A Bright Shiny Year Ahead

Well hello, dear fellow Children’s Writers and friends,

This glorious wet and windy day seemed like, the perfect day to pen a very late January or a somewhat early February blog, I’m not sure which and honestly have no desire to decide. That’s the thing with January in the writing world. It’s neither here nor there, it’s either your opportunity to write and edit prolifically while you have some ‘extra’ time or your chance to rest and reflect and plan for the year to come. I chose a bit of both, mainly the latter. That does not mean I have rested on my laurels (seriously, where does that saying come from?) no, on the contrary, I have organised my personal and professional lives (yes, like many other KidLit writers I have more than one of these) and what’s particularly good about this year is that I have already put many of these plans, strategies and good habits into practice.

On a personal level I have begun to budget, my shell-shocked husband at first skeptical, is quietly optimistic this might actually last. On a professional level, I have planned, timetabled and set in motion several programs I will be running amongst the parents, adolescents and children in my parish. With much thanks to the previous Sacramental Coordinator, it hasn’t been too onerous a task.

This being one of three ‘jobs’ I will have this year I have colour coded (pens) my home (and for that matter, work) diary to reflect what each of these require of me, particularly when and where I’m meant to be on any given day.

I have also developed a fun new way to keep myself accountable both in my home and creatively. I’ve colour coded creative and decluttering time and it’s a simple little joy to colour in or otherwise decorate, what I’ve achieved in these areas each day. My aim is to colour in at least one; write, draw or de-clutter colour (sometimes more) for five days of the week (pencils, crayons anything bright!) The other two are my full 9-5 working days and besides we all need a break even from the creative stuff we love and definitely from cleaning!

So why all this detail? Three reasons; one to touch base and fill you in, two, to possibly share an idea/tool you might find useful and three to keep me accountable. It will certainly be interesting at the end of the year to share my 2020 Year in Review in the light of these plans and changes. A very good old Uni friend of mine, once (or twice 😆) called me the most organised, disorganised person she knew. You see I’ve always been brilliant at setting up for something, but as life happens my beautifully organised desk, room, space becomes a creative mess that only I can navigate, making delegation impossible and me often, give up. This year though I have my trusty Shining Year Life Goal’s Workbook by Leonnie Dawson by my side and well as some tried and tested methods of organisation in my arsenal to refine and use and like my husband, I am quietly optimistic of an amazing year of creating not just in the cracks but in all areas of my life!

Wish me luck as I do to you fellow travellers,

Savour the quest,


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My 2019 in Review

Dear Fellow Children’s Writers and friends,

What word would you use to describe your 2019? Hopefully some variation of ‘good’, although realistically I know this cannot have been the case for all of you and I can only hope that 2020 is kinder to those of you who didn’t have the best 2019. For me, I would have to say my word for 2019 has been full!

Full of work, both writing (unpaid) and teaching (I’m a casual, so this varies) not to mention home, family and community work too!

Full of learning and growth, full of friends

and books.

Full of illness, no photo, who wants that? I had the flu shot for the first time this year and that coupled with a longstanding and possibly *ahem somewhat neglected *ahem condition left me riding an exhaustion vs determination rollercoaster. ‘Who can afford to be sick, there’s too much life I need to be living right now?’ (New attitude, possibly a result of a double figure birthday last year) Full of family. Full of opportunity and full of gratitude and determination to make 2020 even better, but perhaps a little less frustrating.

To enable this, I’m completing Julie Hedlund’s #12daysofChristmas again this year as and for the first time Leonie Dawson’s #MyShiningYear2020Life Workbook (pic) to give thanks and let go of 2019 and welcome in dreams, goals and plans for 2020. I came up with two full pages of Successes in my 12 Days of Christmas reflection and although these are only meant to be writing related, I’m adding in a couple of non-writing related ones and not sharing the whole detailed list, because as I said, 2019 has been fabulously, frustratingly, fantastically, ‘familialy’, fatiguingly, festively full!


3 writing festivals (one online)

3 plays/musicals/concerts

5 Courses (one a mini course)

at least 10 book launches


Emerging Writer’s Group at The Children’s Bookshop, which was so full of wonderful speakers, camaraderie, ambition, assistance, critiquing and opportunity to meet and possibly even make some wonderful contacts within the industry.

4 writing related Facebook Groups


A short speech at the CKT Festival about the CKT Critique Group

A workshop on Junior Fiction at Eastwood/Hills FAW for which I also set and judged the monthly competition

The words of Western Sydney Writers, myself included, over a megaphone as part of Hasta Bella Vista by Tina Havelock-Stevens

My poem, Hope at ZineWest Word


18 mss (some to more than one publisher) received interest in 4 of these

At least 8 of these for critique or ms assessment at CKT Critique group, FAW EWG and with the wonderful Amelia McInerney who I cant recommend enough for her thorough, insightful, accurate, positive and reasonably priced assessment service

2 grant applications for myself and assisted in the preparation of one for our Duckie leader, Jen Storer


The Duck Pond Facebook group with the help of my five other ‘Mods’ colleagues


6+ competitions (didn’t keep track, whoops 😬)


52 Week Picture Book Challenge 2019-2020 completing about 3/4 of prompts so far


2018 12 Days of Christmas

52 Week Picture Book Challenge 2018-2019 with 52 new PB stories or fleshy ideas under my belt! Woohoo!


At least 10 CKT Critique Group stories and many more at EWG and FAW


With the help of my incredible family, hosted 52 family and friends at our house, plus teed up OS calls for my Dad’s 90th birthday!

Christmas for a much smaller portion of the extended family just 4 days later exhausted 😴


A new (paid) position as Sacramental Coordinator in my Parish

The opportunity to write a spiel about the benefits of being part of the Duck Pond and learning from Jen Storer. Now up on her website as part of the testimonials for the courses she offers


many cousins and old family friends, Parish families,

many, many writers and professional authors


A new way of presenting my work at Festivals, courses and the like


Far too many medications, clothes…. and books….. if there is such a thing 😉

Well that’s it for me, for 2019 fellow travellers. Wishing you a full, productive, happy, hopefully cooler and wetter, fulfilling 2020!

Savour the quest,


Posted in Networking, Organisation, Submitting For Publication, Work/Life Balance, Writing Conferences, Writing Groups | 2 Comments