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12 X 12 Featured Author February 2019 – Vivian Kirkfield

12 x 12 Featured Author February 2019 – Vivian Kirkfield

12 x 12 Vivian Kirkfield with characters

Vivian Kirkfield is making her picture book debut this year with three new books! Now before you think Vivian is an overnight success, let me fill you in on a little secret. This particular Featured Author post has been postponed two different YEARS, because the first book she signed a deal for was postponed two years! It will now be her third book published. This business is crazy, fickle, and slow, but Vivian, a charter member of 12 x 12, is proof that if you keep working on your craft, keep writing, and keep participating in the kidlit community, you CAN make it happen. We love you, Vivian and we couldn’t be more excited for your success! 

Building a Strong Foundation for a Successful Writing Career

Did you ever play with blocks when you were a kid? The bigger you built your bridge, the stronger a foundation you needed. Otherwise…BOOM! In the same way, if you ever bought a house, you probably had it inspected to make sure everything was in good condition. And one of the first things the inspector checked was…you got it…the foundation. A strong foundation is needed for every project that is built…whether it’s a bridge of blocks, a home you share with your family, or your writing career.

Pippas Passover Plate by Vivian Kirkfield

Yup, it’s true – your writing career needs a strong foundation. I was so very fortunate because, in 2012, when I decided to become a picture book author, Julie Hedlund had decided to start the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. Write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months. Easy-peasy, right? After all, a picture book is ONLY 32 pages. Of course, I am joking, because that actually makes it harder. You can only use a limited number of words so, you have to make each one of them fight for the right to step into the light. Ha! Can you tell I love to write in rhyme? In fact, one of the first stories I wrote was Pippa’s Passover Plate which will be a real book in just a few days, published by Holiday House and illustrated by Jill Weber.

If I may, let me backtrack a bit. During the first 64 years of my life, I wore many hats: kindergarten teacher, day care provider, registered representative for my husband’s financial planning company, book catalogue typist, service desk associate at Marshalls, gardener, crafter, wife, mother, but always a lover of picture books. In 2011, the year I turned 64, my son gave me a very unusual birthday gift.

He took me skydiving.

Vivian Kirkfield skydive 2I loved it! The dive was thrilling, but the best part was that when my feet touched the ground, I knew that if I could jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I could do just about anything.

And what I wanted to do was write picture books and become a traditionally published picture book author.

So, I joined 12 x 12 and hunkered down to start writing my first story. I participated in Susanna Leonard Hill’s many writing contests: Valentiny, Halloweensie, and her ever-popular Holiday Contest. I also took part in Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo – now called Storystorm – a month-long celebration of finding inspiration for story ideas. I joined a few critique groups because I realized that even though I got A’s in English, that did not mean I knew how to write a picture book story. Every month, I wrote a rough draft. Then I would revise it. Send it to a couple of critique buddies. And revise again based on their feedback. Month by month, my pile of stories grew and by the end of 2012, I had TWELVE pb manuscripts! Not yet ready for prime time…but still, I had some stories.

The next year, in 2013, I got even more serious about my writing. Julie had implemented agent submissions for the challenge and I was able to send off some of those manuscripts. Most of the feedback I got sounded like this:

Hmmm…if you are going to write in rhyme, it has to be perfect. Why not try this story in prose?

Hmmm…I don’t think you have a story here yet – but the writing is lovely.

Hmmm…she puts her brother in a box and mails him to the zoo? We don’t want to encourage kids to do dangerous things (I guess that was way before Oliver Jeffers wrote STUCK 😊).

You get the picture. I had a lot of manuscripts, but they needed a lot of work. I needed to find out how to make them better. So, the next year, in 2014, I took some online picture book writing classes. FIVE of them. (Please don’t try this at home! 😊) Honestly, I don’t recommend this for anyone. Because it was a bit overwhelming to process so much information in such a short space of time. Pretty much one after the other, I took Susanna Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic, Renee LaTulippe’s Lyrical Language Lab, Jodell Sadler’s Pacing Picture Books to WOW, Kristen Fulton’s Nonfiction Archaeology, and Mira Resiberg’s Illustrating Children’s Picture Books. Oh, and yes, I actually took a sixth class. I had won Emma Walton Hamilton’s Just Write 4 Kids, a self-paced class that used five classic picture books as mentor texts.

And guess what? By the end of 2014, I had a bigger pile of picture book manuscripts. But even better, I was getting more positive feedback. One of the stories I sent was a lyrical free verse about endangered animals called, Visitors to Deep Pool.

Hey…this is lovely. In fact, it is pure poetry. It’s too quiet for me, but I’m sure someone else will grab it.

Four Otter Toboggan by Vivian KirkfieldHa…have you heard that one already? For three more years, no one grabbed it (this business of writing requires an infinite amount of patience). But then, at the end of 2017, someone else did grab it. We changed the title (don’t stress out about your titles, the editor might change it anyway) because the editor thought it sounded like science fiction. And, on March 15 of this year, Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book published by Pomegranate and illustrated by Mirka Hokkanen will splash, slide, tiptoe, toboggan, flit and flutter into bookstores everywhere.

When 2015 dawned, I set a new goal. I was going to get an agent. Again, the 12 x 12 Challenge had given me not only a great foundation, but the 12 x 12 members were always there in a supportive and encouraging role, whether I went to the Forum to ask for feedback on a pitch or I posted a question on the Facebook page. And I SUBMITED! To agents who were in the monthly 12 x 12 roster. To agents I found on #MSWL (Hashtag Manuscript Wish List – a twitter list containing the wish lists of various editors and agents. To agents via my pitches on #PitMad, and #PBParty which are both Twitter pitch challenges. And I sent manuscripts to several agents who were open to submission. One of them responded within an hour that she loved my story. This was the first nonfiction picture book manuscript I had written and I had worked really hard with critique partners to polish it. By the summer of 2015, I had four agents asking for more work…good thing I had more work to send them. That’s a really important point to remember. Most agents want to represent you as their client…for your whole body of work, not just for one story. 12 x 12 helped me to build a strong foundation with a base of lots of manuscripts. And by the fall, I had decided to accept Essie White’s offer of representation. As soon as the contract was signed, sealed and delivered, Essie sent out that first story she had fallen in love with. Within two months, we had a book deal and Sweet Dreams, Sarah, published by Creston Books and illustrated by Chris Ewald, will launch on May 1…or maybe April 1. That’s another thing about this publishing business, nothing is guaranteed.

Sweet Dreams Sarah by Vivian KirkfieldWell, that’s not quite true. There is something that is guaranteed. If becoming a picture book author (or illustrator) is your passion, if you are willing to put in the time and be productive, if you can muster the patience required, and if you are persistent and never give up, I guarantee that it will happen for you. Because I truly believe that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE IF YOU CAN IMAGINE IT.

