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12 X 12 Featured Author April 2016 – Julie Hedlund

12 x 12 Featured Author April 2016 – Julie Hedlund

As the founder of the 12 x 12 challenge, people often ask me, “How do I know if I should quit writing?” Not surprisingly, this question often comes in moments of extreme self-doubt after what feels like (or actually is) the 100th rejection. I never put it quite this bluntly, but in this post, I’ll give you my answer.

If you CAN quit, you should.

Allow me to explain.

I have been in and out of a pretty major writing funk since about last August for various reasons. If I had to pin it down, I’d say much of it comes down to two things. First, I’ve been recovering from a pinched nerve/herniated disc in my cervical spine. The impact of that bleeds into everything I do, and has limited my regular exercise routine to such an extent that I don’t get my usual dose of daily stress relief. The second is related to a number of difficult rejections, feelings of self-doubt and yes, sometimes even despair.

My reasons aren’t important, though. Surely you’ve been in writing funks too and while your reasons will be different from mine, the effect is the same. It makes you miserable.

When I’m not writing, nothing else feels right in my life. Everything is “blocked.” My house is a mess. My temper with my kids is shorter. I’m less motivated to exercise or work or even open the mail. I don’t enjoy sunny days as much as I should. I cook less and eat more take-out. The list goes on and on.

Why then, wouldn’t I quit? Why would I subject myself to this type of funk when I could choose a different career? I have an advanced degree and plenty of experience in business. Why do I keep writing?

The answer is simple. Being a writer is not what I DO. Being a writer is who I AM. I could no more quit writing than I could stop being female. It’s in my DNA. For real writers, write or die is not just a website. We have words inside us that must come forth or we will become ill. When we resist (as I have been lately), the discomfort piles up until it becomes unbearable and you find yourself in front of the page once more, whether it’s a blank piece of paper or a blinking cursor.

If you are a real writer, quitting is not an option.

inconceivableNow, you may discover that your voice is in novels or nonfiction instead of picture books. Or you might discover you need to write a memoir or become a reporter instead of a children’s author. But quit writing? No. As Vizzini in the Princess Bride would say, “INCONCEIVABLE!”

The people who quit are the ones who write solely for the glory of publication and seeing their names in bright lights on a bookstore shelf. When or if that doesn’t happen, they become disillusioned and go on to do something else.

That’s why I say if you CAN quit, you should, because writing is probably something you want to do rather than something you are. You can do other things. You can’t be someone else.

For the rest of us, we need to keep writing. Luckily, in 12 x 12, we get to do it together. We also know and understand that we are not alone, no matter which stage, which phase, of writing we’re even (even these wretched funks).

So if anyone out there reading has ever felt like you are circling the drain with your writing and that it will never amount to anything, know two things. One – you are not alone. Two – as long as you keep writing, it WILL amount to many things. Great things. Even if your name isn’t in lights (yet) on a bookstore shelf, your words create meaning for you and will do so for others.

Case in point. You know what is getting me out of my funk this time? Writing this blog post for you.

I have to give Kelli credit for this though (speaking of having people to reach down and help lift you out of your funks). She was the one who suggested I write about what I’m going through because she thought it might resonate with you and make you feel better about your own funks. So if this post DID help you, make sure to thank Kelli too!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an April draft to write before the check-in post goes live tomorrow. 🙂

This Post Has 276 Comments
  1. Congrats to you for having the courage to say what’s on your mind, even if it might make you vulnerable. Here’s hoping you are leaving your funk behind…

  2. Thanks, Julie. Your honesty is refreshing. And yes, Kelli was spot on when she said this might resonate with us. I’ve been going through a bit of a funk myself and writing is bringing me out of it, too. It makes me whole again after I’ve let the world pick me apart. I could no more quit writing than I could fly. And thanks for the reminder that what we see on the outside (your bright, smiling, totally with it webinars) doesn’t always mirror what is going on inside. Best wishes on a killer April draft, and days full of joy, sunshine and writing!

  3. You speak the truth girl! My funk was funk-da-fied this year…so many sad events to deal with BUT honestly, the Facebook 12×12 posts are so crucial to my motivation. Everyone is genuine and giving and huge cheerleaders for one another! Thank you for your honesty! Write on! 🙂

  4. Thank you, Julie! Your honesty absolutely mirrors what many of us have gone through or will go through at some point in our writing lives. It’s the rebound that matters!
    Thanks also for everything you do for the writing community.

  5. Thanks, Julie for voicing what so many of us feel or have felt at one point or another. Discovering your voice is one of the exciting parts of this journey – the work is still hard, but the joy shines through!

  6. we all have slumps but you are right about the not quitting part. I have taken breaks before but then I get that “itch” and I need to write. It’s who I am.

    I hope you come out of your slump soon (and with lots of awesome ideas and inspiration)

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. I’m old enough to look back on a lot more than some of you. You are so correct, when writing is just in you, publication doesn’t matter much. It’s the writing that matters. It’s very brave of you to make yourself vulnerable to write this. I guarantee it will help many writers, more than you’ll ever realize.

  8. Here! Here! I hear you girl! I’ve been in a Funk hole the past 6 months too – with health problems, family health problems and work. What suffered was my writing commitments. But recently I made some serious decisions which will soon have me full time committed to my passion, and I can’t thank this writing community enough and my wonderful critique group for always being there. This post brought tears to my eyes. Inspiring. Thanks Julie and Kelli.

  9. Wonderful post! It’s kind of encouraging in a way to know that we all have those feelings at times. Thanks for sharing.

  10. So glad you addressed this aspect of writing. Health is so underrated until you hurt, desire is damaged by health, spirit is damaged by health but you put it beautifully how it has affected you life and the lives of your children. Hoping your neck and back get better and your writing begins afresh. Thank you for baring your pain.

  11. Thank you, Julie, for sharing such personal insights. It’s a great reminder for us all why we stick with this writing life even when “real” life gets in our way. And in many of our cases, when we don’t actually make any kind of a living at it…yet (we hope)!

    I hope that you are feeling much better very soon. You are so enthusiastic, we wouldn’t have know about it if you hadn’t told us. And if Kelli hadn’t suggested to share. My thanks to you both.

  12. I’m going through the same thing due to back issues. It’s discouraging, but I was born to write! Not even pain will make me stop writing for more then a week. Julie, thanks for sharing. Thanks for giving Julie the motivation Kelli!

  13. What’s with the back problems? Mine went out last week BEFORE I was rear-ended! :} But all is well, could have been so much worse. Your post was most re-assuring and I echo the sentiments of everyone here. You have provided such an amazing outlet for so many- there really aren’t enough words to thank you, which sound crazy coming from a writer, but there it is. May you find relief from pain, release from the funk and joy from all of us whom you inspire. In theatre we have “Break a leg!” We need a writers counterpart…

  14. Thank you so much for this, Julie. I have been in a funk since the summer and it sometimes feels like I will never get out of it.

  15. It’s so reassuring to hear that other writers sink into slumps & funks. I can completely relate, Julie, to those times when a story isn’t working or there’s no darn story to tell at all, and everything else in life “goes wrong” too. For me, if the writing stinks day after day, or the ideas just don’t come, then everything else turns grey. Which of course, is poppycock! So glad to hear that others do suffer from the same balderdash every now and then, and that I’m not the only one circling the drain! This 12 x 12 community is great for so many reasons, but especially for meeting like-minds and sharing like-experiences.
    Thanks for sharing something so personal!

