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12 X 12 March 2017 Featured Author – Rosie J. Pova

12 x 12 March 2017 Featured Author – Rosie J. Pova

Rosie Pova 200x300

We’re excited to have 12 x 12 member Rosie J. Pova as our Featured Author this month. Rosie has two books coming out this Spring! Not bad considering just over a year ago she was ready to hang up her pencils and let it all go. If you’ve ever felt like that, read Rosie’s story and her tips for persevering. Then check out Rosie’s giveaway at the bottom of this post for your chance at some picture book swag!


In the beginning of 2014, having just signed with an agent, I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief and shift my focus from querying back to creating. There was, of course, the stress from being out on submission, but producing new work would keep my mind off of it.

So I plunged into multiple projects and my writer’s light was reborn, fueled by regular critique sessions with my critique group where the thrill of the story took central place.

At the beginning of 2015, the agent and I parted ways (very amicably) and I was still an unpublished writer. (For the record, I did not blame anyone but myself for my circumstances, as painful as they were.)

At the time, I’d been writing for about ten years, attended conferences and workshops and had been in a critique group for years. My body of work had slowly expanded and had gotten into a healthier state. But I wasn’t quite there yet, as it turned out. Something was missing.

Faced with that major setback, I looked for a quick way out of the pit. I needed a fix.

You know the lyrics from Taylor Swift’s song, “Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes?” That’s what my initial plan of action was kind of like. Instead of digging deep into the wound with a sharp instrument–or a sharpened pencil–to extract the true culprit causing the failure, I thought querying more agents and editors was the way to put myself back into the game.

So I started sending out work again. The rejections came, though more and more of them were personalized . . . On occasion, an agent or editor took the time to throw in some encouraging words or invite me to query them again with something else. I’ve gotten positive feedback from peers. All good signs were there. I anticipated my breakthrough to come very soon. I believed success was just around the corner.

But it wasn’t.  It seemed like I was still walking the same long street and there was no corner.

A few months later, in mid-2015, frustrated with my lack of progress, I told my critique group I was taking a Sabbatical. I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere, wasn’t progressing enough on my craft anymore and that I needed something else. I needed to play bigger. I decided to spread my wings.

So I threw myself into a binging craft marathon. I enrolled in every workshop within reach, attended every conference I could afford and hired every freelance editor within my budget (I stretched to the max!). I read more books on the craft–I love those! In short, I immersed myself in the goods of great writing and learning from top professionals.

The best part was that I connected with writers I admired who gave me guidance, who were encouraging and I got to learn from them. One of those writers was Tammi Sauer. Her workshop was amazing–the best, most helpful and complete workshop on the craft, business, author presentations and school visits combined. During one of Tammi’s writing exercises, I was able to explore a character more fully and finally figure out the resolution of that quirky story. (That manuscript later got me two agent requests for more work and an offer of representation.)

Anyway, I was very inspired again to keep going, developing my craft and just enjoying the writing. The thrill of coming up with something unique lifts you up every time.

I kept going to conferences and workshops. Two months later, Tammi and I met again at another conference. As she introduced me to one of the presenters, she said something along the lines of, Rosie is one of those writers on the brink of breaking through. She’s been going to conferences, workshops . . . She’ll be published soon. (Speaking about my conference attendance, at one point we were joking that I was everywhere.) Although I didn’t want to get my hopes up, I wanted to hold on to Tammi’s words. I wanted to believe them. So mentally, I gave her prediction a year to manifest. This was in October of 2015.

So I kept doing my thing: went to another conference, registered for PiBoIdMo, and worked on my list of thirty shiny new ideas. I was also submitting again. Hopeful. Then heartbroken.

The day that pushed me over the edge was in mid-November of the same year, just over a month after my conversation with Tammi. I remember receiving two rejections in the mail. Then two more via email. It was 11:55 p.m. and as I was about to close my laptop and go to bed, another rejection popped into my inbox. Five total that day.

The fragile light I was clinging to was blown–a bucket of ice dumped over it then a boulder dropped on top. A solid, heavy boulder sitting over my iced, dead candlelight. There was no escape.

