Author Archives: anndeecanndee

About anndeecanndee

I write books. Sometimes. Mostly I just throw up words.

The Difference Between Dreams and Goals

The Difference Between Dreams and Goals

by Kathryn Purdie

Another January is here, and writers everywhere are making resolutions for the new year. “I’m going to get an agent! Sell a manuscript! Hit the New York Times Bestseller’s List! Win a major award!” Easy there, writer. Those sound like dreams, not goals. The difference between the two is vast and important, but both are vital for success.

Dreams give us passion. They are the driving force necessary to pursue our goals. Dreams help us get back on our feet when we experience setbacks. But while dreams are powerful motivators, achieving them is almost always beyond our control. After all, we can’t make an agent or editor invest in us, force readers to buy our books, or demand critics to enjoy our work. What we can control, however, is accomplishing specific writing-related goals, which will hopefully move us closer to realizing our dreams.

As far as the realm of traditional publishing is concerned, writers should only be pursuing goals within two categories: education and writing. Why? Because no one can take away what you learn, and no one can take away the words you write. They are the only goals you and you alone control. The chart below lists suggestions for goals within each category.



This January and all throughout the year, make those vision boards, dream big, and keep your passion alive, but find satisfaction along the way through accomplishing goals YOU can control, and remember SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

Happy New Year, writers!



Kathryn Purdie is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the BURNING GLASS series (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins) and the forthcoming BONE GRACE. She lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and three children. Kathryn is a trained classical actress who studied at the Oxford School of Drama and was inspired to write her debut trilogy while recovering from donating a kidney to her older brother. In her spare time, she loves playing guitar, binge-watching TV, and devouring Peanut Butter Oreos. Find her online at


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Dear Friends

December is a wonderful black writing hole for me. Everything stands still and nothing gets done and things are merry and bright and there’s lots and lots of chocolate. I am now back to real life, thank goodness, and school starts tomorrow! Yay!

A few good things:

  1. I got noise cancelling headphones. This means I will be wildly productive.
  2. I’ve been reading more than ever (but not writing) and I listened to an interview with Elizabeth Strout, one of my favorite authors, who had these pieces of advice for writers: a. don’t stop. ever. And b. read beautiful sentences. She says reading good words and sentences and books is like eating good food. It gives you energy and strength and makes you feel better.
  3. Someone at church said this: momentum is more important than destination. I believe this!

With that, my goals:

  1. Finish a draft by the end of January of WIP.
  2. Write a little, even so so little, five days a week.
  3. Read. Read beautiful sentences and books.
  4. Listen to beautiful sentences and books and podcasts. You can get a lot of professional development and learning done by searching for podcasts from your favorite writers and artists. There is so much wonderful education on the internet that you can be taking in as you DO THE DANG DISHES!!!! And I believe it makes me happier and more motivated when I am filling my heart with things I need.
  5. Be happier. Be more patient. Spend more time outside in the mountains. Meet new people. Be kinder.

Those are so easy right? Are they attainable? Maybe. I’ll adjust as Carol suggests. I’d love to read yours too. Hope your year is off to a great start.


Love Ann Dee

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Merry Christmas Day 4

Today, make a list of all the things you know about.


Chocolate Whole Bag Eating

Bike Riding



Hot Air Ballooning

Jump Roping

Black Licorice


Wasting Time



UTA Busses

Sitting in piles of laundry




Forgetting important things all the time

The list should go on and on and on and on. All the things you can think of. As you write, each item should bring up even more ideas and and those ideas can each be a limb of your brainstorming tree with many many smaller branches and twigs and leaves coming off, each labeled with names and faces and scenarios and ideas. See if one branch burns brighter than the others. Maybe that is your next book.

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Merry Merry Christmas! Day 2 & 3

Hello Friends.

Today we cut down a Christmas Tree! And we’re reading Christmas books! And listening to Christmas Chronicles!

For your writing exercise today (Day 2) do this: Write the last page of a novel set at Christmas time. You can take characters you already know and use them or you can end a brand new book. Either way, try write a finale before you write anything else. It might be weird. It might be cheesy. But you should try it anyway.

For tomorrow, Sunday (Day 3): Write a gratitude letter. To your partner, to your son, to your grandma, to your teacher. Write one from a character in your novel to another character in your novel. Write one to your critique group, to your mailman. Write one to your best friend. Maybe write one to yourself, for all the good things you’ve done this year or perhaps write one to God, an appropriate writing gift for the first Sunday in December.

Much love.

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Merry Christmas!!!

Today is the first official day of December and as a Christmas gift to ourselves and to you, we are going to post a writing challenge each day.

