Goal-Buster: Sheri McCrimmon

Last Tuesday was April Fool’s Day!

jeremys first day at soccer made a goal 9_7‑13

Lucky for you, this is today…and I’m not fooling when I tell you we have a special GOAL-BUSTER guest…my dear friend, Sheri McCrimmon.
I met Sheri at a local SCBWI meeting in Colorado Springs two years ago. It was a Sunday…I think we sat next to each other…we chatted and exchanged manuscripts for critique…and that night I emailed her with a request to drive me to Denver very early the next morning…and she immediately said, ‘YES!” You don’t find many people who would do that.
Sheri is an amazing woman, true friend, talented writer, spot-on critique partner, active participant in the kid lit community…and a sweetheart for agreeing to share her goals for 2014 and her plans for reaching them.
So, without further ado, except for a big thank you, here is Sheri!

Sheri photo
Vivian, thank you so much for the invitation to share my writing goals. This has been such a helpful exercise for me! I hope that it will be helpful to others as well.
Sheri’s Writing Goals for 2014:
1) Have 10 polished books in submission circulation by year’s end. (As of March 15, I have nine ready).

A. Write and send query/cover letters using what I’ve learned with the help of Mira Reisberg’s awesome picture book class (and free webinars) at the Children’s Book Academy, 12 x 12 resources and lots of googling. (As of March 15, I have one picture book out to two different agents, another to one agent and yet another to two agents). This process is more terrifying and slower than I had hoped, but I am moving forward.
B. Continue to revise, revise, revise. . . with the help of my awesome critique posse, 12 x 12, Rate Your Story and any other great opportunities that may arise.
2) Write at least one new PB draft each month. This has become a habit thanks to 12 x 12.

3) Revise two PB drafts each month.

A. (See 1B).
B. Hone my craft by learning – reading, taking classes, going to workshops and conferences, etc.

4) Spend at least one day every other week (or more) in filing/organization. (My workspace tends to look like the scene of a criminal tragedy). So far, this is an epic fail. (As of March 15, I have spent maybe three days total organizing). As I write this, I think I need to “schedule” time for this.

5) Practice an attitude of gratitude. I am so very grateful that I get to do what I love! However, I can be easily discouraged by the dreaded rejections and not reaching my self-imposed goals at the “prescribed” time.

A. I combat this by keeping a gratitude journal. I try to write at least one thing I am grateful for each day. (I am over 1,000 at this point). When I am feeling discouraged I go back and read my entries. This helps me keep a hopeful attitude. (Vivian is listed numerous times ).

B. Remember my audience. Children matter more than words can express. My ultimate goal is to nurture healthy spiritual, emotional, mental and physical development.

6) Give back to the writing community.


A. Do my best for my critique partners.

B. Offer helpful links and information through social media.

C. Offer encouragement as time allows through varied venues

Thank you so much, Sheri! I know you’ve inspired me to be more organized…just the way you listed your goals and plans shows me a better way to do mine…which are usually on little scraps of paper all around the house. I love the idea of taking one day every other week for organizing files and writing papers…disorganization actually creates more stress…and we all have enough of that already, right?

I’ll throw this question out to everyone…what’s your number one way of keeping tabs on your story ideas…notebook, computer file, shoe box…?

Note to parents: although these goal-buster posts are written by writers with mastering the craft of writing and getting a book published in mind…the way they approach setting and reaching goals can apply to anyone…even kids. Parents can give their children a head-start by encouraging them to set goals (remember the goal charts that can help very little kids reach for certain milestones like potty training and getting dressed by themselves? Well, the skill of setting goals and planning the steps needed to reach them is even more important as kids get older.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever - Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (PomegranateKids, March 15, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, Feb 13, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, May 1, 2019); MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020) picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my young grandson.

