Monday, December 29, 2014

Checklist to Achieving Goals by Leanne Dyck

On April 14th, I grabbed my journal and wrote...

1)Summarize your overall goal into one or two focus words.

My focus word was 'keep'
Keep writing
Keep submitting
Keep building community
Keep working on my craft

2)Determine what must be done daily to achieve this goal

3)Take action

4)Record your achievements and celebrate your success

This focus resulted in one of my most successful years -- in 2014 I made 67 submissions.

2014 was a year to flex my writing muscles...

I submitted a play to a on-island play contest and won the right to have my play staged. This was an inspiring process for me. I greatly benefited from working on my play with a group of friends (director and cast).

I accepted the challenge to write a "gutsy" story -- and my story was published on the website and included in the anthology. 
Fellow contributor, Shirley Showalter, has written more about this anthology here.
Buy a copy of the book here.

2014 was a year to build community...

I welcomed 45 guest contributors to my blog -- an edition bookbinder, editors, publishers and authors. You can find their guest posts here. (Scroll down to 2014) Before writing this article I re-read these posts and found quotes. Quotes, quotes, an endless amount of interesting, informative and empowering quotes. I thought I would share a few with you, but picking just a few was very hard -- like choosing one chocolate from a box full or one freshly baked cookie from a plate full.

'I write to honour the courage of those who have met life challenges and rose to be the best they can be. They have sparked the belief in me that when we all rise to be the best we can be humanity will rise to be the best it can be.' - Janet Love Morrison

'Most of [the reasons your book was rejected] have nothing to do with the quality of your writing... Don't let it get you down. Just keep submitting your book until someone reads it who can actually buy it.' - Phyllis Humphrey

'[J]ust because you write a book does not mean you're ready to have that book sell and be published.'
-Mary Buckham

'A person can write beautifully, but if you have no story, it's pointless.' -Java Davis

'I decided then and there that I wanted to be a novelist. What a great life! Write a bestseller, sell the movie rights and sit around a pool in Taos living off the royalties.' -Michael W. Sherer

'[W]aitressing is a perfect job for a writer:  it's never the same, and you get to meet different people every day, observe human behavior, eavesdrop on conversations and hear many stories.' -Ayelet Tsabari

'I love story-telling and it's the lure of a good story that gets me every time.' -Sharon Rowse

'I ... entered a lot of writing contests because it taught me to follow guidelines that publishers demand.' -Leann Sweeney

'I knew I wanted to be an author by age 4.' -Heather Shumaker

'I think the nicest words in any language are "Tell me a story." ' -Karen K. Brees

'Writing for children is important to me because I want children to develop the same love of books I had as a child.' -Darlene Foster

'Having come from a place where writing books was not a valued way to spend one's time, I gained strength from being in a place where books held power.' -Sally Cooper

'This is a marvelous time to be a writer.' -Shirley Hershey Showalter

'I write every day ... Mornings are generally best for me, I'm more focused and energetic then.' -Dietrich Kalteis

'An editor is both an unbiased critic and an unwavering fan, helping you see what is succeeding in your work and what may warrant another look.' -Amy Haagsma, writing on behalf of the BC branch of the Editors' Association of Canada

'I love doing interviews because we are an incredible human race made up of so many entertaining and fascinating people who all have stories to tell.' -Judee Fong

'I dreamed someday I'd make time to write as much as I wanted.' -Teresa Karlinski (Tess Kann)

2014 was a year full of good books...

Voices by Arnaldur Indiridason (thriller)
This was the first book I've read by an Icelandic author and I want to read more.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (woman's fiction)
As I'm in the process of building my author career, I was intrigued by Skeeter's struggles to become a journalist.

'I wonder if I'll ever write anything worth anything.' (p. 104)

Annabel by Kathryn Stockett (woman's fiction)
This was my 2014 Canada Reads pick (the book I felt all of Canada should read)
One of the things that stood out to be is what the author had to say about the differing roles assigned to men and women in eastern, rural Canada.

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn (classic)
I wrote:  How Green Was My Valley is about a family, a community, a place, a culture, a time. But, even though it is nestled comfortably in history, the author's comment on environmentalism is timeless.

Open Secret by Deryn Collier (mystery)
Though the main plot by this B.C. author was intriguing. My focus was on a sub-plot that involves a secondary character.

Madame Zee by Pearl Luke (historical fiction)
After being enchanted by this book, I was thrilled to discover that the author lives on Salt Spring Island (a big sister island to my own island home). For me, it was like discovering a rock star lived next door.

I read The Orenda by Joseph Boyden (historical fiction) and Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese (fiction) back to back. And I would highly recommend this pairing.

The Delusionist (fiction) is the latest offering by Mayne Island author Grant Buday. Talk about finding a rock star next door. : )

My friend and fellow writer Amber Harvey lent me her copy of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (woman's fiction). And I'm very glad she did.

I love fiction and very rarely read non-fiction, but I made an exception with Shirley Hershey Showalter's memoir Blush

Are you surprised that I two Stephen King books back-to-back -- Bag of Bones (thriller) and Misery (thriller)? Well, you probably shouldn't be. Both books feature an author as the protagonist. And did I tell you that they were written by Stephen King?

My favourite quote from The World According to Garp by John Irving is '[N]early everything seems a letdown after a writer has finished writing something.' (p. 170)

Well, I slowly savour books and my bookshelves are piled high, so I'm all set for 2015.

2014 was a year full of posts

The top three posts that I wrote were...

Visiting B.C. (part 1) -- a short story (at 138 page views)
This is the story about how my boyfriend became my husband.
You may wish to read part 2 and part 3, as well.

Reviewing Voices by Arnaldur Indridason (at 125 page views)
A guy in a Santa suit is found dead in a seedy hotel room in Iceland.
Peas, Please (at 98 page views)
This is the story of my parents love for each other and for sharing stories.

I hear you. You want to read more short stories and book reviews. And that's exactly what I'm working on for 2015.

I hope looking back on 2014 brings you a bounty of happy memories. I look forward to sharing 2015 with you.

Sharing my author journey...

I'm indebted to three guides who supported my journey. In 2014 they left me (a born storyteller passes away , celebrating a devoted champion , a tribute to Lou Allin) -- in body, but never in mind.