Joining a writing community can be one of the most important things that you can do as a writer. Children’s writing has been in my blood for years, but it wasn’t until the end of my college teaching career that I could really spend the time fine tuning my craft. Writing for children was the perfect gift to continue to touch children’s lives in a meaningful way. What I didn’t realize at the time was I would need two important things – commitment and perseverance.
The world of publishing requires you to have patience and wait, and wait, and wait some more! I was willing to give it a try and I jumped right in. However, it took some time to get used to not only the waiting, the rejections and the ghostings. Publishers and agents are so busy and over worked that they do not have time to respond. I joined SCBWI, took workshops, joined critique groups and I joined the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge.
12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge
12 x 12 is a diverse community of picture book authors and illustrators at all levels of experience. With this community you accountability, support, and encouragement in the goal to write one new picture book draft each month or at least to write more than you would on your own.
As their website states – Picture book authors must be prolific. You need to develop a body of work in order to improve your craft, attract an agent, and get book deals. With 75% of members reporting they write more in the Challenge than they would on their own, 12 x 12 is a proven way to get drafts out of your head and onto the page. When I first learned of the 12 x12 Picture Book Challenge, I didn’t think I needed it because honestly, I’m self-motivated and didn’t think I needed the push to write.
Benefits of Joining
What I didn’t realize was all the other benefits of the 12 x 12 group. I was particularly impressed with the quick responses of helpful writers when I asked a questions. I loved getting feedback on my manuscripts from other writers. Queries and pitches too! In order to grow as an author, you need peer and professional feedback on your writing and fellow writers are there to help you. In 12 x 12, you get both. You can post your manuscripts for feedback in the Forum and/or find critique group partners among your fellow members. It is so comforting to know that though my journey might be my own, we all have similarities that can help bring each other a sense of calm and understanding when we know we are not alone.
Webinars and Resources
12 x 12 speakers present through the lens of how their topics apply specifically to the art, craft, and business of writing and illustrating picture books. Each one digs deep and leaves members inspired, and empowered with new ways to think about their own work. As far as resources, there is a wealth of information in the forum to help you and guide you. Did I tell you they have a book club too! My 12 x12 friends are the best. I have never met a more friendly, supportive group of picture book writers anywhere. If you are thinking about joining a writing community, I highly recommend 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge.
I am so glad you’re here and I thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am grateful that I can share my writing journey with you.
I’m looking forward to helping you as a children’s book writer in any way that I can. Speaking of helping — please leave a comment below and let me know what questions you have about picture book writing.
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One last request …
You can really help this author by leaving a book review on Amazon or Goodreads. You can leave a review for Gertie Saves the Day here or here. Two Wins for Wiley here or here. Reviews can be as easy as 2-3 sentences and should take about 30 seconds to leave and would make a huge difference for me. Need help? Click here.