  16. Thank you Julie and Kelli. I needed this bit of inspiration right now too. I was recently diagnosed with neuropathy. I have nerve pain, tingling and weakness in my arms and legs almost constantly. It would be so EASY to just give up writing, to just come home from work each day and plop down on the couch and not move until bedtime. But I can’t quit. Like you said, writing is a part of who I am. It’s ingrained in me and always on my mind. So I will write on.

  17. Feel,better, Julie. When you aren’t doing what you love, it does spill over into other areas. I struggle to juggle everything in balance, too.

  18. Thank you Julie for sharing your personal feelings. It seems most of us go through similar times( I know I do) for various reasons. Often it’s when I feel overwhelmed with life in general. I always ask myself, “Are you still having fun writing?” So far the answer is always yes. It’ll pass. Hang in there!

  19. Thanks for your encouragement. I needed that, I felt so useless at the last Scbwi drop-in critique group when I didn’t know what to say to the authors of some first time pb manuscripts. And I could see my flaws right away.

  20. Your honesty is inspiring! This thing we do is the both balm and the vinegar at times. (The vinegar is mostly the business side of things. 😉 ) But creating and connecting through writing is a calling. I’m so glad you answered yours. It’s made a huge difference for me (and I know so many others).

  21. Thanks, Julie, for baring your soul. Looking from the outside in, it’s easy to think that someone who has had the publishing successes that you have had never has to deal with feelings of insecurity or despair. If only that weren’t true. But what you said about not being able to quit is quite profound and the heart of the matter. Writing is an expression of who we are. Thanks for your honesty. We’re all in this together.

  22. Thank you for letting us see inside, that layer of vulnerability. We all have it. It’s what we do with it, that is telling. Like the saying goes, 10% of life is what happens to us and the other 90% is how we respond to it. I agree wholeheartedly that writing isn’t something we’re doing, it’s who we are. It’s a part of us that has a life of its own. It’s waiting for us to breathe it, write it into existence. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  23. Thank you, Julie, for sharing your heart with us! Your honesty/ vulnerability is refreshing and so appreciated. I feel like I’ve been in a writer’s funk ever since I started! With a few amazing, productive, bright spots along the way. Writing is hard! But I know there is nothing else I’d rather do. 🙂

  24. Julie – you are so real and relatable. It’s important to acknowledge struggles as well as successes. Thank you for this post!

  25. Oooohhh yes, Julie and Kelli! Did that resonate…and then some. I loved the blunt answer too and I would’ve said the same thing, speaking from personal experience, this is the conclusion I’ve come to after so many years: no can do. Yes, striving to make it in this business is a struggle (more so to me than most people, because for starters, I’m not a native English speaker), but all the 2,579 times despair has led me to “quitting”, it didn’t quite work out for me. I still continued to be the person who writes, who thinks creatively, who needs to arrange and rearrange words until it clicks, who gets excited by a new idea, who can’t ignore the fact that the right piece of dialogue for this character I’ve been thinking about just popped into my head and I have to have to have to write it down, and so I continued to do the exact same things I did before the “quitting.” I was not interested in changing directions–no other job, no other profession were ever satisfying nor could I think of something else that would be. But here’s another truth: there are a whole bunch of people–gatekeepers, naysayers–who can stop me from being published (traditionally anyway!) but NO ONE can stop me from writing, or reading for research, or critiquing fellow writers’ manuscripts (both helping them and learning in the process) or having my work critiqued, or taking workshops, or growing creatively etc. The list goes on and on for all the things I enjoy and still can do. That’s in my control! If I like it and want to do it, I do it. That’s all there is to it. That’s also my solution for the pains of being a writer: remove the negatives from the equation for now, distance yourself from them, until you recharge and will once again be able to tolerate them, and the rest is the enjoyable part, the one that’s you.

    What I’ve told myself lately is this–I accept the outcome, but choose not to let it kill my hunger for creativity (well, reading and rereading Big Magic has helped a lot too!). It does affect me often times–the rejections and all–but now I push for a fueling affect, compared to before when I’d go straight to despair. My advice is to try channeling that during the bad days, you might find that it works.

    And now, like you, Julie, let me get to that (almost) blank page where my April draft was supposed to be real quick before the check-in post gets live 😉

    Thanks again, Julie and Kelli. Looking forward to reading the other people’s comments.

  26. Thank you Julie for your honest post it is very inspiring and puts me back on the path to writing. I keep telling myself just write, revise, submit and write again. If i don’t I am just dreaming about writing.
    I hope you get out of your funk soon it certainly sounds like you need to write! and now!

  27. Sending you ginormous hugs, Julie. I’ve been in that funk, and it is not helpful. I don’t know how you feel about “woo woo” higher power stuff, but I did find THE ARTIST’S WAY immensely helpful in helping me get unblocked.

  28. Hi Julie,
    As one who often feels like I’m “circling the drain” with my writing, I appreciate your honesty. Rejection is hard but not writing is even harder. You are an encourager to so many. I want to encourage you – just write something for the fun of it. And, I hope you are restored to good help soon.

  29. Thank you, Julie, for opening your heart. Your words are very inspiring and encourage me to keep on truckin’, as they would say in my day. Thank you so much for sharing.

  30. Julie- thank you for being so vulnerable. The reason I write is because I believe with every fiber of my being that story connects us- deepens our empathy- reminds us of our shared humanity. You no doubt offered a “me too” moment for many with your words here. I’m so grateful for you.

  31. Thank you Julie. My goal is to be a creative person in writing and performing. I also teach drama. When a little girl comes up to me after drama class and says, “I want to be an actress… or a vet.” I say,”Be a vet.” If you can choose then go for the one that will bring you the most joy. If that is taking care of animals then that’s what you should do. But in my case, as yours, there is nothing else I can do. So we head on forth with a merry heart as much as we can.

  32. Julie, your honesty is so refreshing.? thank you for confirming the burning question “Am I writer”. That makes my day. Good luck!

  33. That ‘quitting’ business has up on my agenda more than once. And like you, I’ve realised that I simply can’t. In fact, last time I tried to quit, my writing only improved. It was like a re-union. 😉 I treasured and appreciated it better after I realised that I couldn’t stop even if I tried. I agree with you also, that it may not always be children’s fiction, but that’s fine.

  34. Julie,
    Your honesty is so helpful, more than you know. May it be the beginning of a turn around for you. You do so much for others and now it is my turn to do for you. So Julie, please accept my virtual hug and my intention for you that your April draft be the beginning of a new fruition.

  35. Like everyone else, I really appreciate your honesty. It’s easy to write about the glorious and happy times, but not so easy to write about the down and funk-filled times. Thank you for sharing.

  36. Thanks, Julie. With all that goes on around that slows us down, your few words, “If you can quit, you should!” are the truest spoken. You can’t with all your pain…I can’t either! I’m writing that short message as my daily motivational thought. Thanks for all you do and say!

  37. Thank you so much, Julie, for your vulnerability in writing this. Through that vulnerability, you set the rest of us free to say, “Yes, we’ve been there! It happens; it’s human; it’s a rite of passage. And it will, indeed, pass.” I have been in that writing funk so many times and I know I will again. If I didn’t have you and this network of wonderful, supportive people you’ve created here at 12×12 to kick me in the @$$ (excuse my French, but I do live in France…) where would I be? I might have made the mistake of giving up long ago. But THAT mistake would have taken its own toll on me. So THANK YOU Julie, for creating a place where children’s writers can go to embrace the ups and downs of this journey and never feel alone. I hope every 12×12 member’s comment lifts your spirits today and propels you into a future of great things.