Day 1: Write for ten minutes about your mother. What does she look like? What does she talk like? What does she like to do? What does she talk about? Does she drink Diet Coke on the back porch? Does she love to go to the library? The movies? The beach? What was she like when you were little? Did she read to you? Yell at you? Make you finish your fish casserole? If you could tell her anything right now, what would you tell her? If you could take her anywhere right now, where would you take her? If she was a character in a book, what would be the thing that drives her? What does she want more than anything else in the world? And what holds her back? What are her flaws? Who does she love? Who does she confide it? How does she use her time? What does she do when things go bad? Does she ride bikes? Does she eat cotton candy? Does she live in Florida in the winter? On a cruise ship (people really do live on cruise ships)? Is she gone forever but actually not gone at all? Write about your mom. Not for your mom, but about your mom. Write it without worrying that she’ll read it. Write it without worrying you might get it wrong or right or anything else. Just let your fingers fly and see what happens.

Merry first day of Christmas.

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There is strong contingent of researchers, dietitians, therapists and other medical professionals who believe that dieting is harmful to health. Instead they emphasize how important it is to listen to your body–to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satiated. They talk about honoring your hunger and rejecting the idea that you had a good or bad day based on what you did or didn’t eat. This movement is called intuitive eating. 

I am now going to say what I have been feeling lately about writing. I think it should be joyful. I think it should be something that pushes me and makes me try new things and brings me fulfillment. I do not think it should be painful (at least too painful) and I do not think it should be competitive or results-based (if the only results that matter are publication or making a million dollars or making it on subjective lists). I also believe it should not be soul sucking.

Am I wrong?

Can writing be intuitive? Can it be something that feeds our souls? Brings us the kind of happiness that comes from creating something beautiful and personal and honest?

I know that there is a reality to the business of art–the reality of making money, the reality of needing to market, the reality of putting food on the table. I also know that there is value in doing things we don’t want to do, pushing through, butt-in-chair. There are also things like revision if you love drafting or drafting if you love revision.

Intuitive eating doesn’t say eat anything you want. They don’t say binge on Twinkies all day. They say, re-evaluate. Eat and enjoy. Exercise for fun. See what it feels like to move your body–doing the things you love. If you don’t like running, swim or dance or hike. Don’t base your value in whether you ate a doughnut or not. But also be curious and evaluate how your body feels when you do eat things that don’t give you adequate energy or that weigh you down. Practice making choices that will bring you happiness

Does writing bring you happiness? Do you love it? Do you write things that matter to you? Do you find joy in the struggle? Do you place your value in how a piece or manuscript does? Do you support other writers? Do you push through when things get hard and keep trying but at the same time, let yourself have breaks and not feel guilty if you didn’t write for a day or two or 34? Do you laugh while you write and cry and try new things and send things out and then breathe through rejections and then talk to someone you love about it and then laugh and do it again? Do you celebrate when things go well? Do you lay on the grass and stare at the sky? Do you yell your biggest dreams to the wind on the top of mountains? Do you love yourself no matter what? Published or not? Finished a book or not? New York Times Bestseller or not? Never write again or not?

I say write for joy.

Also, you can tell me I’m wrong.


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Dear Friends

I have recently been reading a lot of adult novels about sprawling families. They start out small and then the characters get older and become adults and have children of their own and life gets . . . complicated. And sad. And overwhelming. And the adult kids aren’t such great friends and they don’t get along with their parents. There are regrets and mistakes and betrayals and all the things that make literary fiction a lot to take on.

As I’ve been reading these books, which are beautiful, but heavy but really beautiful, I’ve been thinking, is life joyful? Do families survive? Are parents always ruining their children? Will my children go to therapy and talk about me? is that okay? What does hope mean? How do we get through hard times? Why is connection so difficult? And so important? And sometimes, does it feel safer to isolate than to be vulnerable and real and let your heart get stomped or maybe loved but maybe stomped?

I also have been thinking about what a refuge it is to read hard things and then work through the mistakes and sadnesses on a couch in the sunshine. To feel not so alone because other fake but so real people are going through a lot of the same things I am. To see futures and try to understand what I want and don’t want. To see that healing can happen and kids are resilient and happy and true. I love kids.

I love kids.

I love that they get to feel things so deeply but also play so hard and laugh so much and get hurt all the time and scream if they get hurt. SCREAM!!!! They get to scream and yell and run around live so fully in the grass and on the tramp and in the dirt. They get to wonder at the praying mantis and touch a snake and then SCREAM!!! They get to feel love fully and truly and they get to forgive so much better than I do. They get to cling and whisper and skip and dance and I love them.

I always want them right here with me. I always want to draw with them and try to learn how to not get mad at them because they SCREAM and they eat all the peanut butter and steal the chocolate chips and put on mustaches and capes and jump from the couches and live their life and SCREAM!!!!!

I’m glad to be an adult but oh how I love the kids. Oh how I want to be like them and learn form them and be like them and SCREAM!!! whenever I want to and people still love me and hold me.

The End.


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