I’m generally of the opinion that New Year’s Resolutions are a waste of time. You know the drill: make a hasty resolution at the end of December that this year, by gum, you WILL finish your manuscript/picture book dummy/query letter and submission packet, etc., repeat it to yourself as you raise your glass of sparkling cider at midnight, focus for approximately nine days, and by January 10, you’ve already “failed.”
You could google how to make and keep resolutions. The results will provide lots of practical tips on how to reframe everything. They need to be measurable goals, with concrete steps you take over time. You have to create a game plan for how you will get yourself back on track when you stumble. And you need to remind yourself that there’s no such thing as perfect because you will stumble, blah blah blah.
But none of that provides you with what you really need: motivation.
That, my friends, is where I come in. After years as the SCBWI Michigan mentorship coordinator, Ann Finkelstein has stepped back for a well-deserved retirement from the position. Before she handed over all the files, Ann spent several months working with me to get me up to speed. So now, I am happy to share with you details of your newest New Year’s Resolution motivational tool: the 2023 Picture Book Mentorship.
For 2023, we have two picture book mentorships available. The first will be with our own Leslie Helakoski, author of over a dozen picture books, including the upcoming When the Rain Came Down (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2023). If you are familiar with Leslie’s work, you will know she loves lyrical word play. So it should come as no surprise that Leslie will be mentoring a lucky member with their verse picture book. You can find out more about Leslie on her website.
Our second mentorship will be a prose mentorship with Kim Rogers, whose debut PB, Just Like Grandma, will be released in January 2023, and already has a starred review from Publishers Weekly and is getting great advance buzz. She has two more upcoming PBs, one scheduled for summer 2023, and a NF PB bio scheduled for winter 2024. Kim also a short story and a poem included in the anthology Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids. Check out her website to learn more about Kim and her projects.
While our schedule is not yet set in stone, you have plenty of time to whip your manuscripts into mentorship-ready condition. In spring, we will share the full schedule, including the submission window (currently planned for the summer), when announcements of the winners will be made, and when the mentorships will begin (currently planned for fall). Also keep an eye open for mentor interviews on The Mitten blog.
If this doesn’t provide you the motivation you need to find a critique group, take that online course you’ve been eyeing, or dust off the manuscript of your heart, then perhaps your resolution should be for someone to give you a good swift kick in the behind to get moving!
In the meantime, you can keep tabs on the mentorship by checking out the SCBWI Michigan mentorship page here.