My dear 12 x 12ers…go forth and multiply those manuscripts. Develop a stockpile of stories. Take classes, attend webinars, go to conferences. Surround yourself with encouraging and supportive critique partners. And utilize the vibrant platform that Julie has created for us. Build a strong foundation and you will succeed!


Writer for children—reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. Her bucket list contains many more than five words – but she’s already checked off skydiving, parasailing and banana-boat riding. When she isn’t looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books in the quaint village of Amherst, NH where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her young grandson is her favorite board game partner. A retired kindergarten teacher with a masters in Early Childhood Education, Vivian inspires budding writers during classroom visits and shares insights with aspiring authors at conferences and on her blog, Picture Books Help Kids Soar. She is the author of PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House); FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate); SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books); MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books); and FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVESrom Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). You can connect with her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, or just about any place people with picture books are found.

This month, Vivian is offering a picture book manuscript critique to one lucky winner! Write your draft and do a revision for you best chance to win!

This Post Has 456 Comments
  1. Dear Vivian, you are an inspiration from skydiving to revision diving to “going forth and multiplying manuscripts.” Your determination is contagious! Thank you for sharing your journey to publishing and for reminding us how important it is to have a strong foundation in our writing careers and in our stories. Congratulations on the three books you have coming out this year! I just love how your hard work produced a well deserved trifecta!

  2. I just ordered Pippa’s Passover Plate for the library where I work! I am really looking forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing your writer’s journey. I am still building my pile of stories but working on moving forward all the time.

  3. Vivian, I’m so happy for your (well-deserved and hard-earned) success! I already have all three books on order. Thank you for always being a cheerleader for the rest of us. You’re the best! 🙂

  4. Vivian, you are such an inspiration and I have loved getting to know you over the past few months. Each interview gives me another detail showing how wonderful you are! So happy to share our debuts together and I can’t wait to see what you have coming up next!

    1. And I’m excited about ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON…just a couple of weeks, right. I think it launches on the day I fly to Sydney, Feb 19th. I’m so glad we’ve connected and can support one another!

  5. Vivian,
    Your background and bucket list sound a lot like mine (except for the skydiving part).
    I’ve been at this writing thing for years now. 12×12 has been a part of me for at least five years now. I have tons of drafts but maybe two about ready for submission. I have a question: did you start your blog, website ,and join all the online things after you had a contract signed? I sort of hate to do all that when I may be just drafting and revising for another ten years. I feel like it would take up valuable writing and conferencing time.

    1. Hello Anne…what a great question! I actually started my blog/website and all my social media WAY before I signed my first contract. What happened is that I self-published a parenting book and realized I needed to get the word out so that I could connect with parents and teachers. The book was published at the tail end of 2010…I was such a newbie when it came to blogging and social media and anything tech…but I muddled through and, as I got more confident, I connected with kidlit FB groups. I’d say that being active on social media (only what you are comfortable with) and having a website/blog…even if it is only a one page about you, is a very important step to take. Then, when your books start coming out (which they will!!!!!!!), you will already have an author ‘platform’…a place where people know they can find you and where they will already be following you/connected to you.

  6. I enjoyed learning even more about your life and writing journey Vivian. This article is chock-a-bloc full of excellent advice. Wishing you continued writing success!
    Oh and now I want to try sky-diving!

  7. Great post, Vivian! Thank you for giving us a peek at your publishing journey and for sharing your insights on how important it is to have a strong foundation and to persevere in your writing!!

  8. Vivian,
    This post is very inspiring to me. I have a similar background with 25 years as an educator. It was also very helpful to hear what you have gone through in order to get published.
    Best of luck with your books,

  9. Thanks for sharing your incredible story. Like you, I started my writing career later in life. You are an inspiration!

  10. Thank you for sharing your incredible journey, and that it’s never too late to start a writing career. I now understand about that strong foundation. Congratulation!

  11. Such an inspiring, encouraging story! Five classes in one year is daunting, to say the least, but wow! You obviously have stamina and look how it all paid off. Congrats and continued success!

  12. Great post Vivian. Fun to see that we piggybacked each other in the classes. You have worked so hard and built a great foundation of work, contacts, and friends. I am so glad your books have found homes! Looking forward to seeing the “second story” in your career. <3

  13. Vivian, you are the epitome of the inspiration! I am so lucky to know you! Your writing journey shows us how persistent and strong we have to be! Congrats to you! You deserve every success!

  14. I don’t think I have the guts for sky diving, but I hope I have the perseverance to pull off picture book writing!

  15. Vivian,
    Thank you! So inspiring! Can’t wait to read ALL your books!!
    PS I’ve always said I wouldn’t… but maybe I’ll even sky dive one day after reading your post!

  16. Vivian, you are a bright light in the kidlit community and an inspiration to many, including me! Thank you for sharing your story with us!

  17. Thank you, Vivian! Your post is so inspiring and just what I needed to hear. I sometimes think my age (68) is a major roadblock, but I guess I can’t use that excuse anymore! Congratulations on your success and for your example of perseverance.

  18. You really worked hard! Thank you for sharing your writing journey. I love hearing how persistence pays off.

  19. Oh, Vivian, this is so exciting! I am so pleased that you’re debuting with three books in one year! What everyone else has said. It couldn’t happen to a nicer, kinder, awesomer (is that a word? LOL) member of our kidlit community. Congratulations one-hundredfold! <3 <3

  20. Vivian is such a positive influence and inspiration for us all. Couldn’t be happier to see her hard work pay off! ❤️

  21. Wow! What an awesome birthday gift! Sticking that landing is an adrenaline rush for sure. Thank you for sharing your writing journey. Congrats on your triple debut and wish you many more.

  22. Thanks for the fantastic overview of your journey Vivian. You are always so positive and optimistc! It’s inspiring and so very much appreciated. Congratulations on a wonderful 2019!

  23. Dear Vivian, your writing journey is amazing! You have given me hope by showing that it’s never too late to begin writing picture books. Congratulations on your success as a picture book writer and on the books that are coming out this year. I can’t wait to read them! I am so happy for you!

  24. Thank you for the reminder that perseverance is key in this business. Congratulations on all your accomplishments.

  25. Vivian,
    Thank you so much for your inspiring words! I have followed you on social media and the 12×12 FB page. I’m thrilled for your upcoming book releases and can’t wait to read your published words. Many, many congrats!

  26. You are such an inspiration, Vivian! Thank you so much for sharing your story and for being an encouraging soul to all of us along our kid lit journey. Congratulations on your upcoming books and I wish you many years of success to come!

  27. Vivian, your zest for life and vibrant passion for picture books is simply infectious. When I first got started on my kidlit journey, I was happy to connect with you, and always felt so supported by your encouraging words. You’re sincere and giving, and our community is so lucky to have you!