Despite everything I tried, nothing worked. There was no breakthrough, only breakdown.

I pulled out my notebook and wrote this:

Rosie Pova - I give up!As I moped around that month, I still finished my list with thirty ideas (four of them are now manuscripts I wrote for my 12 x 12 drafts). But my idea #30 read this: I Give Up.

I thought, either that’s it–the end of my efforts–or one day I’d write a story about not giving up even when you feel like it.

Another month passed. I realized that perhaps I needed more craft infusion. I felt the urge to revisit the basics of the craft. What was I missing? If trying hard wasn’t enough, I needed to try harder.

I also remembered Tammi’s words.

With the start of the New Year, I signed up for the 12 x 12 Challenge in 2016. I was going to focus on craft even more deeply. My antidote habit had taken formation. After failure, inject craft.

So I If I Weren't With You by Rosie Povadid. I wrote my drafts. Revised a lot. Attended the live webinars and watched the replays. I found a new wonderful critique group.

Then came ReFoReMo. I checked out books from the library, read and analyzed mentor texts. Later that year, I signed up for another online picture book course. I was going full speed again.

In addition to craft books, I also read some on personal development and started implementing their principles. What a difference that made! (I strongly recommend books on personal development–changing your mindset will turn the world around for you.)

So. remember my conversation with Tammi in October of 2015 when I gave her prediction a year to realize? In September of 2016, I signed with my agent and also signed three contracts with a publisher.

In summary, a few pieces of advice I can pass out to writers in distress:

1. In times of despair, try these two things to help you out of the funk: work on developing your craft and connect with the community.

If you keep banging your head against the wall, hoping that the wall will eventually move out of your way, please reconsider. Instead, look around and search for ways to go around or go through. You’ll need some wisdom and tools, but those can be acquired through learning.

There’s a strong satisfaction and a feeling of progress from expanding your knowledge. As long as you’re learning–even from your failures and mistakes–you’re moving forward. You’re improving. Don’t let your craft become static. Arm yourself with new tools, write new stories, make new connections. Not only will you be improving your writing, but you’ll be creating more opportunities for yourself. You won’t just count on a different outcome by repeating an old exhausted way of presenting yourself. You will be building a fresh “presentation.”

Know when it’s time to change things up. Just because you got into a comfortable routine that felt safe but not productive, it doesn’t mean you should stay in it. If it’s not working, move on. Be open to explore different options that will push you to grow. Be grateful, but never content of your progress. Strive for more and better. Take a chance as soon as you see one, before you have time to second-guess yourself or talk yourself out of it.

2. View your failures as opportunities and your road blocks as blessings in disguise.

If you adapt a new way of thinking about your present lack of success, you’ll convert negative energy into positive energy and shift your focus. Instead of thinking, it’ll never happen to me (like I was), say to yourself:

  • It’ll happen whenever I’m ready.
  • I’ll work hard to make sure I get to that point.
  • It’s a process and every step is important.
  • I don’t want to leap into something I’m not ready to handle.
  • I realize that it takes time and effort. And that’s a good thing.

You need time for your work to mature. You’ll be thankful for the process that prepared you for the spotlight. In the meantime, look at your downs and detours as future material for interesting interviews and encouraging blog posts that will inspire other struggling writers to press on.

Imagine the following scenario and think about how many people would be able to relate to your journey if it went something like this. You made your very first submission of the very first story you ever wrote on your phone while waiting at your son’s soccer practice. The next morning, there was an agent offer in your inbox. The following week, you found yourself in a six-house bidding war for your work and five days later you signed a four-book deal with your dream publisher, collecting a hefty advance.

Granted, you’d get the interest and the attention, but you wouldn’t be relatable. (Yes, that’s right, find the silver lining in everything!) Plus, if that miracle happened to you, there’s a high possibility of you having recurring nightmares of green-faced armies attacking you. Overnight success can be daunting. (Not that I know anything about that, just guessing.)

3. Thicken your skin now, while you’re in the process of working toward publication–it’ll come in handy later. Also, don’t run from your fears. Address them.

