Starting the Year Off Write

Badge_StartTheYearOffWriteIt’s one thing to set a bunch of goals for yourself.

It’s a whole other thing to set up an action plan to lead you into achieving those goals.

I’m good at the former. For example, my writing goals this year are to publish a picture-book, complete (and publish?) one of my two novels, and get an agent.

But really… I’ve had those goals for the last couple of years.

I even invest in achieving them each year, by attending conferences and workshops and staying connected with critique groups.

But this year, I’m Starting the Year Off Write.

That’s write.

I mean, right.

I’ve jumped into a challenge to kick-start 2014.

What’s the challenge?

Each day an established author will provide a writing exercise for you to complete.  If you complete the exercise and comment on that day’s blog post you will earn an entry toward the prize drawings.

Today is day two.

And they’ve already been two very productive days… days in which I’ve further improved my craft of writing. I’ve already written a basic draft to a new story, and tightened up an already polished one. HELLO?! Imagine what the other 19 days are going to do for my writing this year!

I’m excited.

And I’m inviting you to join! It’s not too late! You can even win prizes! Though, the ultimate prize is the 21 days of writing prompts that will have driven you and I forward in our goal-achievement.

But I’m not done there.

I need to sustain the momentum beyond January.

SOOOOooooo I’ve also joined:

12-x-12-new-badge12 x 12 2014. This challenge follows me for the next 12 months. “If you join, you will be encouraged and supported as you attempt to write one picture book draft a month, AND to revise one and submit one manuscript as additional, optional goals.”

Yes, please! This is exactly what I need to keep me writing a new manuscript each month, and submitting each month. You can join this one too! Registration ends on Friday, February 28th. With it, you get an entire year of support, encouragement, and resources.

I’ve also added Rate Your Story to my list of supports for achieving my writing goals this year.

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Rate Your Story is something I’ve used in the past to gauge the quality of my work. The service has improved and offers way more resources. I’m excited to get constant professional opinions of my work all year long.

And, as a reward to a writing contest I won this past year, I’m also in the process of completing the Writing Character-Driven Picture Books. At the conclusion of my class, I will get professional feedback on one of my stories from Marsha Diane Arnold.

I think it’s going to be a good year!!! I’ve gotten such great feedback from critique partners… now it’s about fine-tuning this skill and finding the agent and editors who will love my stories.

Are you in? What is your plan for achieving your goals this year? I hope you’ll join me at Start the New Year Write, Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 2014, Rate Your Story, or Writing Character-Driven Picture Books!



ReviMoButton-Logo3Just because I didn’t have enough on my plate (HA!) I went ahead and joined ReviMo as well… it’s only one week long (Jan 12-18) but the challenge is to do some substancial revising EACH day. I just couldn’t pass it up. And already, day one, finished off one of my manuscripts! Off to subbing I go! It’s too late to join for prizes, but you can still follow the great posts and revise!

Picture Book Idea Month – The Best Time of the Year!

Picture Book Idea Month… or PiBoIdMo (Pee-Bow-Id-Mow) as most affectionately know it… is one of my favorite challenges OF THE YEAR.

Maybe of my life.

Well, parenting has been a fun challenge too.

Anyway… every year for the past two years (this will be my third) I have participated in PiBoIdMo, hosted by none other than Tara Lazar (one of the most inspirational and coolest women and writers I know). Truly. Get to know her. You’ll feel normal.

There are quite a few reasons that I take the challenge, share the challenge, and keep writing.

PiBoIdMo is an entire month (November) dedicated to the art and craft of writing for children… with a guest post daily from someone in the kidlit field: other authors, agents, editors, illustrators. These posts have been inspirational. They’ve sharpened and given great directions to my own writing.

Real life people sharing real life stuff about the real life grueling work of writing.

I end each post motivated to keep on keeping on… because everyone with some level of success has been just where I am. And I know it because they spend every day of November reminding me.

And I love it.

Not only that, but if you’ve been in children’s writing at all you’ll know what a tight-knit, supportive community we have with one another. PiBoIdMo, I find, brings out such a spirit of camaraderie and support from everyone who gets involved… whether it’s conversations on Twitter, Facebook, or the comment sections of the various blogs. I’ve walked away from this event with more than just ideas… new friends!

PiBoIdMo feels like a digital home for me. Familiar faces. Friends and “Family” – getting together for a family reunion of the best kind… where we all leave better artists, writers, and people.

Then there is the challenge itself… come up with a new picture book idea every single day. I’ve never failed. Some are really crummy. Many are pretty darn awesome (if I don’t say so myself)… and my currently completed, critiqued, and home-less manuscripts (searching desperately for a home) have all been ideas spawned during this month of idea-forming intentionality. Which also goes to say that my first official traditionally published book will likely be an PiBoIdMo idea.

How simple! One idea a day! Some days I have a bunch… and some days I’m asking my kids for a good idea (hence numbers 15 and 27 on my PiBoIdMo idea list from last year).

I hope, one day, that I can be the same kind of encouragement that Tara and her crew are to so many people… a writer with a little bit of experience who can say, “Guess what, y’all! You’re normal! Keep at it!” To be the motivation at the end of a day that spurs another artist to go one more day, week, month, year without dumping their hard work and precious stories in the bin with all the rejection letters.

That being said, in the spirit of the generosity and resourcefulness of PiBoIdMo (which starts November 1st, with sign ups on October 24th) I have included links to the past three years of PiBoIdMo guest posts. There is such GREAT information in each post, each November… that you could probably put it all in a book and have a very handy “How to Keep Writing” manual… (idea Tara?) So in your free time (ha!) feel free to go back to those years and see what it’s all about! And if you’d like to jump in to this year’s challenge, go to and sign up on October 24th!

PiBoIdMo- November 2009 

PiBoIdMo- November 2010

PiBoIdMo- November 2011

PiBoIdMo- November 2012

You can also view my list of PiBoIdMo participants on Twitter!

Rejecting the Rejection… With a Form Letter

This is for my friends who are working so hard that rejections are flying in through mail, email, and text messages. I received two last week myself. (The following has been adapted from here).

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your letter of November 2, 2011. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal of my project for your publishing program at this time.

This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of publishers, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite your outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting writers, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore, I will send you a signed contract for my manuscript with your publishing house. I look forward to seeing my book in print by next Fall.

Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.


Marcy M. Pusey