    I really appreciate the positivity and message of perseverance that you’ve featured in your post. I whole-heartedly believe in the same philosophy. Seek out growth, keep at it, and bring about your dreams. That’s what we’re all doing, and I still feel so assured that things will pan out. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  28. I love your dogged determination and enthusiasm. You really show the lows and highs of a writer but still remain encouraging. It’s enough to make the rest of us say, “If that is what it takes, full speed ahead.”

  29. Vivian,I love your dogged determination and enthusiasm. You really show the lows and highs of a writer but still remain encouraging. It’s enough to make the rest of us say, “If that is what it takes, full speed ahead.”

  30. Vivian, your amazing positivity and encouragement is always an inspiration for us to KEEP GOING! Hard work and persistence are the watch words. Thank you for sharing your journey and best of luck with your three books this year!

  31. Vivian,
    Thank you so much for this post- sincerely! I hit a low point yesterday, and told my husband that some success needed to come my way because I was feeling so discouraged. I turn 64 this month, and I have been occasionally drifting into the “I’m too old” mood. You have inspired me to embrace my dream and look forward and be brave. I am working this year to be “all in” and not hold back, but, at the same time, not be crazy with signing up for everything. I laughed out loud at your comment about classes. I forced myself to take a break this month from a writing class opportunity because it would have been too much. Thank you for this early morning inspiration.

    1. Oh my goodness…hurray, Mary! I am so so so thrilled you are ‘all in’…and I can’t wait to hear lots of good news from you. I hope you participate in #50PreciousWords…who knows what might come from that!

  32. Vivian, I’m so excited for your success! And thrilled that you’ll be at the NESCBWI conference — and presenting, too! See you soon!

  33. Vivian, I’ve met you in person (at the NESCBWI conference), entered your 50-words contest, and read your tweets. You’re an inspiration and I always love hearing what you have to say, like in this motivational post. Congrats on your well-deserved success. I can’t wait to read your books!

  34. Hi Vivian! Thanks for sharing what it takes to be an overnight success built on a strong foundation! What a glorious year for you! Dreams do come true if acted upon.

  35. Thanks so much for your great post! I’m always fascinated by the different paths that authors take to get to publication, and always reminded — patience!

  36. Vivian, I’m so happy for you. You truly are the model for patience, perseverance, and productivity…all the things we kidlit writers need to embrace in this crazy business! Thank you for sharing your journey. I cannot wait to read your books!

  37. Thank you ,Vivian, for such an inspiring post about your overnight success! I love that you went sky diving and parasailing. Is hang gliding on that list? As a 70 year old pre- published author I joined 12 x12 after being encouraged to do so by my critique partner. ( achieved getting a critique partner as my goal in 2018). Improving my craft and stockpiling more drafts are the goals for 2019. Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing your path with us.

  38. Thank you for this story of you! Congratulations on your books: I assume there will be many more picture books to come. 🙂

  39. Vivian, such a wise and lovely post! Thank you for all the support you give to all of us in Picture Book Writing Land, and big congratulations to you on your BIG YEAR, 2019. Good luck with all the promotional things you’ll be doing — I know you’re going to love getting your books out into the world.

  40. This post struck such a chord with me, Vivian! I enjoyed hearing that you began your journey with stockpiles of manuscripts. I find that I keep writing and polishing new manuscripts, but hardly ever submit them before moving on to a new idea. My 3rd child starts preschool this fall and I keep envisioning my dream of “steady submissions” as a slingshot that’s just waiting to take off!

  41. Vivian, persistence is the word ! Your post was inspiring and I was so happy to hear about your journey. Thanks for sharing.

  42. Three books in 2019!! One of the hardest working authors in the business! I cannot wait to enter for a chance at a critique by the one and only Vivian! Thank you Julie and 12×12!

  43. Your analogy using the foundation of house is perfect. Great reminder Vivian about building a strong foundation, learning the craft, putting in dedicated hours and work. You did that and we are all learning from your success. Thank you for wanting to help shape all of us here in the 12X12 family.

  44. Vivian,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story and your wisdom — keep building that MS pile high!!

    I appreciate all you have shared and can’t wait to keep reading all your new stories as they hit the shelves.

  45. Lovely interview! And so encouraging! Thanks for encouraging us! Congratulations on your successes and may there be many more!

  46. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Vivian! I read this immediately after making my writing & illustrating to-do list for 2019, and it was exactly the inspiration I needed to feel energized about this year.

  47. What a truthful AND inspiring post! And I just love the illustration of you and your “critters.” It radiates pure happiness!

  48. You are such an inspiration, Vivian! Thank you for sharing your story and for being our constant cheerleader! You are amazing and you deserve every success and happiness 😊

  49. Thanks for sharing your journey Vivian, very inspiring. Congratulations on your three books coming out in ’19. I’m so very happy for you and wish you more in the coming years!! Thanks for being a kidlit cheerleader!! We all certainly need it.

  50. Oh Vivian,

    You have to be a picture book author’s favorite cheerleader! Thanks so much for always being so positive and for reminding us that it takes time, passion, and perseverance to stay in this game for the long haul.

    Thought of giving up my pens and pads Saturday, but then I realized that was just disappointment talking in my head.

    Glad I stuck around to read your inspirational post and to keep moving forward.

    Headed to work on a SLH Valentiny story. I’m stuck this year, but I know I’ll find inspiration soon.
    Thanks for a great post.

  51. Excellent post about writing writing writing and learning learning learning is validated in your own successful journey. It’s been a joy to follow you and rejoice in your success, Vivian!

  52. Vivian, Thank you so much for sharing your story of perseverance. I literally can’t stop crying after reading your post. Your encouragement and example has touched me. I wish you much continued success!

    1. Never fear, Cheryl…the Rafflecopter comes at the end of the month…when Julie’s puts up the end of month check-in post, you will be asked if you commented on the Featured Author post from that month…if you didn’t, you’ll have an opportunity to click and it will bring you back here so you can comment. If you did already comment (which you have!) you click – I commented – and then the Rafflecopter asks you two more questions…did you write a draft this month and did you revise a manuscript. Even if you didn’t do either of those, you still get an entry into the critique giveaway, just for leaving a comment on this post.
      So you are good to go and don’t need to think about it until Julie puts up the check in post at the end of the month.
      And I so appreciate you stopping by and commenting! I’m glad the post was inspirational!

  53. Congratulations on your success, Vivian! I just love this post. It’s sweet, beautiful and full of hope. Thank you for the inspiration….I will continue to work on that foundation!

  54. Congratulations Vivian on your hard work finding beautiful success! Your story of perseverance and patient determination to keep molding a story is inspiring. Proof that patience, hard work and learning the craft do pay off. Thank you for sharing!

  55. This is so inspirational. I love hearing stories like this and great advice too with the string foundation. Thank you.