Oftentimes, beginning writers are bothered by feedback, mistakenly taking it as malicious. But feedback is essential. Your ego, however, might need practice before it settles. This is the time to take it to the practice field and test it again and again.

If you’re panicking now, once you get your first book published you’ll probably panic even more. I did. But you will be more prepared to handle it. Don’t assume that your fears will automatically disappear after the book deal. Reality hits you–your book baby will be out in the world! How will it perform? Will people like it? Will anyone even buy it? What if no one cared? What if you get a bad review? What if. . .

Your mind will try to take you dark places again. Don’t let it. Find the root of your fear and put in the labor to suffocate it. (I don’t know if that self-doubt ever completely disappears after you’ve published your tenth, twenty-fifth or a hundredth book. Hopefully, I’ll find out and let you know.)

So, pre-published or post-published, keep learning and writing, keep connecting with other writers and people who you admire and aspire to be like. Hang out with friends who support you. Go back to the basics of the craft if you need to and start rebuilding. There are always new books to be read, too, you never know what might spark inspiration.

Get involved, grow your skills, and success will likely follow.


Rosie J. Pova is a children’s author, poet, wife and a mother. She is originally from Bulgaria now living in Texas with her husband and three kids. Ever since childhood, Rosie has been fascinated with the power of words. Her passion for writing took her on a long journey of discoveries, learning and growth through the ups and downs, but she is happy and grateful for all experiences. Rosie has three upcoming children’s books releasing this year. She dreams of inviting many readers into her make-believe worlds, hoping to touch them with her words. Visit her at her webiste Rosie J. Pova ​Children’s Author and follow her on Twitter.


Rosie’s debut picture book IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU arrives on store shelves in April, but you can pre-order this book and be eligible for a giveaway swag pack! ENTER HERE!
This Post Has 466 Comments
    1. Thank you, Carrie! Yes, hang in there–the hardship we go through is there for a reason, even if we don’t know what that is at the time. Looking forward to reading your story of success! Cheers 🙂

    1. Yes, Patricia, working on our craft is never a waste of time 🙂 There’s so much that is not in our control in this business, but we can always spin our perspective and get rid of the negativity–it’s a way healthier, too!

    1. Lauren, I recently read this quote, “I didn’t come this far just to come this far.” Doesn’t it make perfect sense? It immediately puts you in a get-to-action mood 🙂

  1. Rosie, I can’t thank you enough for sharing the story of your journey. As someone who is still in the first few years, it really spoke to me and gave me a clear picture of what to expect. Also, having attended one of Tammie Sauer’s workshops I can’t agree more with how inspiring and wonderful they are. Thank you again!

    1. Thank you, Rebecca! I will never forget how much encouragement meant to me in those low moments and how I needed every little push to help me stay above water. If I can offer the same little push and help just one writer not give up, I’m happy 🙂

  2. Rosie, thank you so much for writing about your journey and your helpful tips for persevering. Your honesty and suggestions for changing mindset and perspective made me sit up and listen. I also love the quote you shared with Lauren S.: “I didn’t come this far just to come this far.” It does make perfect sense. I’m enjoying the process and moving forward because of posts like yours.

  3. Rosie – thanks for this incredible post! Your story is so inspiring and your message to never give up and keep working on craft is so true. And I love your book cover and all your book swag! Looking forward to reading your three books! So happy that we are Spork Sisters!

    1. Marie, I KNOW you can!

      Here’s another motivational technique I’ve learned. Go back 5, 7, 10 years and think of something you thought, at that time, was very hard or impossible to accomplish that you’ve now accomplished. Jump back to the present time and consider the things you now feel are hard or impossible. Picture them as accomplished in the future. And they are–you just need to get there. Not by just waiting passively, of course 🙂 List three actions that you can take today that will bring you closer to your goal. Do them. Repeat each day and you’re on your way to living your dream!

  4. Thanks for sharing your journey. I love the idea of failures as opportunities and road blocks as blessings in disguise. Your perseverance and dedication are such an inspiration. It is helpful to know that the journey doesn’t end – not after finding an agent, not after signing a deal. These ideas of resilience, craft and community are so important. Thanks again for sharing so honestly – it was such a needed message today!