  38. I’m sorry Julie, but reading your post made me happy- not happy about your funk, or happy about the landslide it causes, but happy that you’re able to talk to us about it, make us feel not alone when we hit those low points. I’ve been in a funk, too, not only in writing, but with exercise as well. This knee that makes it hurt to walk too much has really put a damper on the thought of running again, which has put a damper on all else (guess that makes me a runner and writer?). My writing slump has been since about last August as well. I’m hoping some classes today, and a critique with an agent as well, will help inspire me to write regularly-I’ve really only written the ms’s for 12×12, and edited a bit more, but not much…So, thanks 🙂 And good luck- we’ll get out of these funks.

  39. Julie (and Kelli) Thank you for an incredibly authentic post that helps me know I’m not alone. But no matter how many times I get a rejection, I can’t fathom giving up. Publishing and writing are not for the faint of heart.

  40. I love your reminder of the great things that writing brings to your life outside of the fleeting chances of publication. Those are always the moments that keep me going and make me feel whole! Thanks to you and Kelli for another gesture that makes 12×12 a community with a lot of heart!

  41. Kelli, thank you for your insight into Julie and suggesting this article.
    Julie, Thank you for sharing your heart felt, warm and amazing story of writers funk!
    I am new this year to 12 x 12 and at times I feel overwhelmed by, what appears to be, the massive success of everyone else in the world. (Maybe a wee bit jealous too) Somedays it feels like everyone is getting published and that has set me back on my heels a little. Kind of similar to what I hear people say about Facebook… everyones life looks so perfect!
    So its great when someone with your writing chops shares their struggle.
    Feel better soon!- those necks are troublesome but it gets better!

  42. It’s true, oh so true! I’ve been in a funk since my agent quit the biz last summer and many times I’d wanted to give up. But what I want to give up is really the whole pursuing an agent and publication side. I’d still be writing stories and blog posts and stuff…purely for myself.

    I hope your pinched nerve issue will go away! ❤️

  43. What you are saying about writing being who you are is right on the money. Even when I am doing something else I am always thinking about writing. Thank you for making me realize its okay to be this way. I hope you can rise above the funk and get back to what you love doing!

  44. “Writing is not what I do, it’s who I am.” Yes, that’s exactly it. And I only realized recently, it’s also HOW I tell the world – and myself – who I am. And it doesn’t matter as much, then, who is listening.

    Great post. Thank you for this, and for 12×12.

  45. Julie, you are so generous to share your heart and your writing journey with us. I hope you feel well soon.
    I believe it’s the hard times that eventually bring clarity to our view and expand our pools of creativity.

    Thanks, Julie and Kelli, for the encouragement and inspiration you give us.

  46. Sorry you’re in that familiar funk most of us have experienced. Kelli was right. Thanks for sharing with us. I also had a similar back problem along with some other stuff. I couldn’t even walk for more than 10 minutes without pain. I found a fantastic acupuncturist and stretched every day. I can now walk for hours. Take care of yourself. Walking is the best cure for back problems, and it’s good for your spirit.
    Thank you for leading so many of us on our writing path. You have inspired us and continue to do so. Good luck.

  47. Julie – I’m sorry to hear about your herniated disk. Pain can really disrupt your normal life. I hope the solution is right around the corner for you.

    I enjoyed hearing why you are a writer…because it’s in your blood:> Keep writing and give yourself a pat on the back! You wrote this great piece to inspire your fellow writers and you are not giving up despite being in an understandable funk. The writing world needs you! Don’t give up:>

    And Thank You Kelli for encouraging Julie to write this inspiring and honest blog post.

  48. Thank you for your post and your leadership. For me, the block is sometimes a result of my “real life” – particularly the pursuit of paying the bills! It is wonderful to have a group of fellow writers to lean on when the other half of life takes over.

    I appreciate the dose of inspiration. May, here we come!

  49. Julie, thank you so much for your openness! Having a community this year has truly made a huge difference for me this year, so I thank you for that too!

  50. Wow, Julie, you must have been writing this just for me…..!!!……how timely, how encouraging, how REAL !
    Thanks for your commitment to write, to lead us in 12X12….thanks to Kelli too!!
    I started a manuscript this month, but no completion, and was resisting those “funk” feelings! Your blog post was a shot in the arm!
    Thanks for you and Kelli and 12X12!

  51. Brava, Julie! Thank you for such a soul-bearing post. I’m sure it took a lot of courage to write it. I, too, have had many moments of self-doubt concerning my writing career, but I keep plodding along because I love it. It’s a relief to hear others are struggling with the same feelings. Thank you for being so truthful, and thank you, Kelli, for suggesting Julie write this post. Onward to better days!

  52. Thanks for being so honest Julie – hopefully it feel somewhat cathartic (good idea Kelli!). I’m sure it mirrors every writer’s thoughts at one stage so we can all empathise with you. You’ve created such a warm community that you should take great pride in the work you do, and I’m sure every one of us is behind you in hoping that you get out of your current ‘funk’ (what a great word!). Thanks again for all your hard work and words of inspiration. x

  53. Thank you for your honesty and bravery. It means a lot to me that you posted this. Lately I have been struggling with something difficult in my family that is preoccupying my thoughts and I haven’t been writing. I really liked what you said about how writing creates meaning, because that’s what it does for me. So thank to Kelli and to you for reminding me that it’s something I really need.

  54. Thank you, Kelli, for being the support person; we all need one. 🙂
    Julie, thank you for the honest post. I understand funk; I’ve been there too many times in many ways, and even now I’m crawling out of a bit of one. I can cheer others on, encourage, promote, support, and believe in them, but when it comes to myself? That’s a different story.
    Yesterday I read your post, but it wasn’t until today when I was reading the comments that I realized I have always been a writer. I just didn’t think of it that way. As a young child I began writing letters, which continued in a big way at times during my life. Over the years I have written stories, poetry, and faith-related articles. Even when I ventured into other creative avenues I always came back to writing. It seems to be foundational for me, I have to do it in some way. I didn’t recognize it as something I HAVE to do, until now. It’s in me to write, I have something to say, God made me with the need to write – so I will and I do.
    Julie, keep on keeping on. You inspire us. 🙂

  55. YES! “When I’m not writing, nothing else feels right in my life. Everything is “blocked.” My house is a mess. My temper with my kids is shorter. I’m less motivated to exercise or work or even open the mail. I don’t enjoy sunny days as much as I should. I cook less and eat more take-out. The list goes on and on.” Need my husband to read this!

  56. Thank you Julie. I did try to quit. I ended up writing “morning pages” suggested by Julia Cameron, just to stay sane. It worked until I could get back to kiddelit. That’s what I read and love. The 12 by 12 challenge has put me in contact with other writers and the ins and outs of publishing. I’ve learned so much in the last 16 months. The best thing I now know is I have to write.

  57. Julie, Your honest and heartfelt approach to this post (and 12×12) is what makes it such an amazing community. I would have been so lost and discouraged without the information, encouragement, and friendly but necessary kicks in the butt you supply. Thanks so much!

  58. Thanks for sharing about your struggles, everyone goes through that at one point or another. Here’s hoping that writing the post helped you kickstart the writing flame.

  59. Julie, I read this late last night after I slammed my computer closed and announced that I was going to bed because “I lost my voice” in regards to a particular manuscript. Becoming a writer has been the most Janus-faced roller coaster of my life. The highs; the days where you can’t write fast enough, when ideas are pouring out from your heart, and characters come to life…you feel like you are on top of the world. Then the next day, a low; you have nothing. So you eat three Ding Dongs and take a walk around the block. Except you’re still in a funk. And the only thing that helps is the knowledge that hopefully soon, your “words” will come back to you. Because they will.


