2020 Writing/Author Successes

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 2020:

  • Signed up for SCBWI- International
  • Read around 15 middle grade novels
  • Read hundreds of picture books and learnt to critically analyze them
  • Signed up for StoryStorm 2020 and generated 43 fiction ideas in January
  • Signed up for NFfest and generated 19 non-fiction ideas
  • I won a cover letter critique from Adria Goetz. Wow!
  • Won a grant to the Smithsonian-SCBWI conference on Non-Fiction- learnt SO much.
  • Wrote a few NF PB stories – something I had shied away from up to now
  • One of the ideas was a NF PB bio- the subject is alive and a wonderful person- I gathered the courage to reach out and have had wonderful telecons with her
  • Attended numerous virtual/digital writer’s workshops to improve my craft
  • Joined the Storyteller Academy and signed up for three courses
  • Engaged with the #WritingCommunity on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook- nothing like cheering each other on
  • Received likes from editors on two of my pitch party entries
  • Signed with my literary agent, Lynnette Novak at The Seymour Agency
  • Joined two critique groups with amazing critique partners
  • Won a scholarship and attended an MG writing class with Rajani LaRocca at the Writing Barn
  • Formed a critique group with workshop attendees
  • Created Facebook, Twitter, Instagram platforms to promote my writing
  • Was invited to join a Traditionally published/agented Muslim author support group
  • Was offered a column in an upcoming Muslim magazine and signed for twelve months of writeups- thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
  • Bought domain space for my website and learnt the basics of setting it up (this is it!)
  • Read two books on craft
  • Entered Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Words Contest
  • Signed up for a revision webinar by Penny Parker Klostermann
  • Received helpful feedback from my critique partners, new and old, on nine picture book manuscripts- have managed to polish about seven of them
  • Joined Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas for Writers for the first time
  • Signed up for Tara Lazar’s StoryStorm 2021
  • Decided to sign up for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 in 2021
  • Decided to sign up for Renee Latuleppe’s Lyrical Language Lab

Alhamdolillah! That was a fun year.

I also had two of my traditionally published books (one with a Muslim publisher and one with a Pakistani publisher) come out! And did several author visits virtually. I was offered to conduct a mentorship (read story-telling and book-based craft) class with 40 kids from all over America and thoroughly enjoyed connecting with them once a week over the entire term.

I was able to mentor an eleven year old aspiring author and illustrator.

I was able to offer cover letter critiques to three aspiring authors.

I am truly blessed and hope to pay it forward to this wonderful, supportive community!

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