  56. Vivian – thank you. Your words are so inspiring with your key message: persevere. It’s so disheartening at times, this business, but your post (and others like it) give me hope. Congratulations on your new books too.

  57. What a brave and inspiring woman and writer you are. I have new hope for getting
    published now and getting a boost in the pants to move on to submissions. Thanks.

  58. What an inspiring post – thank you for your wonderful words. And congratulations on “making it!” This is going to be a heck of an exciting year for you – similar to that skydive – you may find yourself a little breathless!

  59. Oh, Vivian, I loved reading about your journey! You have been and continue to be an inspiration to me! What a wonderful sentence: “You can only use a limited number of words so, you have to make each one of them fight for the right to step into the light.”

    Mazel Tov! This is your year and it is so well deserved.

    1. It’s not going to be easy to step away from this computer to do other work…I want to read each comment and respond to let everyone know how much I appreciate their support, encouragement, and good wishes! Thank you so much, Lauren! I will continue to try to inspire all those who are following their dreams.

  60. Vivian – thank you for sharing your story. This is my fourth year of 12×12, so I’ve seen your name a lot, but it’s great to read about your journey. You’re a prolific writer and an inspiration. I will say though, I’m afraid of heights, so I’m glad it didn’t take skydiving for me to find my way to PB writing. : )

  61. So loved the journey you have been through. Your persistence is so inspiring. I’m working on some health issues right now that have taken over in priority but hope to get back to ‘normal’ and keep up with writing and illustrating. Thank you for being here.

    1. Oh my dear Virginia…I am so sorry about the health issues…and yes, it is definitely more difficult to keep going when obstacles like that detour us. But I am praying that you get better/overcome/push past…and continue with your wonderful writing!

  62. I love reading about your writing and publishing journey. The block building analogy is perfect-kindergarten teachers unite 😉 !

  63. So inspiring! Loved hearing of your journey Vivian. Gives me hope and reminds me of what’s possible if we keep moving forward. All the best to you.

  64. What an inspiring post! Vivian, you are so ambitious and colorful! I can’t imagine taking 5 (or 6) courses in a year (*applauds, *admires)! Way to set a bar for immersion. Congratulations on all your books coming out!!!

  65. Vivian, Thanks for sharing your journey and the importance of building a strong foundation. Your constant words of encouragement to all of us on the road with you are always refreshing. Congratulations on your three PB’s! What a wonderful year ahead.

  66. Thank you for sharing your journey, Vivian. You’re inspiring! Your perseverance proves that hard work, and passion for what you do, will manifest your dreams. Congrats on all your success…well deserved!!

  67. Oh, Vivian, you’re such an inspiration to me (also of a well-lived age 🙂 This particularly resonates: “I realized that even though I got A’s in English, that did not mean I knew how to write a picture book story!” That was the first brick in MY foundation. Congratulations on your well-earned success!

  68. It’s always encouraging to hear that it’s never too late to pursue a new path. Makes taking a chance a little less intimidating. Thank you for your inspiring story. (I will NOT however jump out of an airplance!)

  69. Vivian, you are such a bright spot in this world and your success story is a joy to read! You continue to inspire me to keep going, keep going, keep going! I was in that Mira class with you, and it has been a pleasure to watch your career unfold. What a joy to see your hard work pay off!☺️

  70. Thank you, Vivian, for sharing your story! It’s motivating–and it comes at a pivotal time for me. Congratulations on all your success!

  71. All of your interviews are so inspiring Vivian. You give us all the faith and fortitude to go forth and persue our dreams. Thank you!

  72. I’m so grateful for all of Vivian’s wisdom, and for the incredible persistence and dedication to her craft that she’s shown. She’s one of my favorite writer peeps. Go, Vivian!

  73. Thank you Vivian. I appreciate the encouragement that it’s not too late to make a second career, this time doing the work of my heart.

  74. Thank you for showing us what is possible for each of us. Congrats on your well-deserved success, Vivian! I’m grateful to be in this community with you.

  75. What a lovely, and encouraging, post, Vivian. I’m reading this as you are on your whirlwind travels & in Sydney currently, I think. To your continued success! And safe travels!

  76. Vivian, you are an inspiration. Just what I needed to read this morning. Thank you & congratulations on your many book birthdays. 🙂

  77. Vivian, Whenever I need inspiration to never give up on my dreams, I think of you and visit your website for all the positive, thoughtful, and caring support you provide there. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! And congratulations on your books! Yahoo! : )

  78. I was beginning to rethink my ability to write picture books. Thank you for you encouragement. I have a new resolve to keep on going.

  79. I know, I’ve read your wonderful story about your journey to becoming a published PB author, but not sure if I expressed my gratitude for sharing this with us. The first time, it felt very inspirational. The second time ‘round it feels like the pep-talk I needed, today. Thank you, Viviane.

  80. Thank you Vivian! I need more hope in this industry because I am struggling. Some people close to me is not giving me that support. I am going to just keep writing and learning and hopefully one day I will end up like you.

    1. Hello Natalie…I hope you will get a chance to watch the video of my presentation at the SCBWI conference in Sydney. I mention that specifically…that even though family may love us, they probably can’t understand why we accept the great amount of rejection when the return seems nonexistent. That’s why it is so important to have a ‘family’ like 12×12 and other kidlit FB groups or critique groups who can be our rock and support and encouragement…in good times and in bad. I can’t guarantee WHEN (not if, you notice) you will get a book deal…but I can guarantee that if you don’t give up and you do keep writing/revising/connecting, you will bring joy into your life and the lives of others…and in the end, that will make all the difference. 🙂

  81. Some days, I just want to quit. But after reading your post, today will not be that day. I hope you don’t mind if I print it out, post it above my desk, and read it every day. If I do, I will persist.

  82. Yeah, Vivian! Hugs and a huge congratulations. Your journey shows how dedication, educating yourself on craft in every way possible (and then some), and making connections can lead to success. I remember when we sat together at an Encore conference in Gardner several years ago and you were just starting this journey. Cheers to perseverance and talent!

    1. Hello Joanne…how lovely that you remember me from ENCORE! That was a wonderful conference day…I was just starting out, but was so excited to meet such an enthusiastic group of people! Thank you for your lovely comment -I hope we meet again soon…maybe at NESCBWI in May?

  83. I’ve been at this since 2011 and I ‘m truly inspired by your tenacity. I’m so excited to be a part of 12 X 12. You have proven that if you put forth the effort and investment in your career then good things happen.

  84. Vivian, thank you so much for sharing your journey in detail about how you persevered to reach your dream of being a published picture book writer. What an inspirational journey! I could feel your passion and it has encouraged me to not give up.
    I too am a retired teacher (having taught 35 years) and I love playing games with my grandsons. I am so thankful for you and the other members of this special writing community. You blessed me today!
    Congratulations! I am so happy for you. Truly!