  60. Julie, thanks for being proof that the willingness to be open, shine light on those vulnerable spots, is what allows readers to connect. As true in our writing as well as your post! I along with others appreciate being part of this community, and think it’s genius of you to have created it, and amazing of Kelli to nurture it. We know that writing, opening up, is hard. But we keep on, in company with others. And by sharing our vulnerable places, we gain courage to dare more.

  61. I love your honesty Julie. I love writing children stories and creating images to go with them. I would love to get published but if I don’t I’m still doing what I love.

  62. Sometimes you really want to QUIT! But most times you are way past the starting line and it seems harder to say I QUIT. It is easier to say jut one more time, one more story. Thanks Julie for this. Sorry I didn’t get to meet you in Bologna.

  63. Anita Jones

    Thanks Julie for sharing your honest feelings! That’s what I like about writing…(the honesty)… You have inspired so many potential writers with this program you created! That’s big!! All the work, dedication, details and technology you’re sharing …..absolutely amazing!
    I think it’s ironic however, that the basic “funk” is so common in very profound writers! Anything that helps us escape from that place is all good!

  64. Your words resonated with me, Julie. I’m in a funk right now and your words of encouragement are what I needed to hear. I still write just about every day because those words have to come out. I need to say them. Thank you, Kelli, for urging Julie to write this post. These thoughts and comments flow through a writer’s day. I would be lost without the support and inspiration found at 12X12.

  65. I think we all go through this. Self doubt really sucks. But somehow, we surround ourselves with great people and we encourage each other to forge on. I’m sorry to hear of your physical difficulties. Aging is no fun task. But thank you for all that you do. Keep writing, we need you! 🙂

  66. Thanks Julie! I feel the same way, couldn’t quit if I tried… Is procrastination a funk? My god I’m good at that… I love that we are not alone. Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  67. Thank you Julie and Kelli! Knowing that those I look up to in this community, still struggle with feelings of self-doubt or “funks”, reminds me that I’m pursuing a very real endeavor (more than just a dream!) and that this is a reality of the writing experience. Most importantly, your encouragement that if I keep writing it WILL amount to something, inspires me to keep going. Here’s to Spring and renewed writing commitments!!

  68. Thanks for having the courage it took to share this with us. I think “funks” are a necessary part of working creatively and necessarily requiring validation from others for success. All of us that “can’t” quit need to be reminded of this often though. That’s what groups like this are for. As Jane Yolen said last night at our conference with are the “battlefield companions” of our colleagues.

  69. Julie, Thank you for your heartfelt and honest post. Back pain is such misery, and I can imagine that it is difficult to see past the daily pain. I appreciate this group and all of the help it provides! I am learning and growing so much! Thanks and hoping spring arrives to your area soon!

  70. I have found myself lagging in enthusiam this year. But rather than give up on writing, I am taking a year off from writing conferences and a little break from revisions Perhaps this will get me going again.

  71. Perfect timing for me. April was a wretched month for me. So much illness for myself and family. Falling behind in the challenge and other areas of life. Thank you for sharing! It helped me, and I love the Princess Bride reference!

  72. Julie, thank you for your honesty and courage and putting into words what so many of us are feeling. It’s helpful to know that even those writers who have had what I consider success sometimes mentally sit down on the floor and cry. This has been a tough month for me, and my draft is pathetic. I could easily start talking myself out of continuing this writing gig. Very helpful to hear your thoughts and feelings!

  73. What wise and heart-felt words, Julie! Like yourself, I couldn’t stop writing if I tried. It’s so great to be a part of 12 x 12 with like-minded creatives to get us through our funks.

  74. Thank you Julie for sharing your struggle and determination, and thank you Kelli for encouraging her to do so! Oh, yes, it sure does resonate and it’s great to not be alone during the challenging times! Wishing you good healing and writing, Julie!

  75. Aw, hugs to you! Thanks for sharing this. I was just reading Jane Yolen’s TAKE JOY last night, and love so many of the points she makes. Sometimes writing is exhilarating. Sometimes it’s frustrating. Mostly it’s just work. I hope you finished your April draft.

  76. I can barely stand the idea of not being able to write as much since I had a second baby. Give it up for good? No, way! I have to write and illustrate. I get all kinds of moody when I don’t. I think it would kill me not to draw and write. The idea is too upsetting.

    Such a wonderful post. I think this post is needed by so many people right now. Thank you Julie for your wonderful words!

  77. Julie, your post is so uplifting. I have often wondered whether or not I should quit writing but can never bring myself to do it. I know I’m not alone, although sometimes it feels like it. Thank you for writing this! Thank you, Kelli, for suggesting this post!

  78. I admire your brave honesty in this post, Julie. Our fearless leader has self doubts? There’s hope for us all. After a career where I had expertise, I’m writing for kids now, starting over. It’s exciting, humbling, nerve-wracking, and joyous. Will I ever be published? Maybe, maybe not, but I can’t quit. Just knowing we’re all in the same leaky boat is comforting. Thanks

  79. Thanks for being vulnerable. Maybe once you’ve had publishing success, and then there’s a rough patch, it is even worse. I think we are all in the same boat at one time or another. You have lots of books left inside you, I predict.

  80. I really appreciate your openness. As I posted on Facebook, I felt less alone with my struggles and perseverance nonetheless after reading your post.

  81. I’m at a SCBWI writer’s conference and my roommate and I were just talking about this! Sometimes it’s hard to justify the expense of being a writer when you’re not generating any income. But we were encouraged today by Sarah Aronson to put down the tool box and just play – just write whatever floats your boat (my words not Sarah’s). Don’t even think about publishing – write because it gives you joy. Write because you have to. So thank you Julie for helping make writing fun.

  82. Keep writing, Julie! I have been a similar funk, as well, and writing ALWAYS makes me feel better. That, and listening to/watching Emily Arrow sing, makes me go, “Ohhhh yeah! That’s why we do what we do! The kids! The love!” It can be so easy to lose sight of that when we have too much responsibility on our plates, too. (That has been happening to me, too.) So what did I do? I went and wrote a blog post about it, too. Maybe it will help you feel better or take steps in a positive direction. Here is my post: Hugs to you and many, many thanks!

  83. You stoke the words that all of us feel at one point or another. Thank you for being an inspiration and reminding us that we are all only human. Humans who write!

  84. Julie, you have a lovely way of nurturing others through your honest and inspirational posts and leadership. I feel grateful to be part of your group and to know you, even if it is online.

  85. Enjoyed reading your candid post. We certainly have those slumps, especially when life is dishing out sardines instead of chocolate! I couldn’t imagine not writing. And when my life was an incredible mess, writing saved me (prayer too!) from losing touch with my dream, even if it was small portions during the week, or month!
    Thanks for sharing with us. You rock!

  86. Thank you for sharing your candid post. Slumps are inevitable when life is dishing out sardines and not chocolate! I couldn’t imagine not writing. When I had my awful mess, writing, even if it was once a month, reminded me to keep with it no matter how I felt about life.

    Thanks again! You Rock!!

  87. Thanks, Julie! I totally relate. I didn’t realize I was a writer until that time I tried to stop writing. You are so write. It’s not an option. For me, it’s like breathing. Thanks for posting, and thank you too, Kelli!

  88. While it’s completely awful to go through what you describe here, there is some measure of comfort knowing you are not alone in it. It is something we all feel at one time or another. I’m thinking of you. You’re right, when writing is as much a part of you as breathing is, it’s not a choice. Keep breathing.

