Friday, January 11, 2013

Why I joined the 12 x 12 and a Giveaway!

Last year I jumped into several writing challenges with both feet. Two great ones are targeted to picture book writers.

In November, I completed Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo challenge. But if you write picture books and you want someone nudging and inspiring you All Year Long, that would be Julie Hedlund. Her challenge is the 12 x 12.

Coming up with picture book ideas is hard. Completing the manuscripts. HARD. Sometimes I found myself abandoning a great idea, because more great ideas came along. The competing voices in my head were a tough audience to ignore.

But to complete the 12x12, you had to stick with it. If I had the time, I could work on a hundred manuscripts at once, but I don’t think many of us have that sort of time (or energy!). I had to learn to pick and choose.

Like PiBoIdMo, the 12x12 has great posts on craft and inspiration. In fact, reading (and re-reading) the posts was often the best way to get “unstuck.” My writing problems aren’t new--they're just new to me! The “ah-ha” moments from reading about craft were priceless.

The one twist for me this year is—I’m not dead set on “winning” the challenge. I know, how can I admit that, the horror! But hear me out.
After last year’s 12x12 I have a stack of completed manuscripts, begging for time and attention. And as much as I want to keep writing more—and I certainly plan to keep writing more new manuscripts, and I’m hopeful that I will complete at least twelve—I also believe that my primary goal for 2013 is to separate the wheat from the chaff and get the wheat out to market! That means I need to focus on polishing, revising and submitting.

A completed 12x12 manuscript isn’t necessarily a polished, ready-for-submission manuscript. This became abundantly clear to me as the last year progressed and I went back and re-read the manuscripts from earlier in the year. And it wasn’t just that I am (hopefully!) becoming a better writer all the time. Nope. Manuscripts just need to sit and steep awhile. Getting a critique is great, but it's often only with time that I can really "get" what the critiquers meant. Coming back with fresh eyes is invaluable to me.

If I'm still working on revising last year's manuscripts, why did I re-join the 12x12?
This year, it's BIGGER and BETTER. In addition to the Facebook community there are manuscript critiques and special submission windows to agents who accept picture book manuscripts! Critiquing other writers and having my work critiqued is just what I need this year.

So, with the help of the writing community there, no matter how many new manuscripts I write in 2013, the year’s going to be a success. Hope to see you there!
To celebrate all the help I’ve received on my writing journey, I’m giving away a copy of one of my first publications!

For a chance to win Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul, you'll need to do two things:

 1. Be a follower of my blog
2. Leave a comment with your contact information so I can contact you to  get a "real" address if you win. Remember you can use (at) and (dot) instead of @ and . so the internet gremlin bots can't read your information.

Pretty easy, huh? Don't look back, just do it!
I'll pick a random entry one week from today, on January 18th. Good luck!


  1. Wendy,

    Thanks so much for re-joining 12 x 12. I am SO glad to have you back, and you've described it perfectly! We're all winners because we're WRITING and REVISING. (You know this year you get points toward the monthly prizes for revisions, too ;-))

    I would LOVE to win the book, as I'm a huge dog lover. Congratulations on getting an essay published in it!!

  2. Yay, Wendy. I'm so glad you are blogging. I am only slightly jealous that now I have to share you with EVERYBODY.

    Wheat from the chaff, wheat from the chaff. Love.

  3. I'm in! I love how you call it THE 12x12. Makes it seem so much more special!

    In case I win I'm smoki2(at)aol(dot)com

    I'm feeling lucky! My dog, Cupcake is a blogger, so she's feeling lucky, too!

  4. I'm so excited to have joined THE 12X12 challenge! And you're so right - at times I find myself in such a hurry to send out a ms. Letting your words steep for a while is SO important! Thanks for your words!

    I can be found at harmonee(at)cox(dot)net

  5. Wendy, even with no giveaway, I would have followed your blog anyway! :) But if I win, I am gifting your book to my wonderful neighbor who is a huge dog lover (she has 4 of her own and always took care of ours when we went on vacation) and is also needing some "Chicken Soup" as she's had some rough times lately.

    Thank you!

  6. Wonderful post and yes that is why I have joined again. It's going to be an exciting year in an exciting place. Love this book.

    my name is Diane.