  85. Inspiring, as always, Vivian! Thank you for sharing your story. I’m looking forward to reading your books and seeing what the future has in store for you. You’re on fire! Congratulations!

  86. Thank you for sharing your story! I am not sure I would be able to persevere as you did. I am try to build my own collection of stories like you. Thanks again and all the best!

  87. I love reading about Vivian’s journey! And because of the many kid lit friends in my life, including the amazing Vivian Kirkfield, when I feel like I have nothing else in the well, I dig deeper and usually find a nugget. Thank you, dear Vivian! I am thrilled for your success.

    1. Oh my dear sweet friend…yes…and I am inspired by you and our other Goodnight Moons. Thank you for your kind words and for all the helpful feedback you always provide for my manuscripts…AND for the support and encouragement, without which I would be lost. 😉

  88. One of the hardest working women in Kidlit. (Think James Brown) So glad to have met you back in 2014 and formed a friendship and shared a love of all things relating to books. You inspire us all.

  89. Vivian, thanks so much for the wonderful post; and as I sit here, I’m wondering whatever happened to the brother in a box that got mailed off to the zoo😁

    1. WOW…what a memory you have, Stephen! Did we take a class together? Or did I post that story up on the forum? Sadly, that story hasn’t gone anywhere except back in my folder…but I still LOVE the idea…and perhaps need to rework it – maybe I need to go back to the rhyming version…I wonder which you heard? Glad you enjoyed the post…and I hope you are doing well!

  90. Anything is possible! I thank you for the inspirational message and the knowledge that if I work hard enough and learn the craft, an agent will look in my direction. Congratulations times three ! The future looks bright.

  91. You’re more living proof that the old cliche is true: writing is 20% inspiration, 80% perspiration. Percentages may vary but the fact shines through. Coming up with the idea(s) is relatively easy—pounding them into a publishable manuscripts, not so much.

  92. Thank you for inspiring! Got a rejection today – and another earlier this week – so I’m taking all the inspiration I can get!!!

  93. Thank you so much for this post, Vivian. I really needed it!! So often I feel sad that my dream of writing & illustrating my own picture book is taking so long and I’m running out of time. It can get overwhelming and I have to remind myself that I’m on track, doing what I need to do to learn & grow and that it is possible to become a published author! Your journey is proof. 🙂 Congratulations on your success and again, THANK YOU for sharing.

  94. I need to read your post every day, Vivian! Every writer needs to be reminded this journey takes time, but if we stick with it and continue to work at and learn our craft – it can and will happen. Thank you, thank you for such a wonderful post! Congratulations on all of your publications!

  95. Vivian,
    You are such an inspiration. I have seen your encouraging comments on 12 X 12, Facebook, Kidlit411, and a variety of other areas. Your journey proves bring tenacious and never taking the word NO is hopeful for writers. It’s also apparent that working on the craft of writing is of utmost importance!

  96. Wonderful. How much writing you did and kept doing. It’s a good reminder that it takes a lot of drafts and stories to get to “the” stories. Maybe 12×12 actually means write 144 stories and then maybe, just maybe, you’ll have “the one.” Congratulations on all your hard-earned success.

  97. Thank you, Vivian, for this excellent post! I’m so happy about your published book projects, and I’m so helped by reading your tale of stickwithitness. Very inspiring.

  98. Thank you so much, Vivian, for this wonderful post! I’m really happy about your book projects finding publishers–I first saw your name in Kristen Fulton’s great class–but I’m really helped by reading about your tenacity. Very encouraging! Thank you for reminding us about foundations.

  99. I came back to check whether I’d commented the first time I read this (I hadn’t) and now I’m once again so inspired! Vivian, thank you for sharing some highlights of your journey so far and thank you too for all you do in the children’s writing community!

  100. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story! I feel energized after reading your post and
    look forward to reading your books. Congratulations to you!

  101. Thanks for the words of wisdom, Vivian, including the reminder not to try to learn everything at once! (Guilty as charged.)

  102. Vivan, I feel like we have met already, though we have not. I hear all about you from Maria Marshall (my critique group partner) and your book Four Otters illustrated by Mirka, another critique group member of mine, though not current. I love all your posts. You are an inspiration and I am SO happy for your current state of being. Sending you a congratulatory HUG. Thank you for all that you do for this community.

  103. Congratulations on your new picture books. We’re told over and over that patience is indeed necessary in this business. I like seeing how you kept moving ahead, instead of worrying and circling around a single manuscript, wondering when it will sell. Those sales worked out in the end; your faith in the process is a wonderful example.

  104. Thank you for sharing your publishing journey. I feel better about being on the older side just starting out on the picture book writing journey. I am very much looking forward to reading Pippa’s Passover Plate and sharing it with the Hebrew Day School kids I teach (as a substitute, I left the full time teaching gig a few years ago.)

  105. Vivian, thank you for the inspirational post. Congratulations on all your books! I’m looking forward to reading them.

  106. I was reading a Time for Kids magazine the other day with my son. They talked about patents. The first thing I thought of was SWEET DREAMS, SARAH. I’m looking forward to reading the book with my son.

  107. Vivian,
    Your story is inspirational on so many levels. Thanks for sharing it. As a mid-career writer and former journalist, I am relatively new to the children’s writing world. I really only got serious the last couple of years after participating in 12X12. The PB publishing world can seem daunting at times. Finding critique partners and hearing from published authors, such as yourself, keep me going!

  108. This just made me happy. The skydiving picture, the tale of the pile of manuscripts, the continued learning. Thanks so much for sharing this great story!

  109. Thanks for this reminder to persist. And, to SUBMIT! I’m feeling a bit worn out with how much time each query is taking me. But, I have built a groundwork of other stories, and I’m encouraged that this work is essential.

  110. Hi Vivian,

    I saw your fabulous presentation at the SCBWI conference in Sydney this week and you inspired me to sign up to 12 x 12. Looking forward to creating lots of picture book manuscripts this year.


  111. Vivian, I find your story inspiring on so many levels, especially the fact that you started your PB journey after a full career. I appreciate the way you described the various steps you took on your path to publication—clearly, there’s no escaping patience and perseverance. Congratulations on Pippa’s book birthday and all your other upcoming books!

  112. Thank you for sharing your incredible writing journey! Congratulations on your new books!
    I ‘officially’ started my writing journey in 2013 and remember your visiting Singapore for the AFCC. 🙂

  113. Thank you for sharing your journey to success! It’s these stories of passion for the craft and refusal to give up that keep me going when the query trenches feel especially disheartening. Oh! And we’re practically neighbors (since NH is one big small town) 🙂

  114. Hi Vivian, I’ve read many inspiring posts over the years, but this one really touched me. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, words of wisdom, and fun skydiving photo. Congrats on your success! Can’t wait to read your books!

