Friday, January 31, 2014

COSCBWI Meeting January 2014

January is always an exciting time of the year full of new beginnings, including the return of one of my favorite activities: monthly COSCBWI meetings!

In case you didn't know, I'm the Membership Coordinator for the Central and Southern Ohio chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.  (Try to say that five times fast!)  I love going to the COSCBWI meetings and events, and post summaries of them here on my blog for anyone who may have missed attending, or anyone who is just interested in children's publishing topics.  (And I'll also gladly answer any questions people have about joining this great group!)

After a month full of snow and polar vortexes, the group finally got to meet on January 29 for the first monthly meeting of 2014.  COSCBWI always kicks off the new year with an informal meet and greet.  It was great to see a lot of returning members, as well as plenty of new faces, too.  Once we all got to know each other a little better, Regional Advisor, Linda Miller, led the group in a discussion on goal setting.

Making goals is important for writers and illustrators, and the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to do so.  While resolutions can seem daunting at times, creating attainable, thoughtful goals can be very beneficial in helping writers and illustrators achieve their publishing dreams.  Saying, "I'll publish a picture book this year!" puts a lot of pressure on you, but saying, "I want to have my manuscript revised and out to five agents by July," is a bite-size, achievable goal, and a stepping stone to bigger publishing ambitions.

Linda gave the group three goal milestones to think about for 2014:
1) What writing or illustrating goal do you want to achieve by the end of 2014?
2) By June, what steps will you have taken to achieve that goal?
3) By our next meeting in February, what FIRST step will you have taken to achieve that goal?

By creating an overarching goal, then working backwards to consider the little steps you'll need in order to achieve that goal, you end up with reasonable, milestone mini-goals AND a schedule to keep you on track to success!

After the discussion on goal setting, a special speaker came in from the Ohioana Library Association, Librarian Stephanie Michaels.  (Who is also my co-worker, as I now have the privilege of working at this wonderful organization!)  Stephanie spoke about the mission of the Ohioana Library Association, as well as some exciting ways for writers and illustrators to get involved.  While there are volunteer opportunities, such as the yearly Ohioana Book Festival (coming May 10, 2014--mark your calendars!), there are also wonderful book review opportunities.  The Ohioana Library is a specialty library that acquires books by Ohio authors, as well as books about Ohio and Ohioans.  The books the library acquires each year are reviewed in the Ohioana Quarterly literary journal--and you can be a reviewer!  It's a great way for aspiring writers to build up publishing experience for their writing resumes, and there are always lots of children's, middle grade, and young adult books that are available for review.  (As well as books for adults, too, if that's your cup of tea.)  If you're interested in finding out more information on how to become a reviewer, or how to become involved in Ohioana, you can visit the website at: or email Stephanie Michaels at

After Stephanie talked, Linda went over some plans for COSCBWI in 2014.  Plans are currently in the works for a workshop, and (fingers-crossed) another illustrator and writer exhibition.  The new Illustrator Coordinator, Stella Hickman, will be hosting Illustrator Meetings again on the second Wednesday of every month, and the Writer Meetings will be held on the fourth Wednesday of every month.  Unless you hear otherwise, both meetings will be held on their respective days at 7:00 PM at the Upper Arlington Tremont Library.  (Feel free to check the Facebook page or website for updates!)  Lastly, Linda iterated that the most important thing in making COSCBWI successful is YOU!  The admin board would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and hopes for the group in 2014, and encourages you to email anytime!  (Or you can drop a message on Facebook, or leave one here, too!  I'll be sure it gets to the right place!)

While the group website is temporarily down due to some upgrading, be sure to "Like" the COSCBWI Facebook page for updates and news.  I very much hope to see you at our February meetings!  2014 is shaping up to be a fantastic year already!

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