1. FOCUS! I printed a sign that reads "Focus" and it's hanging on the wall in my new office to help keep me on track. Last year my focus disappeared and I had my very first case of writer's block. I'm doing better now, but I'm still not where I used to be when I could simply open the file and the words would pour out. Today I am going to make a bigger sign.
2. Read more. My to-read pile has more than two hundred books in it. I keep buying books and put them on one of my shelves and look wistfully at them. Today I am going to pick one off the shelf and read the first chapter and try to read one more every day.
3. Recommit to picture books. Fourteen years ago when I started writing I wanted to be a picture book author and illustrator. When the third one I started turned into a novel I embraced the longer format and scoffed at the idea of writing picture books as too hard write and too hard to sell in this climate. Well, last year I wrote two new picture books and fell in love with them all over again. I have no desire to illustrate any more, but today I'm hosting the first meeting of a new picture book critique group and have a new story turning over in my head.
4. School Visits: Now that I have some middle grade books coming out and have done a few classroom visits at my daughter's school I want to get a powerpoint presentation done, write up a brochure, and send out to schools. I will not work on this until I hand in my next two books, but today I added to my list of "visit" ideas on my bulletin board. "I held a cockroach" certificates for brave children who over-come their fears and embrace the creepy-crawliness that are hissing cockroaches.
5. Critique Group: My novel group has gotten really out of sync. We used to meet every month without fail, but people got new jobs, schedules got difficult to plan around and by putting off meeting month after month all of our writing has suffered. Today I will email my group and set a permanent date each month that we can plan around with no excuses.