  89. Thank you Julie for sharing your heart with us. I can relate to your thoughts and frustrations at everything that comes in the way of expressing our thoughts through writing. Thanks to Kelli as well; you two are a wonderful example of team leaders!

  90. So many of us can relate to what you wrote. Thank you for sharing. It helps everyone to know that we are not alone in this writing world. We can rely on each other to help us through the highs and lows.

  91. Yes, absolutely, Julie. The roller coaster of writing, the (occasional) highs and (frequent) lows…are just part of the “way it is.” But you do make some great friends along the way and even after quite long “funky” periods there still seems to be a niggly, persistent, need to keep on writing. And huge sympathy about the back pain. Truly ghastly – I do hope it is better soon.

  92. Thank you for sharing, Julie. I got goosebumps when I came to the DNA part. That’s how I feel and life gets in the way most of the time but 12 by 12 is keeping me on track (for now). I finished a manuscript in April.
    Getting nervous about May but got the whole month. Thank you again for keeping us going. It’s amazing to be part of this community.

  93. Thanks for sharing with such openness. I like the sense of community in knowing that we are not alone. Thanks to Kelli as well.

  94. Thank you Julie for sharing and Kelli for supporting! It’s so reassuring to know that we ALL think this way sometimes and get in funks we think we can’t get out of… but always do 🙂

  95. I don’t feel that all is well with the world unless some sort of writing/revising is happening either. But sometimes nothing comes, and sometimes that “sometimes” goes on for a while. I think it is just what writers have to survive and trust that it will pass. Thank you for sharing!

  96. So inspired by this that I shared it on my facebook page. I often talk to others about hidden physical challenges we face, and here I had no idea you were dealing with all this. Grateful for how you support us all while under so much personal stress-load. thank you thank you thank you!

  97. Thanks, Julie, and perfect timing. I just received a rejection letter today. Oh, well, as you say, we writers have to write. But, as you say, we persevere. i appreciate you sharing your thoughts on how to get through the down times.

  98. Julie, perfect timing for this post as others have stated. I was in a funk for about 5 weeks and finally this past week I told myself, “Self. you’re depressed and depressing. Think of what others are seeing, hearing.” Good old self kick in the pants. Plus, my best writing bud gave me the “talk” as I’ve given her in the past. So this coming week, I’m starting a new regime as I do well with structure, goals and deadlines. Had to tell my hubby that the mornings are mine until I don’t know when. That’s when I write the best. That’s when I think the best. Writing and coffee go hand in hand. So thank you for your honesty so that others, including myself, could be honest and say, “I’ve been there. I’m there. Or I’m out of there.” Here’s to perseverance (which is a word I like to use but can never spell it right until I read it wrong and then it makes sense.) So here’s to us – writers that we be. Chin up, look under your glasses instead of over them as that helps to keep the chin up! “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A. Edison

  99. Julie-
    GreT info and advice. Finding time to write is the hardest part. My mind is always coming up with stories but getting them on paper is the challenge. With all of life’s distractions it’s tough. It’s reassuring that others are going through the same thing and even seasoned writers go through a “funk” as we all do.

  100. First off, Julie, your last line made me LOL. Second, your paragraph about your house being a mess, your temper being shorter, experiencing less motivation, & cooking less/eating more take-out…? –I was like, “Wait, is this Julie or me?” Third, a big thank you, indeed, to Kelli for encouraging you to write your blog about how you were feeling! Thank goodness for writing as a mode of expression.

  101. Kelli was right – your experience absolutely does resonate with me, and many others. I’m in a good space right now, but I’ve gone through periods of being so down on my work I haven’t been able to look at it. I won’t always feel this positive. And you won’t always feel this low. I want to thank you for your honesty in sharing. You’re a big inspiration to me!

  102. This post has come at a good time for me. I recently have been going through a funk too. (Not really for any good reasons other than life just being so busy.)
    This really resonated with me. Any time I get into one of these funks I feel like I can’t write or draw, I have no good ideas, it doesn’t matter if I do either because it won’t make any difference…and then if I can just will myself to just start, just pick up a pen or pencil and make anything, usually I realize, oh right. This is why my life has been a mess recently. I am not creating anymore.
    You have said it so much better than I could. Thank you so much for your post!

  103. Thanks for your honesty, Julie. . .and your encouragement. I am so thankful for 12×12, and your willingness to put a tremendous amount of energy and creativity into it. The generosity will be returned to you . . .saying a prayer and sending a hug to you!

  104. Hi Julie! Your post was just what I needed to hear. Yes, sometimes I feel like my writing is circling the drain, and yes sometimes I wonder if I should stop putting so much time into it, and yes I’m one of those people who HAS to write or the world feels out of balance. Feeling a new appreciation for you and your role as fearless leader of this great accountability community.

  105. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey with us, Julie. Often “prepublished” authors only see the happy/celebratory side of other authors’ publishing success, but this is a hard business all around.

  106. Thank you for your courage, I’m glad you wrote this blog and shared it with us. Now I know I’m not the only one!

  107. So often things get in the way and the writing takes a back seat. But your post offers great inspiration and encouragement. Thank you 🙂

  108. Thank you, Julie, for sharing your experience and putting into words something I have long struggled to articulate. I’ll admit that I am often a bit cranky while writing (well, mostly when I’m interrupted while writing…), but I am downright miserable (and mildly resentful) when I’m kept from writing. I feel compelled to write to stay sane, and I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this. I’m sending you best wishes as you emerge from this funk and continue on your writing journey. 🙂 Many thanks to you (and Kelli) for all that you do!

  109. Thank you for sharing this, Julie, and for the reminder that we’re all in this together–the good times and the not-so-good ones. And thanks for all the time and effort you put into encouraging and helping the rest of us through 12×12.

  110. So well said, Julie. Writing is who I am and I just can’t say goodbye to that. Sometimes it gets really hard. The work is there, but the results take time. Thanks for sharing your journey with such honesty. It inspires me to keep on even after many unpublished books. We will get there!

  111. You poured your heart into this blog and spoke the words that so many of us are feeling, have felt, or will feel in the future. Your honesty was refreshing and needed!

  112. Thanks Julie and Kelli 🙂 Thanks for being our cheer leaders. Hanging on to my pen for dear life and writing through the funk. Julie hope you feel better soon!

  113. Thanks for sharing that you, too, struggle with this journey of writing. I read a quote from Wild Mind that says: “Don’t wait for 100% acceptance of yourself before you write, or even 80%. Just write. The process of writing will teach you about acceptance.” I think this is true. Thanks for all you do for all of us in 12 x12, Julie. I hope you feel the love in return.

  114. This is exactly how I feel about illustration. If I could, my Artist’s Satement would read, “I do this so I don’t die.” I know that sounds a bit dramatic but I’m sure you all know what I mean. Our art, whether it be writing, drawing, whatever it is for you… It’s just as important to our ability to function as is the air we breathe.

  115. Thank you for sharing this, Julie (and Kelli)! It’s hard when your writing’s on hold – mine was for a long time as well until last year. Feel better and best wishes getting through the funk. And thank you for all that you do for the community!

  116. Great post. I completely understand your response. if you are a writer, you can’t NOT write. That little voice pesters you to sit down and write it down before you forget it!

  117. I feel a sense of accomplishment when something I’ve been working on for weeks, months, even years finally comes together. I just wish it would someday be good enough to share with the world.