  115. Your story is so inspiring, Vivian! I’m grateful to be part of this community, with folks like you who will freely give your story so the rest of us may learn and be encouraged. Thank-you!

  116. Vivian! Thank you so much for this encouraging, inspiring post. You don’t have just a foundation – you have a fortress!! I’m building mine brick by brick.

  117. As a beginner in the kidlit world, I’ve been retraining my brain to love the process of building the foundation rather than constantly gravitating towards that treasured end result of publication. Obviously publication represents The Goal for so many of us, but as your story attests the love and the passion have to be there in order to energize the writer to keep going because in the end writing is the thing we love. Publishing is just a bonus. Thanks for offering us all some perspective, Vivian!

  118. Congratulations, Vivian, and thank you so much for sharing your journey and advice in this post. It was so encouraging and inspiring. This was my first step into the 12×12 program.! i joined last Friday and look very forward to growing and learning as a writer and celebrating the well-deserved successes of new writing friends like you. So proud for you.

  119. Vivian, I’m just so happy for you and inspired by your story. You’ve worked so hard, but it’s your positive attitude and persistence that have also played a huge role. I agree with you — anything is possible if you are dedicated and believe. Oh my god, the sky diving!! Congrats again, Viivian. You deserve all your success!

  120. Oh how your words on perseverance stuck me. I’m always one mouse click and keyboard clack away from giving up. But someone or something always comes along and reminds me, keep going, never give up, and so I don’t. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  121. This month has been all about persevering amidst all of the hurdles that come with moving: namely, boxes. I’m surrounded by these physical and figurative hurdles. Next month may be more of the same, but with opening boxes instead of closing them. I’ve always felt that when life seems the most bananas, you need to do two things: nourish yourself by doing the things that center you and cut yourself some slack. I’ve consciously worked at doing both this month, and I’m grateful for that. While my February draft isn’t my most favorite thing, it has moments… moments I’ll enjoy revising when these hurdles are flattened. 🙂

  122. Your story inspires me, Vivian. I didn’t know I wanted to write picture books until two years ago. I may be getting a late start, but I’m doing what I love and collecting those piles of stories for when my time comes.

  123. Vivian,

    I love that you shared how many years you spent perfecting your craft before publication. I love how you continued to learn, accepted rejection and kept moving forward. Thank you for sharing your story and for encouraging us in this long process.

  124. What a story about perseverance! I thought maybe I was starting late (in my fifties), but now I see how childhood dreams can come true. I’m focused on polishing, learning, reading, and polishing more! So thankful for all the support here. This is not a competition—there could never be too many picture books!

  125. Yay, Vivian! I’m so happy your years of persistence and dedication are now paying off in the form of beautiful picture books! Thanks for sharing your journey thus far, and being such an inspiration to all of us 12x12ers. I too have been going at it for many years, doing many of the things you were. It’s always encouraging to hear a beautiful success story. Keep up the amazing work! 🙂

  126. Such an inspiring and informative story. Thank you for sharing your journey and all the resources you used along the way. I’ve had a completed ms since Oct and keep going back and revising it. Every time I think I’m ready to submit it, I hesitate and do more research. I’ve recently read that you should have 3-5 ms ready to go before you start querying because agents will be interested in more. Which, is why I decided to join 12×12 to kick my butt into writing. Your post is a reiteration of that, which motivates me more to get my writing done. Thank you and congratulations on your books!

  127. Vivian, I’m so excited for all of your well-earned success! You are a dear sweet person–we’ver never met, but your kindness and generosity are hard to miss. I look forward to reading all of these wonderful books you’ve written!

  128. Thank you for sharing so much about your evolution as a writer and everything it took for you to get where you are today. Great post!

  129. Thank you for the inspiring words. Passion and persistence, even when writing becomes difficult. Appreciate hearing your story.

  130. Vivian, Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I’m just starting out, and in addition to writing a ton, I look forward to taking some of the classes you mentioned. I truly want to get better at my craft, and it’s reassuring to know that with hard work, dedication and a lot of patience, success in this field is possible.

  131. Vivian thank you so much for the tips and most importantly the inspiration! Congrats on your books-can’t wait to read them!

  132. This was so encouraging! Thank you for sharing. And I think my new motto will be to keep building that foundation. Your books are beautiful and you seem like a beautiful person inside and out. I wish you all the best and thanks again for sharing your journey 🙂

  133. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I’m coming to picture books from the poetry world, which is quite different: no worries about marketability or getting an agent, etc. And that part, the marketability part, is daunting to me. It makes me use a part of my brain I don’t enjoy using. It’s why I left Los Angeles decades ago, because the money-making engine at the center of things took away from the shine and joy of the actual writing–for me, at least. It was hard to separate the two. But the poetry world is all about the shine. I’m trying to hold onto that part of things in my picture-book writing, trying to preserve it, even though I must learn to navigate the business side of the industry, too. Anyway, all this to say: your post, while illuminating the business/marketing side of your journey, has that love-of-the-writing shine in every sentence. That’s a beautiful thing. Thanks for showing me we can keep the love and joy, while persevering through the agent-hunt, publisher-hunt part of it all.

  134. Love all of this, especially the last paragraph! I’m building my foundation and multiplying. ♥️

  135. Dear Vivian,
    I realized after reading your article, that I have been more focused on continuing to pass my existing handful of manuscripts around for critique and not spending enough time creating new ones. So far this month in 12×12, I am two for two! Progress! Your story was amazing, real and encouraging. Thank you for these words! And also for the visual of you taking that leap. I will remember this as I write today. Hope you are having the time of your life “Down Under!”. Sending my best, Cathy

  136. Vivian, Your words are very encouraging! After wearing various hats, like you, I’m pursuing my dream of being a picture book author. Thank you for being so inspiring and sharing your story. Your suggestions are very helpful!

  137. I’m so happy for you! As a writer/mom with kids in college, I find such inspiration in your story!

  138. Your story is so inspirational. Thanks for sharing. And congratulations on your books coming out this year.

  139. You are such an inspiration, Vivian, and a wonderful force of nature. 2019 will indeed be a magical & blessed year for you!

  140. Thank you so much Vivian for showing us all that patience is key! There have been times I have questioned if I wanted to keep doing this but then reading stories like yours gives me hope! Thanks so much.

  141. Vivian, At the end of last year someone asked me who my writing mentors were. You were the first person who came to mind. You have shared so much of you and your experience as you went from wanting to be a writer, to becoming a writer, and becoming a published author. Your story inspires me. Your love of this new life journey reminds me to look at mine and enjoy the ride and to allow myself to grow and change and become a better version of me. Thank you for being such a gift to the writing community. May your trip around the world continue to be exciting.

