It’s A 12×12 in 2012 Blog Party!!

Last year at this time I signed up for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. It was a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012. You may have noticed the cool badge on my side bar all year long –

I started out with my ideas from doing Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo last year in November (I did it this year too – it’s VERY fun and if you haven’t done it, try it next year 🙂 ). My goal was to write one picture book manuscript. I never wrote a whole picture book before and didn’t really know where to start (other than having my ideas from PiBoIdMo) and I didn’t know how much I’d be able to do. I am happy to say I wrote 3 whole manuscripts and I have a bunch of ones that I have started that I’d like to get back to. I’ve learned a lot this year and I thought I would come up with my top ten things I learned. Here it goes –

10. Be organized. Having a work area and a notebook (only ONE notebook in my case because I tend to lose things) that holds your ideas helps.

9. Set deadlines for yourself. Even if you don’t make them, it gives you a goal.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.

7. Don’t be afraid to write down a draft that isn’t particularly good the first time. Get it down and then go back later and fix it (I have a lot of unfinished ideas like this).

6. The idea you think is the best isn’t always the one that you can write a whole book about.

5. Listen to people who want to help you. There are a lot of great people who have helped and encouraged me.

4. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t meet a goal. Keep trying!

3. Don’t get discouraged if you find out someone has already wrote the book you are thinking of! That just means you like that idea too!

2. Do try to have fun while writing. If it is making you frustrated, stop for a while.

and the number one thing I’ve learned from 12×12 in 2012 is…

WRITING PICTURE BOOKS IS HARD AND RHYMING IS EVEN HARDER!!! Those people out there who think it is so easy should give it a try (like that turtle-neck guy 😉 [Debbie Ohi’s PiBoIdMo Post])!

Thank you to everyone in 12×12 in 2012 and ESPECIALLY to Julie Hedlund for hosting it! If you haven’t seen Ms. Hedlund’s awesome dance party video, you HAVE to hop over to her blog and check it out. Her air guitar is AMAZING! Click HERE to go there!

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54 replies

  1. That dance party video just made my day, Erik! Congratulations on finishing this project!!!! You are an inspiration to us all! 🙂

  2. You learned a lot of smart things, Erik! Mom did too. Congratulations! I learned how to jump through a hula hoop and how to dance on my hind legs.

    Love and licks,

  3. Congratulations, Erik, for persisting. You did great and I’m proud of you!

    (I see you got it to snow on your blog, too. Fun, isn’t it?)

  4. Erik, I wasn’t able to finish 12 either, but I also learned that sometimes it’s ok to alter your goal. I am amazed you were able to complete 3 manuscripts with all your school work and activities. Great job!

  5. Congrats on all you accomplished this past year! Your list is fantastic and so very true and good advice, especially #7. Writing a first draft of anything is the hardest part for me and I have to keep reminding myself to keep going and just get something down. So much of writing is revising. I don’t know why many of us think we can get it done perfectly the first time. And yes, writing PBs is hard and looks deceptively simple to those who’ve never tried it. Keep up the good work!

  6. I love number one and the turtle neck guy 🙂 Thank you for sharing what you learned. You offer some great tips. Congratulations on your three completed stories and all the drafts waiting for you to get back to them.

  7. Erik, I’m so glad you joined 12 x 12, as we’ve all learned much from YOU this past year. I like #6, which I hadn’t thought of in quite that way before, and #3. One of my drafts for this year is being published (written by another author) by Viking in 2014. Same premise, same title. But I had the same thought you had — at least I’m on to a good idea! 🙂

    AND, I take it as a huge compliment that you thought my air guitar was great. If you think so, then I can believe it too. 🙂

    Congratulations on writing 3 picture books this year. At this rate you may be published before you’re out of school! 🙂

  8. I’m SO glad you’re a part of our group in 12×12, Erik! (And in the Perfect Picture Book group as well!) Your learnings are so very good and true. Thank you for this list. I will bookmark it so I can come back and read it again and again.

  9. Great post Erik! Very helpful and informative. Hats off to you for undertaking the challenge. You are remarkable person and have very bright future (& present). I hope that you and your family have a very happy holiday season!

    Paul R. Hewlett

  10. Congrats Erik on getting 3 drafts done. I love your list. I will need to remember those things when I am feeling down about my writing. Wonderful to have met your through 12×12 and PPBF. Happy Holidays!

  11. What an excellent list, Erik! I think you have very articulately stated so many of the important things about writing. Congrats on finishing 3 drafts and having others in the works – that’s amazing! 🙂

  12. What a wonderful accomplishment Erik. We are all very proud of you. You have shown us what courage and dedication is all about in achieving goals. I know I have learnt a great deal from you. I look forward to 2013 knowing I have you along for the journey…. All the best Erik.

  13. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Someday, when you’re a famous author, I’m going to tell everyone I knew you as a kid. 🙂 What a great year!

  14. I have come to accept number 6 too – not that I like it! And I couldn’t have said #1 better! You efforts inspire so many of us Erik, that if we were accumulating gold stars, your count would be doubled!

  15. Love today’s post, Erik. Each point you make is true to heart and something I needed a reminder of as a writer of YA novels. Oh I just can’t help grinning at the though of someone thinking writing PBs is just “easy”. Then they learn the truth. 🙂

  16. Congratulations, Erik! I loved your list. 🙂 Happy 2013!

  17. Hi, Erik! Your list is great. #6 really spoke to me. I’ve spun my wheels plenty of times trying to put square words in a round manuscript (so to speak!). I’m a new blogger and your site is impressive.

  18. Congraulations Erik on three drafts I had a long list, but not every idea proved to be a good story to write. Loved your lists of what you learned — especially #1. Oh, there really is snow on the blogs, I thought something was going wrong with my screen! 🙂 Have a great time writing in 2013.

  19. Erik, I agree with your list. Especially number 1. 🙂 Congrads on completing the three stories. EXCELLENT job! And look at the ones you started. You have an entire treasure trove of stories to write. Yeah yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Your advice about setting deadlines is so right! I think that’s part of why 12 x 12 works so well. I have a set deadline every month for completing that first draft of my picture book. 🙂 It’s been awesome getting to know you this year!

  21. P.S. “moonduster” is Becky Fyfe. (I so need to change my user name on several sites.)

  22. Erik, you made me laugh at your last comment! I agree, rhyming picture books are quite difficult. Congratulations on your accomplishments this year!

  23. Congratulations on your stories and happy 12×12 to you. I hope we will see you in 2013, too.

  24. All very good advice on writing. But not all picture books have to rhyme, unless you specifically want them to. Sometimes, inserting one or two rhymes can also be fun and easy for a child to learn. Sounds like you will be a first-call writer, Erik.

  25. BIG congrats on your 12 x 12 success! And I loved the winning entry on the Ohi cartoon contest, didn’t you? 🙂

  26. You are way ahead of the game, Erik! Wish I would have started my writing career when I was your age. You have gleaned so much from the challenges. Looking forward to seeing you back in 2013!

  27. Great reflections, Erik. It’s really the entire process of even joining something as awesome and ‘grown-up’ as this which sets you apart, more than anything else. Atta boy!



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