  118. Frustrated that my comments disappear when I try to post on my laptop, but I’ll try on my phone. Thanks for your honest post. I know we can all relate to one degree or another. I definitely go through funks, but always come back to writing with a hopeful heart. Congrats on getting the April draft done! I’m celebrating my April draft, too. I have done no writing for the past month and a half due to moving craziness. But my new draft and my recent meeting with my critique group have re-energized me. I am feeling good and on course. Hope you are, too 🙂

  119. Really great post.
    Writing is such an incredible journey, and we all get in a funk sometimes. What’s amazing is knowing there is a community of people that understand and truly support each other. Thanks for helping to foster that with 12×12!

  120. Hi Julie and Kelli… Thanks for sharing, and keep hanging in there!! Hoping we’ll all come into TONS of happy and productive writing days in the months ahead!!!

  121. Thank you so much for your candor. Yes, I relate. I can not quit either. I got so stuck once I put on a writer’s block workshop. This helped me by showing how many others were in the boat of blockage as well. I based the workshop on “Unstuck” by Jane Anne Staw.
    I also found help in Julia Cameron’s book – “The Artist’s Way”. I hope in sharing these two resources someone will find them helpful.

    We must, we must, because we simply can not stop.
    M 🙂

  122. Thank you Julie for being so open and honest. We all look up to you and our accomplishments. Creating 12 x 12 to help boost up the rest of us is quite an amazing accomplishment, as well. It is nice to know I am not alone on this quiet, solitary journey. Critique groups and 12 x 12 help, but your helped immensely showed me that we are all “there.” Thanks again. here’s to more good days, then bad.

  123. Thank you for sharing this so openly. It is always comforting to hear about the difficult side of things that other writers are going through, to know that we’re not alone. And, know that YOU are not alone, either!

  124. Kelli – Thank you for encouraging Julie to write this wonderful post.
    Julie – Your words of truth and wit exemplifies the makeup of a true writer!
    I especially love “It’s in my DNA” and “Being a writer is who I AM.”
    Thanks for sharing your heart with us, and for continuing to work hard in making 12×12 a place we can find the inspiration and motivation that is so needed in being great writers!! 🙂

  125. Thank you for your truly honest post. We all get “stuck” at times and it is rewarding to see we are not alone with the 12×12 family.

  126. Your honest words are on the mark for me and many others I’m sure. Currently I feel the need to step away from writing so that I can come back to it. Sounds funny but I do believe it will happen this way because, as you said, the stories and the desire to share them is deep in my fabric. I wanted to take a break without promising my return – this way I’m not disappointing anyone while I’m away. During this break I hope to gain clarity of mind and heart through art expression for now.

  127. Hi Julie, I’m loving 12×12. I didn’t know it existed till this year, but am loving the community, the motivation and the support….Danielle

  128. It’s a shame we can’t see ourselves the way others see us. If we could, we would probably feel less self conscious and more in awe of our strength. At least that is my hope. Thank you for sharing.

  129. I’m so sorry for everything you’re going through. It’s enough that you’re in real physical pain and have kids to care for and a home to manage. I can’t understand your point about the bad mood not writing puts you in. I feel the same. But one needs to be in a certain state to be able to put down meaningful words on paper. Please don’t be too hard on yourself. To many, like myself, you’re a hero.

    Get well soon xxx

  130. Julie, I should expect nothing less at this point, as you have always been open about the challenges of a writing life, but let me just say thank you for your unmitigated honesty. We all struggle, we all fall into days (weeks…months) when we think “it’s just me” “others stay positive” “I should throw in the towel” – but just knowing that others persevere when it’s hard, just knowing that it’s HARD for others, is so reassuring. May God bless you and guide you and support you through the tough times. We look forward to celebrating with you as the funk-y days fall behind you and the happy ones return, AS they surely will.

  131. .Thank you, Julie, for sharing your doubts and frustrations and encouraging advice. I think we as writers are especially prone to doubt, introspection and self-flagellation, and it’s good to remind ourselves to get out of our heads and just write (because what else can we do?). Thank you!

  132. Thank you for sharing what’s going on with you. It’s good to have a place to share both challenges and successes and you’ve created that place for me and a lot of people. What you say about giving up writing is so true!

  133. I have read your post over and over. It contains the same sentiment that I often express to my husband, “I think I’m going to hang this writing stuff up!” and he calmly, graciously says, “You can’t.” And I come back with, “I know.” I can’t not write. The only thing that makes me feel better when I don’t write is to write. What I appreciate so much about 12×12 is the honesty that writing is more than publishing. A worthy goal, but not the end all. We cheer for all those that finally get to that path, but we also cheer for those that write because writing is worthy. Period. Julie, you are living out your purpose. Thanks for choosing the harder road. It is keeping so many of us true to living ours.

  134. Julie, this should be a pinned post. Seriously, we should all read this once a month. Or once a week. Or, on the HOUR. I received two rejections this week on a manuscript that is so dear to my heart, I wondered if anyone would ever GET IT. Or GET ME. Super funk. But everything you said here is true. It’s not what we DO, it’s who we ARE. And we’ll all persist, defunk, and celebrate the thing that we ARE together. Thanks to you and Kelli…for this, and for all you do for all of us. xoxo

  135. Thank you, Julie, for sharing what you are going through and confirming that funk is part of the journey. You and Kelli create a very healthy environment to learn, share, and commiserate through 12 x 12. You are right, we can’t stop writing when we love to play with words. So go play and be you!

  136. Julie, you are so very brave to put into words what I’m sure so many of us feel –at least I know I have been feeling this. Love you, lady.

  137. Oh Julie! You’re amazing…through all your pain you’re still inspiring other writers, running 12 x 12, traveling to Bologna, and working through a funk. I know inspiration will strike when you least expect it. Take care of yourself. You have an army of support behind you!

  138. Thanks and warm thoughts to you, Julie. its so important to have a community of writers with us. I so appreciate this group and my critique groups and SCBWI over the years. This is a scary calling at times because all good writing is baring your soul, putting yourself “out there” and I appreciate the “next step” you took to tell us of your hard times and how you are pulling through them. Keep on keeping, on! I can’t count the number of times I’ve thought of quitting but you are right, its in my soul and I can’t.

  139. Writing funks are the worst and, at least for me, it’s so easy to NOT find time to write. I’m happy that this post was cathartic for you, and hopefully catapults you out of your funk.

  140. Your post was perfectly timed. I am questioning myself, but know that I have to do this just as much as I have to breathe.

  141. Thanks Julie for your never ending inspiration. I am sorry about your struggles with your health. I have had a life upheaval with my oldest daughter suffering a nervous break down after leaving a toxic long term relationship. This month I gave up on my new draft. I will continue to revise and write. Stay calm and write when you can! It’s what makes our souls sing. Diane

  142. Your post was an uplifting example of not wallowing in whatever physical or emotional issues may be plaguing us. You turned the situation around and wrote a PB draft. Anyone who accomplishes their writing goals under difficult circumstances should acknowledge her or his strength and remember it for the next time.