Posted on April 6, 2014, in Goal-Busters, SCBWI, Sheri McCrimmon and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Love this post, Vivian! Kudos to Sheri for having such organized goals and already having accomplished so much! As for me, I’m in the tiny-scraps-of-paper-all-over-the-place camp. Sigh. I have lists EVERYWHERE. And story ideas scribbled on anything that remotely qualifies as a writing surface. Alas, none of it is organized. Organization is my goal, but I haven’t made much progress. On the other hand, I have 11 new mss in various stages of completion to near-completion… some of them with lists and new story ideas scribbled in the margins because after all, they are a convenient writing surface when spread out all over my kitchen table 🙂


    • Susanna…they do say that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 🙂 Obviously, your system works amazingly well for you….we are all in awe of your books, your blog and of course, your breakfast bonanza of chocolate delights you provide us with. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by…glad you like the post…Sheri is an amazing person…I’m so fortunate to have connected with her. 😉


  2. Stacy S. Jensen

    Sheri definitely meets her goal of helping her critique partners! She is awesome! My office looks like multiple crime scenes. Most of my work is on the computer and backed up via email. I have a lot of papers I need to get under control. Good luck with the submissions Sheri!


    • We are totally fortunate to have Sheri as a crit partner…no doubt about that, Stacy! And you make me feel better about my paper trail…I finally went to Walmart and got several rolling draw bins…only $10 each, three draws, a surface on top to put things, rolls like a dream…so at least everything is out of sight when I am not working. 🙂


  3. Sheri sounds like a very organised person. My filing, and organising my space is well, lets say I start out with enthusiasm and great intentions until something happens and I gather everything up and put it in a pile somewhere else and eventually I have files and papers everywhere. Good luck with your submissions Sheri. I especially love when she said helping her critique partners. That’s near the top of my list too. Thanks Vivian for introducing us to Sheri.


    • I am so blessed, Diane…I have the two best critique groups in the world…Sheri is in one of them…and you are in the other. How lucky can a girl get?

      For years I would get cardboard cartons and pile everything in them. I have so many of those now..stuck in tthe basement…I wonder what great stories are languishing there.:) Organization does help…but I think it is a skill they don’t teach in school…but they should. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed meeting Sheri!


  4. Sheri, good for you, it is so exciting to see your progress. I have just had a HUGE organize, which was one of my goals and have written a new PB MS each month so far, which wasn’t a goal as I am having a hard time just keeping up withe the MFA work!


    • Joanna…thanks so much for stopping by…with your MFA work, I’m not sure I know how you are finding the time to hop around and comment…but it is much appreciated. 🙂
      Glad you are keeping up with pb writing…and now that you are organized, how about coming over and helping me. 🙂


  5. These are great tips. I especially like scheduling a time for organizing and filing as it can get out of control pretty quickly. And a gratitude journal- what a nice idea!


    • I love Sheri gratitude journal also, Iza…it’s a great idea because, as in every business, there are days when nothing seems to go right. How wonderful to have a place where you can read and remember all the good moments. 🙂


  6. I’m organized, but not as organized as you are. Great suggestions. Sheri sounds like a genuine critique partner. You are fortunate, Vivian. Thanks for introducing us to Sheri.


  7. Catherine Johnson

    Wonderful interview, ladies! Setting goals is so important. We all have off days and wonder if we should go get a paying job so having a to do list is great to keep us motivated.


  8. Excellent interview and very helpful tips, Vivian and Sheri!
    We miss you in Colorado Springs, Vivian, but it’s reassuring to learn that Sheri is here!


  9. This is great advice! You are lucky to have such a good friend Ms. Kirkfield! 🙂


  10. Great goals to have! Congrats on having 9 stories ready!


  11. Sheri McCrimmon

    Hello, everyone. Thank you all for your lovely comments :). Timing is everything, I am making daily trips to Denver and spending a lot of time there – My mother had a brain tumor removed (it wasn’t cancer), but she is in need of intensive rehab and we are hunting for a facility (lots of help from the hospital). It is consuming all my time and energy at the moment. Keep writing! 🙂


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