  142. Vivian – Thank you for showing that it’s not too late for those of us over-60’s to get creative. You’ve shown us what it takes: loads of work, dedication, determination, and the willingness to learn. Congratulations on your well-earned success! You are an inspiration to me.

  143. Thank you for all the joy and information you share! You inspire the rest of us! Hope you have a fantastic March & 2019! I’m excited about the PB draft I created in Feb and would love to win the critique with you.

  144. Great article, Vivian! I’ve been working on PBs for years and am starting to feel like I’m getting the hang of it too! I’m glad to be a part of 12 x 12 (just joined!) and am really moved by how much you found this group to be so beneficial! Love everything about this!

  145. Vivian,
    You are my inspiration!! I am 62!! I have always been a lover of words and a writer through all my life and careers!
    Thank you!
    Keep spreading your magic!

  146. Thank you Vivian! I’ve received several of the same comments you did in the beginning. Just last week I finally received a rejection with personal feedback – “beautiful writing but not a good fit (much more detailed than this of course). Someone will definitely pick it up.” I was never so thrilled to receive a rejection letter. But I feel I still have so far to go. Thanks for the encouragement.

  147. I just finished the book Grit by Angela Duckworth — Vivian’s experience paralleled what Duckworth says about sticking with it — and that’s the goal I have for myself — it takes a lot of patience, persistence, and determination!

  148. What an inspiring post! Just signed up for my first on-line writing class with Susanna Hill, thanks to your recommendation…and that’s just for starters! Thanks for the excellent tips!

  149. This is just what I need. I’m 70 years old, beginning to become serious about picture book writing and finding 12 x 12 and a critique partner have been a tremendous inspiration.

  150. Dearest Vivian, It was pure joy reading this post! I’m so excited for your that your writing career is truly taking off…finally!!!…after all of your hard work. Can’t wait to read all of your books. You really are flying now. Congrats!

  151. Congratulations! This was a wonderful reminder to keep at it. I’m so happy for your success. Thanks for sharing your story.

  152. Thank you for this inspiring post! I look forward to reading your books! Congratulations on all your success!!

  153. Thank you Vivian. You have given me, a new pb writer who is smack-dab in the middle of her fifties, great inspiration!! Congratulations on your new books!!

  154. This is pure gold, Vivian! And something I so needed to read! I am at the stage of laying the foundation, maybe even – just starting to dig the hole where later on there will be the foundation (getting everything I think I want to say out, so then I know what I actually want to say), and it is so reassuring to learn from you that yes, it does take time, and yes, there is no need to rush what cannot and should not be rushed.

  155. I love your story. Thank you for sharing so many great details. It helps to see your timeline and how much patience this journey takes. How encouraging for those of us in the beginning stages of that journey!

  156. I always love reading your posts, Vivian, and I especially love PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE! Thank you so much for sharing your writing experiences and encouraging words!

  157. Thanks so much for the inspiring story and the encouragement to have patience and persevere. Congratulations on your forthcoming books!

  158. I love the idea of the foundation. Every one of us has a foundation that DOES NOT MATCH with anyone else – even siblings don’t have the same foundation. This makes us one-of-a-kind in how we observe and write and even come up with characters that have never existed before. I am in the process – with the help of this 12 x 12 challenge – to dive down into my foundation and see what fascinating items I can pull up!

  159. Vivian, you are one of my heroes. I may be of your generation, and your persistence has given me added hope for success. I have written many rhyme-manuscripts, which I’m drawn to, but have been working on turning to prose. I am building my strong foundation, and slowly building from there. Thank you for your wisdom.

  160. Your zest for life and writing make me smile BIG TIME! Your website’s lively mice with you as “Ringleader” paint a story of its own. What fun! Your journey gives me hope and energy for the long haul of children’s publishing. Thank you for sharing with such candor. When I participated in Jennie Dunham’s Webinar “A Veteran Agent Talks Picture Book Submissions,” I wrote copious notes. But the one that I rewrote and posted on my lampshade is a quote by you: “Magic happens when you make every word count.” Right now, I’m working on a PB based on a story my mom told me about her childhood. Her parents had sailed from Yugoslavia to live in America. They spoke broken English. My mom’s early school years had her running home because kids called her ugly names and thew stones at her. Her mother “talked funny,” “didn’t belong,” and “should swim back.” My first draft of STICKS AND STONES had 623 words. LOL Then I worked and worked and reworked the language and rhythms to give birth to a tender, humorous, honest story that, I hope, will connect with diverse children in today’s world. Your words kept me motivated. I’m almost ready to post the draft in March. Thank you, Vivian, for giving us inspiration as we navigate through our writing journeys!

  161. What an incredible story. Thank you for sharing great insights that are helpful to writer’s at every stage! I definitely needed to read this as I begin to query. Thanks to you and congratulations on the new books!

  162. I am new to the 12×12 challenge and feel so lucky to have found this group of creative people. Your story gives me hope. I have been dreaming of writing a picture book for twenty years, but life and my career working in television have swallowed time. However, I feel like I can’t ignore the restless tug in my heart to pursue the calling. I am not a great writer, I don’t have kids and yet I am constantly hunted by this desire to write picture books. Thank you for sharing your story and for making me believe that it is never too late to start or follow your passion. I look forward to reading your books and hope that someday I too can see a story come to life with words and pictures.

  163. So inspiring. Thank you for sharing you story and for the reminder to be patient. That’s definitely the hardest part of this whole thing for me and I assume a lot of people. Congrats on the THREE books coming out this year. So well deserved!

  164. Vivian, Thanks for the inspiration. I’m so glad to hear that it’s never too late to go for it! You are proof of that. Congratulations!

  165. I loved reading about your writing journey! So inspiring! Being in my “senior years,” I need all the encouragement I can find . . . and your words have done that. Congratulations to you on all your wonderful successes! Perseverance pays off.

  166. Great post! I love to hear how people got their start! And especially if they had other careers before arriving at this one!!

  167. I am so excited to read your books! I loved reading about you and your publishing journey. Thanks you for sharing.

  168. Vivian, what a wonderful post! I love the story of your road to publication and feel so privileged for the support you’ve given me on my story. I’m so excited for all of your PB debuts and can’t wait to someday meet and congratulate you in person!

  169. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is great to hear how hard work and perseverance can pay off.

  170. I am so inspired by your story! I am working hard this year to develop a body of work. And I plan to have 12 new PB manuscripts by the end of the year.

  171. Glad to see multi-tasking and having diverse interests works! I think I’ll keep skydiving off my list though! Scuba diving-no problem, jumping out of an airplane? No thanks!
    Congratulations on your books!

  172. Hi Vivian!

    Thank you for sharing the journey you have been on as you pursued publishing. Your persistence and tenacious drive are inspiring. Also, it is clear that you have had an upbeat positivity throughout the whole course. What an encouragement to all of us!