  143. Dear Julie,

    I am happy for you that you have been able to write and to see your work published. May you have more days, seasons, phases when you will see more of your work published. However, had you never yet been published, please take pride in having created something that, at least for me, took me out of a life of complete aloneness concerning writing picture books. I have lived in a town of 25,000 for over 25 years. One hundred miles of desert separates our town in every drivable direction from the next town. And when it comes to children’s literature, and particularly picture books, I have found no one who effervesces over them. Sadly, even school teachers seem to have little appreciation for them, simply because they were too bogged down in their credentialing program to engage in what I believe is a life long enrichment in a type of literature that involves sight and sound, looking and listening in order to touch the soul. Although I have been a substitute teacher for our public schools for several years, my life credential is for adults. And I would like to say here that PICTURE BOOKS ARE FOR ALL AGES. Thanks to your dedication to 12 X 12 I am barely able to keep up on the opportunities to learn from you and the other 12 X 12 members who post questions I’ve never thought of and point out articles I never knew existed. Furthermore, how you are right now is how everyone of us will, at some point, will probably find ourselves. So thank you for sharing not an article with a tip, but a part of what is real about writing. I definitely feel for you–seated on a plane to and from Barcelona, adjusting to different mattresses. A trip like that can certainly stress out a back that’s already doing its best to maintain. You have been in my prayers.

  144. This post hit home. My mom keeps telling me she knows of a job as an office manager. I would be a horrible office manager because I’m disorganized, but I seriously considered it last week. Freelance writing is not for the faint of heart.

  145. Thank you Julie. And thanks to everybody in our community who shared their slumps. I, too, love how I feel when i am happily and hopefully writing!

  146. It is easy to forget to Breathe In when we are used to giving out so much to others. I hope you see Julie that there are so many of us invisibles out here who appreciate you and relate very well. Usually something unexpected and meant just-for-us happens that is the relief and encouragement we need. Virtual hug.

  147. Every writer I know (myself included) has gone through a period of extreme frustration and self-doubt. Thanks for the words of wisdom.

  148. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is knowing I’ll regret it if I give up now. I have to remind myself that I wrote even when I loved my job and was super busy with young kids. So, it’s not like the writing is going away. I also know that I’ll have to push through slumps to get published. But it’s hard—and harder when you can’t exercise and don’t feel well. So, I’m hoping your routines return to normal soon, Julie. With all these good wishes, it’s sure to happen.

  149. Thank you for the post! This post definitely voices feelings we all have ,and thank you for sharing how you work through them!

  150. Your post was like sitting down to tea with a friend and having a nice check in. Thank you for the check in.

  151. Thanks Julie. You’re right about writing being a part of you so it is impossible to quit! Well said.

  152. So true about not being able to stop writing when it’s part of your self! I sometimes envy my non-writer friends and family members who simply “switch off” from their work. Those are the times I’m in writing funks myself or have just received yet another rejection… But when I really step back and think about it, I wouldn’t want my life any other way. Writing and being creative are in my blood! I feel for you Julie; it’s no fun being in a writing funk. But I thank you for your bravery at opening up and writing to us about it. You’ve helped us all by doing so. All best for your writing now and in the future!

  153. Amazing post. Thanks Julie and Kelli. I’ve really struggled to get any writing done these past t.wo months (pregnant with a toddler – I collapse into oblivion at 7pm!) but I feel so unhappy about it. Every day brings a new resolution to get back into it.

    It’s good to know even established writers have funks too. It doesn’t spell the end.

  154. Thank you Julie for a supportive and honest post. I am so very thankful for the work you and Kelli are doing with 12×12. Not sure how April got so busy, but I know without 12×12 a new MS would not have happened.

  155. Julie, I wrote in January about what 12 x 12 has meant to me and how the entire writing community has, unknowingly, supported me and lifted me out of my despair at the general state of the world many times. I am so grateful to you and Kelli and the good karma that you put forth. I don’t know where I would be as a writer or as a person if I hadn’t stumbled upon 12 x 12 and I can’t foresee a time when I wouldn’t want to be a part of this beautiful creation of yours.

    I am just now, after a solid 2 1/2 years of learning and working and networking, getting comfortable calling myself a writer. Of course, that’s crazy, because I have been PAID to write as part of my profession since 1991. I never realized in all that time that it really is true, what is said about writers – they are a miserable, neurotic, delicate bunch. I find that now, just when people are beginning to praise some of my work, or at least acknowledge that it doesn’t totally suck, I am more and more blocked. I am harassed by my own doubts – Am I a fraud? Can I really do this as a profession? Can I ever stop the perfectionism and let my creativity go unbridled? What if I never have another good idea?, etc., etc., etc. And yet, I still go on. I at least have the advantage of being old enough to fully know that I’ve got nothing to lose. So why not keep going?

    Just know that every day in every moment, we all impact the world around us. We can choose to make a positive impact or a negative one. You, obviously, chose to make a positive one. No matter what happens in “the business” with your writing, you are already a spectacular success. You have helped so many people who will help so many more. Collectively we will touch the lives of thousands or millions of children. And the world will be a better place because of what you have started.

    Some day we will end up in the same room together and I will be the crazy lady racing towards you to give you the hug of a lifetime. Until then, keep going, Girl. You’ve got this! 😉

  156. Julie! I so relate to your funk. I just had a pinched nerve diagnosed in my neck, too, which has slowed me down tremendously. I finally got Dragon voice activated software which is helping a lot. I sympathize! Great post and I’m glad it helped get you out of your funk! Hope you feel better soon.

  157. It is encouraging to hear this for me. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one that gets those from time to time. My new mantra: this too shall pass.

  158. Thanks for, once again, being such an encouragement! Ironically, I, too, have been dealing with a herniated disc issue this year and one of the things that aggravates that is sitting at my desk writing! Whenever I spend a few hours at the computer I wind up with that numbness down my arm and ache in my shoulder blade. It sometimes makes me feel very defeated and frustrated so I feel ya! Healing from this takes time and patience – I have neither ;).

    I do agree with your comment about writing being a part of who I am. I love to write – whether an article, blog post or manuscript it brings me a great deal of fulfillment WHEN I am inspired, but there are those times when I’m not and it’s frustrating! To know we all are in that boat paddling together sometimes is a great comfort. Thanks for the reminder!

  159. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement. I needed to read this because lately I’ve been hearing a lot of well-meaning, but ultimately UNhelpful comments along the lines of, “If you don’t have a published PB in a couple more years, then I’m sure you’ll be ready to try something else.” Ummm…NO! It’s great to be part of a community of writers who get it.

  160. So true, Julie. Your honesty is very appreciated, and it’s encouraging to have this truth related by you who has initiated this forum to help folks “keep buggering on” with a pursuit they can’t not do because of who they are in this lifetime. Well done!

  161. Thank you for this beautiful post. The self doubt can be crippling at times, and reading this has made me feel much more determined to go on. Happy May, happy writing and many thanks.

  162. Oh, Julie. It hurt my heart to hear you struggling so much and yet, I appreciated your candor and honesty. You are so right- if writing is “who you are” it is impossible to quit. Walk away. Slam the door. I hope you take some comfort in the knowledge that your hard work, caring and kindness helps all of us when we arrive in Funkville. Thank you, Kelli, for encouraging Julie to write this post. I hope it was as therapeutic for you, Julie, as it was for me.

  163. I find writing picture books constrictive at times – so many rules. Sometimes, if I just write a short piece – one simple topic, then I can work with it to coax it into a children’s piece. Appreciate your blog.

  164. I was so happy to read your post Julie! Although my heart goes out to you and the physical issues you have been dealing with. I wish you healthy healing!

    I have been ‘forced’ away from my writing by numerous consecutive family responsibilities these past few weeks! My computer and I toss frustrated glances at each other as I whip through the living room with no time to connect….AACK!

    Your post was inspiring and gave me incentive to get up at 5am tomorrow for a secret meeting with those shiny black alphabetized keys! Aaahhh …I can hear the ‘clicks’ of the keyboard and the smell of morning coffee!

