12 x 12 Challenge
Since my personal writing is completely separate and apart from the picture books that are already out there, I figured I’d create a page to talk about the 12 x 12 challenge I’m participating in this year. I signed up on the last possible day – I wanted to attend the SCBWI conference first to gauge whether this was something I could take on – and boy am I glad I signed up!
For those who may not know what 12 x 12 is – it’s basically a community of writers who want to write twelve picture books in twelve months. If that doesn’t sound hard to you…well, have you tried writing picture books before? It’s hard work!
I’m feeling a little overwhelmed as I try to participate as much as possible – so many Facebook groups, so little time! But this is exciting, it’s a good thing. I’m putting myself out there and trying to learn and work on my craft – and at the end of the day, that’s a pretty big first step.
I have a confession to make. I am kind of, totally, a Type-A person. That is probably pretty evident from the fact that I’ve posted like ten things in the 24 hours since I started this blog. But I need content! Ok, so the Type-A thing can be great – it means I’m driven, goal-oriented, and will get.things.done. BUT it also means that something like 12 x 12 can become totally overwhelming. There is so much going on and I don’t want to miss out on anything. I want to earn the most badges, offer critiques, get critiqued, connect with a critique group, learn about the industry, submit to agents each month and…phew! I’m already exhausted.
So the challenge for me right now is balance. I need to accept that I will probably never be the person with the most points in the forums (and that’s ok). I need to accept that in all likelihood I will not come out of 12 x 12 with an agent (and that’s more than ok – that’s expected!). I need to accept that MY best may be completing 12 picture books in 12 months (and that’s more than ok, that’s amazing). If I manage to write 12 picture books, that is twelve more books than I have right now. And that would be great.
So I’m working on reigning in my Type-A tendencies. But I’m not gonna like – I’m still getting super excited every time I get a new badge.
One of the really exciting things about participating in the 12 x 12 challenge at the Gold level is that you get the chance to submit your work (and bypass the slush pile) to a bunch of really great agents. Admittedly, there are so many people participating at the Gold level that this probably creates it’s own special slush pile but it’s still great because some of these agents are completely closed to submissions unless you’ve taken their course or seen them at a program or something. For example, I’d previously researched one of last month’s agents – Jill Corcoran – and found that I wasn’t eligible to submit to her. But along came 12 x 12 and woo-boo – I was now able to submit. I probably won’t make it out of the Golden slush pile (that sounds so much fancier, doesn’t it?!) but at least I’ll have a chance – and that’s more than I would have otherwise had.
Wow, what a few months will do. No, I haven’t been contacted by any agents. In fact, I’ve moved. What does that mean for my writing – well, its suffered. I have to admit to just not feeling all that inspired lately. I don’t know if that’s because I’m adjusting to life at home with my son or because I’m questioning whether I really am strong enough to face years and years of rejection (and perhaps ONLY rejection) in the realm of working towards publication. I love writing. I have always loved writing. But is that enough? I don’t know. I’m a bit of a Debbie-Downer lately. Hopefully things will turn around soon.