Tag Archives: 12×12 Challenge


16 Apr

Me and Eva: the light in me sees the light in her.

Whether or not you’re a yoga bear, try sharing this respectful Indian greeting with those who share your creative soul. The meaning of namasté goes beyond its translation of “I bow to you.” It speaks to a recognition of the spark of divinity, the light within each of us. For us aspiring writers and other artists, you might substitute the word creativity for divinity, as they are in fact one and the same.

Julia Cameron calls them believing mirrors, these rare people placed in our lives by a greater hand to help us make sense of our unique journeys. The more I doubt myself, the more I cherish my believing mirrors. They each know just who they are, and I am grateful. They include my sister, my lifelong friend from childhood, the other 4 Chicks, and most recently, the supportive congregation of other sojourners down the path of children’s books, those bravely committed to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012.

To all these and more, I tip my creative visor to you and say:

Namaste. The spark of creativity in me bows to the spark of creativity in you.

12 x 12 Update: Month 2

7 Mar

Usien CCA-SA

Do you ever feel like your life is a 3-ring circus?  I do.  You and I mean this in a world-weary kind of way when we say it, but if we were kids, the circus would be something magical, right?  Well, maybe.

The circus provides the backdrop for my February12×12 picture book manuscript, and for one particular boy, being part of the circus creates a dilemma he must overcome.

I had fun with this one.  The idea began as just a seed I generated in a SCBWI Florida workshop a few years ago.  Finally, finally, I watered it.  It grew like crazy and I actually have something to harvest now.  I’ve shared a first draft with my critique group and now, maybe, just maybe, I will polish it up and send out a few queries.  For the first time in a very long time.

Thank you, Julie Hedlund and my fellow 12×12 writers for the inspiration I needed to finally get this down on paper (or the computer screen).  Two down, ten to go!

12 x 12 Update: Month 1

12 Feb

Credit: MOsborne01 - CCA-SA

Well, I did it.  I beat the 12×12 January deadline and completed a picture book draft by the end of the month.  The trouble is, it stinks.  The concept is good, but the execution is sorely lacking.

I did it in rhyme.  I don’t know why.  Rhyme is not my thing.  I can rhyme, but, well…okay, I really can’t rhyme all that well. I know what words rhyme,of course, but I’m terrible with meter. It was just that the story was about a sassy young girl and a lilting rhyme kind of sounded good.

What I need to do is put it away for a while and pull it out later when I can look at it more objectively.  Maybe I’ll edit it.  Maybe I’ll change it completely to non-rhyming.  Maybe I’ll just put it away again.

It was still a good exercise, no matter what.  Sometimes doing something totally uncomfortable stretches us and makes us even better at the things with which we’re already comfortable.  If that logic holds, I should be really good at something by year end!

Creative Commitment

19 Jan

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.  ~Thomas A. Edison

If I’ve learned nothing else from Julia Cameron through The Artist’s Way and Walking in this World, it’s that creativity actually flows from something not so exciting or sexy: commitment.  Marrying the wish with the will is the only way to make it happen.

So, I recently made a commitment to write 12 picture books in 12 months in 2012.  Yes, I joined 12x12in12, the brainchild of author Julie Hedlund.  As a result of her experience in another picture book writing challenge, she devised this challenge for herself and then invited others to join her in it.  To see more details, click this link to Julie’s blog.

I’m really excited about it but more than that – I need it.  I’m a person who is driven by social commitment.  If I tell someone I’m going to do something, I will work so much harder than I would otherwise to ensure I meet that commitment.  When I fail, I agonize over it.

Joining this challenge seems like insanity since I already have so much on my plate.  Plus, I already have almost a dozen picture books I’ve written previously sitting on my virtual shelf, gathering virtual dust.  Why have I abandoned these children?   Rather than look back and admonish myself further, I’m using this challenge, this commitment to motivate me to create new work and actually do something with my existing work.  Win-win.

I’m still debating whether I should share on the blog any of my 12 attempts this year.  If I decide to do it, you’ll be the first to know.

Monday’s Metaphor: Train for Your Goals

9 Jan

Eva finished her first full marathon at Disney yesterday!

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with metaphors. So how could I not be inspired by my dear Chick’s 26-mile, 5+ hour accomplishment? It’s the perfect start to what I plan to make a regular Monday post, a brief observation of a living metaphor around me that week.

So fellow writers, dancers, quilters, mothers and other humans, take note! We can learn a lot from those who call themselves runners.

The thing is, Eva only claimed this new title a couple of years ago. She was a true beginner. With no credentials. No experience. No promise of success. But she did have a goal: to complete her first triathlon.

In this regard, I think runners and athletes have a distinct advantage over writers. They have clear deadlines. If they sign up for a race, they have to train for it, consistently and in ever-larger increments throughout the time leading up to an impending fixed event.

Chick Peggy recently lured me into a literary equivalent. She and I both accepted the 12 x 12 in 2012 writing challenge, committing along with 250 other aspiring and experienced authors alike to draft one new young children’s picture book each month this year.

Like the other runners encouraging each other along Eva’s marathon route weaving through the various Walt Disney World theme parks yesterday, I’m looking forward to the support and positive peer pressure of other children’s authors. There is strength in the support of those who share your goals. That is, after all, the purpose for this blog. And while we all want to do our best, at the end of the race, we’re really only competing against ourselves.

Once again, Eva crossed another finish line she set for herself. Here’s hoping we writers can live out the metaphor this year with our own goals, not sprinting, but training, encouraging, supporting, pacing and enduring through the process of preparing for and completing our own marathon.

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