  165. Thanks for keepin’ it real, Julie. We truly are all in this together. Here’s to filling the well, and faking it ’til we make it 🙂

  166. You are so brave for sharing this part of your journey. I’m sure we have all been in a rut at some point or another–I sure have! But your writing friends are here to help pick you up, dust you off, and sit your butt in that chair for some writing time! Keep going, you are awesome, and you can do this!

  167. Thanks, Julie, for this post. It resonates with me on many levels. Often I have stopped writing when my pain is high or when I am emotionally drained due to life events. I always come back to my writing. It’s just something I need to do.

  168. Julie, reading your post encouraged me to forge ahead. The way you described how you felt about your writing at times is exactly how I feel. Some days I want to cry and some days I do cry – but then I have that day where the wind is at my back and I can’t stop! Thank you for sharing. It is so nice not to be alone. 🙂

  169. This too shall pass! Thank you for sharing so openly with us, Julie. We are all in this with you. The ups and downs are non-stop, but it’s the journey that shapes our writing for the better. So grateful for this supportive and encouraging community 🙂

  170. So encouraging to hear even YOU go through things like this (not, of course to you, but to me!). Thanks for opening your kimono, Julie.

  171. I’ve had a lousy year too, Julie, Keep working. I have to believe that little dark rain cloud will move on eventually. (I hope not to anyone else here!)

  172. Thank you Julie (& Kelli) – some story ideas popped up in the eleventh hour before check-in deadline. I am glad to not be alone when the writing funk strikes. And should the writing funk strike again I will remember this post and will read it over again. Then put my pen to the paper and let it go.

  173. What a perfect way to put it. Yup quitting is not an option. You might pause for a minute though. Take a break from subbing. But in your head in your mind you never stop writing. That is what drives me to keep coming back to the world. Thanks for boosting up!

  174. Ahh, those darn life delays do seem to get in the way!! I went through a ” life” fog. It does clear and become sunny again. Often not as you thought it would. Perhaps in after a chat with a friend or after a long walk or in a dream. Mine was at a spa doing a breathing session when the clouds parted and the words ” Just Do It! ” appeared. So my advise to these funks….”Just Do It!”

  175. Thank you for sharing so honestly, Julie. Not just for this post, but throughout these past years since launching and facilitating 12×12. This writing community has kept me going and I am beyond thankful for it and for you!

  176. Thank you for this Julie. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing the tough times. I hope your pain improves soon and that those words come flying out. Thank you for writing this post.

  177. Thank you for sharing Julie! I feel like this post spoke straight to me. I’ve been struggling through some serious health issues this year, but I am still writing. I even managed to work though my critique group manuscripts while on bed rest. It’s the one thing that makes me happy, and I can’t imagine giving up. I wish you the best working though your challenges and funk too.

  178. This is very helpful this month. I’ve been in a funk, too. Life has been life-y and I got a couple of hard rejections recently. I couldn’t stop writing, though. I really truly couldn’t .

  179. Thank you Julie. I hope you feel better soon. And thank you Kelli for encouraging Julie to write about her funk!
    Now I was in the middle of reading an article about scientific (military) experiments where they hook up people’s brains to tiny electrical currents and apparently this improves focus, boosts energy levels and improves moods.
    Of course it is in the early testing stages and it is for the military, but I couldn’t stop thinking how nice this would be for regular people. Just hook up your brain and funk be gone! 🙂
    (Provided there are no bad side effects, of course …)

  180. Julie,
    You’re definitely an inspiration. And, yes, I know EXACTLY what you mean when you say you can’t quit.
    Thanks for the pep talk!

  181. Julie,
    I’ve asked myself this question, and answered it (so far) the same way you did. Thank you for being so direct about this. For others asking the question, also ask yourself whether you feel equally bad about other things in your life. If everything is horrible, it might be depression. For me, exercise and sunlight and springtime help lift my spirits and give me hope. But when you have pain and can’t get exercise, that is bound to color everything else in your life. My best wishes for a lasting recovery and renewed energy.

  182. MaryLee Flannigan
    Thank you for sharing with us Julie. I hope you are doing better and Funk be Gone! I love the 12×12 group and am so appreciative to have found you.

  183. Thanks for sharing, Julie. I feel the same way! When I first began writing seriously, I took an online class that ended up being all about the fastest way to get published. I remember thinking at the time, “I don’t just want to be published!” That’s why I appreciate 12 x12 so much – it is such a supportive group that is all about improving your craft. Eventually, I’m sure we’d all love to be published, but for me, the process is as important and the end result.

  184. Thank you, Julie, for being our fearless leader and sharing your deep moments with us. It is these relatable feelings that allow me to continue to persue this passion. Despite the rejections, just received one 2 minutes ago in my inbox, I will continue to write . Why? Because I have to. It’s me. ❤️

  185. Thank you so much for your candid and honest sharing, Julie. It can’t have been easy! As someone who’s been in a very different sort of creative funk, it rang true for me.

    Wishing you a visit soon from the muse or the writing fairy godmother or the health elves or whatever other whimsical creature can help pull you out of the PB writing abyss. Summer is coming! 🙂

  186. Julie, what a humble and relatable post! I think we all encounter those writing slumps when we wonder what we are spending all of this time and energy for. However, I have found that every time I have tried to quit, it doesn’t work. You’re correct. If it’s who we are, it’s impossible to walk away. I can always tell when I haven’t taken care of my writer self because I get grumpy with everything else. In a sense, writing keeps me healthy and sane. It was lovely to see you post this and it made me feel so much less alone. Thank you for not being afraid to share what you’re really going through. I hope you feel back in the swing of things again soon!

  187. Thank you, Julie, for sharing these pearls of inspiration. You made the point so vividly that I know I won’t forget it – even in the midst of a funk!

  188. Cyber hugs, Julie! I know how it feels to be in a funk, to have life interrupt the writing journey & to feel so lost without writing. Agreed – writing’s in our DNA. Thankfully, we have this super supportive group – I’m so grateful that you started 12×12 & that you, Kelli, & a whole team of volunteers keep it going. Could go on & on, but just back from NESCBWI 16 & am exhausted & exhilarated & so happy to have connected with so many 12x12ers there!

  189. What an insightful and heart-lifting post. Thanks to Kelli and thanks to you for putting it up for all who have (and that includes 99.9% of us) been in the rejection pile time and time again. And back pain is awful! Hope it gets better!!

  190. Thanks for sharing this. I totally agree that you either have writing in your blood or you don’t and if its in your blood it’s not something you can give up. But it is something that can be hard at times.

  191. Julie your blog reveals that you are willing to show your own vunerability .I am so sorry your health has affected your urge to write but so glad that you can write about who you are- a writer first and foremost. Julie, 12×12 has been an inspiration to me and I thank you expescially since I know now what you have been battling.Kelli was wise to let you tell all. I will persist I don’t think i’m a Picture Book writer but i have learned to appreciate those who are .writing each month has mad me find good ideas and the encouragement this wonderful group of writers gives is worth so much.Thank you. Blessings for better health.

  192. Thank you Julie, and hope this helps you toward the other side of your writing funk! Have felt lately that I need an answer for “why do I do this?” Your post helps me decide it’s a legitimate choice if it matters to me, whatever others happen to think.

  193. I should have read this 6 days ago – it may have lifted my ‘funk’ earlier!!! Thanks for your refreshing honesty. It’s a comfort to know this happens to everyone. Feeling very much in limbo at the moment which is for sure affecting my writing progress….Reading this makes me realise it’s time to snap out of it!! May draft, here we come!!

  194. Great post, Julie!! Whether I ever become published or not, I cannot imagine a day without writing… as W. Somerset Maugham said, We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.

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