12 x 12 in 2012

The Writing Process Blog Hop

Friend and writing colleague Emily Lim has tagged me in the Writing Process blog hop that has been making the rounds. Thank you, Emily! I know Emily through Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 and Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, and now we’re both taking Emma Walton Hamilton’s Just Write For Middle Grade online/home study course. She’s a writer with many books to her credit, including picture books, early readers, e-books, and most recently, her memoir Finding My Voice. You can read more about Emily in the aptly named “About Emily” section on her blog, and I urge you to click on the tags in the sidebar word-cloud to see the extent of her experience and outreach. For my answers to the Writing Process questions, click the magic words…

It’s a Challenge!

Well, if the truth be told, some days getting out of bed in the morning is a challenge — but that’s not the sort of challenge I’m talking about. It’s January, the month in which people challenge themselves to do new things, or to do old things in a better way. That is true for writers and illustrators as well as the general population. In the far-flung writer/illustrator community that I’m a part of, there are several ways to challenge ourselves this month. Note: this list is by no means exhaustive. If I’ve missed something, it wasn’t intentional! If you’d like to add challenges that I’ve missed, feel free to do so in the comments. I’ll write another post mid-year to catch us up with what’s happening.

How I Spent My Summer Blog-cation

I wish I could say I spent my blog-cation doing what this cat is doing. That wasn’t quite the case, actually. 😉 Part of my blog-cation, I was actually BLOGGING. Not here, except for one post, but I did manage a post a week on my new Starborn Revue blog, which is devoted to the performing arts and creativity. (Note to self: summer is probably not the best time to launch a blog.) Most of the rest of the time, I was WRITING. My laptop and I were busy this summer! For a look back at the summer’s writing, and a look ahead to September’s blogging, click on the magic words…

February Accountability Post

I re-read my January Accountability Post to see how I did in adhering to what I had set out as goals for February, and to my relief I found that I accomplished much that I intended. Usually when I do these month-end wrap-ups, I wonder what I could have accomplished if I had worked harder. In February, I think I did work harder than usual (although perhaps there’s still room for improvement) and I did accomplish a fair bit, but had to cut back in some areas such as reading and commenting on others’ blogs. This writer’s life is such a balancing act, isn’t it? Lately, the side of the seesaw on which the writing is sitting is heavier than the blog-interaction side. To get to where I want to go this year, it seems that has to continue, but I will try to keep up the connections I have made. You are all such a valuable part of my life. Okay, let’s take a look at what I did in February and what is on the docket for March, shall we?

January Accountability Post

After wondering if January would ever end, it seems amazing that we’ve nearly reached the end of the month. With the end of the month, of course, comes accountability. How did I do on what I planned to do this month? Perhaps because, to quote the Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne song, “the weather outside is frightful,” I have accomplished quite a bit this month.

What Might the New Year Hold?

Dreams, hopes, wishes, plans — what might the new year hold? When setting forth our goals for the coming year, do we make sure that they are completely attainable? Or do we add a challenge? Do we set the bar so high that we cannot possibly achieve those heights, or do we measure in some realism? I firmly believe that we need to give ourselves something to strive for, something that’s currently beyond our grasp, but that we have a good chance of achieving. Not an assured chance, though. There needs to be some risk involved, as well as opportunity for growth, for stretching of one’s mind and character, and for that wonderful feeling of satisfaction when one at last achieves something that once seemed nearly impossible. As Robert Browning famously said, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” In my 2012 Goals post, I referenced a blog post by my mentor, Emma Walton Hamilton, about setting goals rather than making resolutions. This year, she has used the word “intention” as her watchword as she considers what she wants to achieve in 2013. Both those posts are worth reading. What goals have I set for myself — in my writing life — for the coming year? What are my intentions? What do I want to strive for, to risk and reach for?

The Year in Review

Just a few days left in this year — it’s hard to believe. I’m about to embark on Alayne Kay Christian’s Writer’s Whole Life Perspective life-coaching challenges, and will be starting with her challenge to list 31 achievements of 2012. Don’t worry, I won’t list all thirty-one here! I do want to take a look at the past year, though, and see where it has led. To do that, I’m going to focus on three categories — my involvement in online communities, my blogging, and my writing. Here we go…

12 x 12 in 2012 on 12/12/12 — an End of Year Celebration!

Picture book manuscripts galore! Picture book manuscripts as far as the eye can see. When I signed up for 12×12 in 2012, hoping to write 12 picture book first drafts in 12 months, I really had no idea if I’d be able to do it. It seemed unbelievable to write that many unique drafts, while trying to keep up with revising other manuscripts, blogging, and all the things one does in one’s “other” life. I did it. (I will have at least 14 picture book drafts by the end of December.) WE did it. Some of our 400 cohorts did just a few, some did more than the suggested 12, ALL are successes for doing what they could. So today we’re celebrating. (Click on the image above left to learn more.) There’s a blog party going on all around the globe! When I thought about what I wanted to do on my blog to celebrate this wonderful first year of 12×12, and to express at least some of my gratitude to Julie Hedlund, “the founder of the feast,” in Dickens’ words, I decided that the best thing to do would be to write a story. And so I have done so. In keeping with the tenets of 12×12, it is a first draft. (And as a word of both explanation and celebration, Julie’s picture book app, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, will be released for iPad very soon. You’ll understand why it’s important to know that when you read my story.)

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