursue your goals for the year. I’m glad we’re on the journey together!

    • Joanna says:

      What a great choice for you this year Beth. I have no difficulty in agreeing with you, and it is a word with application in so many realms of our lives. Can’t wait to see the ‘new blog look’!!

  2. I love the word authenticity – I use it often – in my teaching, in my conference presentations, in conversations with a few people. Yet each time I share about this experience and what it brings forth – I always find something new and something refreshing about it – such that it never gets hackneyed or overused. Another word that I use in parallel with authenticity is ‘congruence’ – the way that Carl Rogers, a phenomenologist/humanist describes it: when how you feel is mirrored in how you think, what you say and what you do. That’s more challenging than it sounds – and I feel this is what captures fleeting fragments of forever – when one remains congruent and one remains authentic. 🙂 Happy New Year, dearest Joanna!

    • Joanna says:

      Aha, Myra, trust you to match me and raise me one! A beautiful partner for authenticity, indeed! Actually, congruence almost takes it a step further. I love how you always challenge me to think deeper! Happy New Year, dear friend!

  3. Hmm. One word. The first one that popped into my head — full. My 2011 wasn’t overwhelming or anything, just enough for me and my family. Lots to do in 2012. I wrote out a list of 12 things for my blog. It includes finishing my memoir manuscript, reading a book that’s long been on my reading list and a few other items too. I appreciate the fact that not marking something off last year’s list is not a failure. I agree 100 percent. Have a great day (and year)!

    • Joanna says:

      This is a word ripe with thankfulness, Stacy, thank you for sharing it. I shall pop over and read your blog. I’m very behind my blog reading with the traveling 😉

  4. Hannah says:

    I like the word you choose. I can’t think of anything better than authenticity. My word for 2011, would be a hyphen: white-knuckle. With four kids five-and-under, I spent most of my days and nights caring for little people. Now that my twins are almost one, I’m looking forward to a more relaxed 2012!

    • Joanna says:

      Hannah, all I can offer is my huge admiration for even manage to blog and write with four kids under five… you are of course keeping Mum about your supernatural powers, to do al this 😉 Wishing you a smidgeon more relaxation in 2012!!

  5. “Authenticity”… now the only other word that comes to mind when I saw that word is…JOANNA. It is most definitely you my truly unique, valued, dear friend. I loved all your goals and as Stacy said… appreciate the fact that not having achieved some from the year before is not deemed a failure, a mere realigning.
    Gosh my word I surpose would have to be…”Confidence” . For this time last year I wasn’t sure I wanted to share my thoughts and life with others, especially my writing life, yet I started a blog, and joined the Hub. Who would have thought I would end up at the LA Conference, and compete in these writing challenges. My writing also has gone from strength to strength. Yes when I look back I am very proud that I have managed to build my confidence up …look out 2012!
    Thanks for a very thought provoking post Joanna.

    • Joanna says:

      I like this picking a word, and am enjoying each person’s choice. Truly, your confidence has increased with giant leaps, this year, Diane, and you should be rightly proud of this and all you have achieved! There’s no holding you back now!

  6. Susanna says:

    What a wonderfully thoughtful and articulate post, Joanna. I really enjoyed reading it and it’s gotten me to think about what I hope to accomplish. I really like your thought about goals being guideposts to light up the path rather than something prescriptive. That is such a positive way of looking at goals. I guess my word might be something like control or organization or discipline. I feel like 2011 was scattered, and as a result I didn’t accomplish as much as I hoped to. Maybe my word is focus. That sounds more positive. I want to have a bit more of a plan to help keep me focused and so I can measure what I achieve more easily and see progress. Yes. I think my word is focus or progress!

    • Joanna says:

      Focus rings well, Susanna, and I am waving it as a banner with you for the beginning of this new year. If you managed to achieve all you did during a “scattered’ year last year, woah, I am in anticipation of what a focussed year will bring forth for you. A very Happy New Year, friend.

  7. A very thought-provoking post Joanna. It was so heartfelt and sincere! It’s been fun watching my friend blossom this past year. I can only imagine what you will do next year. Happy is the first word that comes to mind — I may not be making any money, but I’m had so much fun last year! But, I recognize that there are words that come to mind about thing I really need to work on in the coming year: focus and courrage to put myself out. Wishing you a very happy New Year!

  8. Joanna says:

    Happiness is wonderful, Pat, what we all hope for in a year. Your new writing pursuits are giving you and us such great fulfillment, what can I say, but, MORE, for 2012!

  9. Well said, Joanna! Wow, I am jealous-a Manhattan cafe? I was in a Buc-cee’s convenient store in Wharton, Texas on Jan 1-not really comparable! 🙂 I agree that setting goals while giving yourself the freedom to change the pace is the healthy way to go. I have big dreams and I believe the time to pursue them is now. However, as life is never predictable, I will “go with the flow” so to speak while remaining accountable and productive-I have no idea what that will equate to by the end of the year, but I am excited to begin the journey! My word for 2011 is “inspired.” I feel very blessed going into 2012.

  10. Joanna,

    These are some of the most specific and honorable writing goals I’ve seen so far. I love the phrase that goals can be “guideposts to light up the path.”

    Life takes twists and turns, and being too myopic can lead to missed opportunities.

  11. Joanna says:

    Thank you, Julie.

  12. What a great post. I especially liked this line, “I would rather be focused and disappointed than random, defeatist and lacking boldness.” That’s good advice for all areas of life — not just writing.

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