  173. Vivian~
    I completed enjoyed your inspiring post. I began my PB writing journey just 2 years ago myself and feel very encouraged to keep pushing forward and being part of a writing community. Congrats on your upcoming books!

  174. Thank you, Vivian! As a former kindergarten teacher and fellow late-starter, I love your advice and your story. And I especially love your “guarantee” – my current mantra is, I will succeed because I will keep working until I do.

  175. Yay, Vivian! Super inspirational post. I’m having fun following your global travels. Congrats on all your successes.

  176. Oh Vivian, Your story is very inspiring and thank you for your encouragement. I sent Delenne’s (granddaughter in N. Ireland) the notice about your 50 word contest. Today I asked Delenne via phone about it. Hoping the principal will pass it on and there will be more international students that enter your contest. It’s so good for kids.

  177. My journey is a duplicate of yours, Vivian. Age, and approach. I’ve spent the last 2 years just learning the ropes and the big picture. I have several rough manuscripts and lots of ideas. I’vre read over 150 PBs this past year to learn. From the 12×12 group I am learning participation. Still feel progress is slow. i don’t have a website yet. Duh. Sometimes I feel I am only learning and not writing enough. I am more of a personal essay writer so PBs is a real challenge for me. I’m also learning just by seeing how creative so many others are. Looking forward to Pippa. Just finished making plans to join my son’s family (4 grandkids) for Passover this spring. Your story is especially encouraging to someone like me (like you).

  178. I couldn’t have seen your post at a better time! I’ve been a freelancer for years but always wanted to write children’s books. Here I am turning 68 in April and just now starting this journey! I’ll admit there have been times I’ve wondered if it’s too late after learning how long the process is EVEN if a manuscript is accepted! But seeing your post lifted me up. You are such an inspiration. Thank you many times over!

  179. Vivian, I’ve enjoyed watching your story unfold through your Facebook and Twitter posts! I especially live how you have shared with us (in this post) all the behind-the-scenes hard work you’ve done to get to this point in your writing career. Bravo! Congratulations! And so incredibly well deserved!!

  180. My favourite season is Autumn (bear with me, please!) because I’ve never seen it as an ending – always a beginning. While others (understandably) mourn the loss of summer, I feel a thrill at the thought of pumpkins and fairy lights and woolly hats!! In short (phew!), it’s never too late to get excited about things (like new careers and picture books and jumping out of planes – GO, CRAZY LADY, GO!!!!!!!)

  181. Thanx, for this. I needed a boost that I am not too old for this to happen. (and isn’t skydiving a blast?)

  182. Wow, your story is so inspiring! Perseverance is possibly the hardest part of becoming a professional author – I keep dreaming one day it will happen for me! But of course, dreams take so much work to come true. Thanks for inspiring me to keep at it! Also, I’m totally going to check out Pippa’s Passover Plate for our own Passover this year! (I love rhyming too!)

  183. Dear Vivian, I’ve watched you from a distance and admired not only your tenacity and passion for sharing stories for children, but for thriving despite your challenges and loss. I have aspired to do the same since the loss of our daughter Claire and establishing Claire’s Day, a children’s book festival in her honor. As a published author of MG bios, I’m so excited by the support offered by 12 x 12 members as I move into PB bios. Continued blessings on your journey!

  184. Congratulations! Reading your story motivates me to push ahead. Uphill. It is easy to move forward when everything falls into place, but it is the hard uphill battles that yield those downhill moments. Thank you for the reminder.

  185. So happy for you Vivian. We have never met but you seem like a truly wonderful, positive person. Your journey is inspiring. Patience and persistence pays off! So important to follow your dreams and never give up. *And I am so impressed that you went skydiving!! That’s awesome.

  186. Thank you sincerely for sharing your story. I’m often discouraged about starting my picture book career so late in life, and your story puts a beautiful asterisk on that thought. Congratulations on your well-deserved success.

  187. Vivian. I am so honored that I have gotten to know you through several writing groups and the Nonfictiin Archeology class we were in together. I’m so proud of all your successes and grateful for all the encouragement you give to everyone. You give the rest of us hope too.

  188. What a tribute to your patience and perseverance–and, it goes without saying, to your talent and insight as well! I’m so glad it’s all coming to fruition. And for the evidence that it isn’t “too late”— that there’s as much time as there is will to keep going and willingness to keep growing.

  189. Thank you for sharing your journey! It seems like we all have a journey and much perseverance is needed to hone our craft. I was a singer/songwriter for many years but was not nearly as good as I thought I was when I first started…it took working with a lot of people, being in various bands and learning from many others…and a lot of practice to become skilled. Writing seems to be a similar boat! Congratulations on your perseverance!!! I am hoping that I can be dogged on this path. Katrina

  190. Thank you for sharing your journey! It seems like we all have a journey and much perseverance is needed to hone our craft. I was a singer/songwriter for many years but was not nearly as good as I thought I was when I first started…it took working with a lot of people, being in various bands and learning from many others…and a lot of practice to become skilled. Writing seems to be a similar boat! Congratulations on your perseverance!!! I am hoping that I can be dogged on this path. Warm wishes, Katrina

  191. Vivian,
    Thank you, thank you for your inspiring words, and believing in those of us who are not yet represented. Your quote “Nothing is impossible if you can imagine it,” gives me great hope. I’m pretty good at imagining!

  192. Vivian, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. You are an inspiration to us all! Congratulations on such an exciting debut year. I can’t wait to read your beautiful stories!

  193. Vivian- I am inspired by your perseverance! Sometimes when we wait this long for success or good news we end up appreciating it even more. I hope you are enjoying every minute of this long-waited, well deserved success.

  194. Vivian,

    Sorry I was late to the party. I loved your post and was very inspired by your journey. Thank you for including the Twitter hashtags, I am new to twitter and in a constant hunt for what everything means. Wishing you all the best in 2019.

  195. Thanks so much for this inspiring post! As I start to get serious about my writing only now that I’m approaching retirement, sometimes I feel like it’s too late. Nice to hear that you’ve started this whole new exciting career at a time when others are winding down. It helps me think I can do it too!

  196. I have been following your blog for a while now and it is always such a pleasure to read about your writing endeavors and life adventures. You are so inspiring! Thank you for making me believe in my dreams.

  197. Thank you so much Vivian for sharing your PB writing journey! I really needed to read this right now and am truly grateful.

  198. Thank you for sharing your story! I love how playful it all sounds, and I wonder if that might be the secret to success–taking your writing seriously but keeping a playful spirit with everything else that comes with trying to get published.

  199. Vivian, your journey to publication sounds just as adventurous and emotional as a freefall from an airplane! I’m so inspired! It’s wonderful to get a glimpse into YOU, and I’m excited and honored to finally be part of this community. ❤

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