    1. Thank you, Joanna. It’s not very comfortable being completely open and vulnerable, talking about your feelings of failure and defeat, but it is such a big part of the journey that it’s really important to acknowledge it. I also think that once you’ve found help and a way to overcome the hardship, you almost have an obligation to share, pay it forward and inspire others.


  5. Rosie,
    Thank you for sharing your story. You encourage each of us to continue on this journey. Congratulations on your success!

  6. Thank you Rosie for pouring your heart out and reminding me to just keep learning, growing, and helping others. I received a rejection last week that said, “You are clearly talented but…” At first I was heart broken and then I thought, Take the compliment Jennette! Sheesh!
    Maybe one day it’ll be a compliment with an offer 😉

    1. Absolutely! I like your thinking, Jennette!!! Most of the time, we don’t leap into success, we take steps. And look at how many you’ve taken already! You just got a compliment on your talent by an industry professional!!! You need to celebrate that 🙂 Cheers.

  7. I’ve got this bookmarked and will come back again for more realistic inspiration. There aren’t many front of the line passes in this business, so it’s essential that we enjoy the ride (and take advantage of the resources) while we wait our turn. There’s room for us all on the shelves!

  8. Thank you Rosie for an inspiring post that is needed at just this moment. It is so hard not to get discouraged, even for a bit. This was very timely and helpful. Congrats on your books.

  9. Rosie, I am so glad you shared your experience. I have committed to some new efforts this year and in the back of my mind was worried about whether they could really make a difference. I think they just might.

    1. Aw, thank you, Ellen! There’s a lot more where this came from, but I didn’t think a novel-length post would fit here LOL Oh, the things we go through in this writing journey 🙂

  10. This is so inspiring. I know we have all experienced that same kind of emotions. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Thank you, Rosie!

    I got a good laugh out of your description of submitting the first book you ever wrote, on your phone, at your son’s soccer practice. And you are right. I’d rather be relatable. Besides, I’m already a few hundred rejections into this, so I guess that ship has sailed. Keep up the good work, and I am so, so happy you kept writing.

    1. Aw, thank you, Chris.

      Those rejections are your warrior badges–you’re already a decorated veteran! You have so much to share in your interviews about your road to publication! And you will be so relatable 😉

  12. Thanks for your honesty and encouragement, Rosie. I especially appreciated your thoughts on if things went so smoothly others wouldn’t be able to relate to you. A step further with that thought is that the ‘victory’ wouldn’t be so sweet. I will be getting your books. Now that I know the perseverance behind them, they already seem that much sweeter. Congratulations!!

  13. Thanks for your honesty and encouragement, Rosie. I especially appreciated your thoughts on if things went so smoothly others wouldn’t be able to relate to you. A step further with that thought is that the ‘victory’ wouldn’t be so sweet. I will be getting your books. Now that I know the perseverance behind them, they already seem that much sweeter. Congratulations!

  14. Hi Rosie. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It was truly inspiring and encouraging, at another one of those times when I needed to hear it. I’m going to follow your advice and study up on the craft. I have several craft books that haven’t even been cracked open! Now is the time. All my best to you…and congratulations!

    1. Thank you, Jill, and yes, please open those craft books and study them. You’ll feel so much better and excited that you’re moving forward, studying and improving! You might find the epiphany you’ve needed to help you with a project or to start a new one. I try to make it an easy choice by asking myself, “Do I want to mope or do I want to learn?”

      1. Hi Rosie, your question “Do I want to mope or do I want to learn?” really resonates with me. My mom’s advice when I was younger (and probably still is) if you are feeling sad, go help someone else. It makes sense that it would also work for an artist’s creativity! Thank you!

  15. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s a good reminder of how the best things in life are usually the most difficult to achieve. As long as we keep moving forward, we gain experience and perspective!

  16. Thank you, Rosie, for such wonderful encouragement! How many times have we sent out a manuscript thinking ‘Oh my gosh, I love this one! This will be the one!’ only to receive a rejection. It’s very easy to allow yourself to get frustrated and want to throw in the towel sometimes. But you just have to hike up your boots and march through the mud because the grassy meadow isn’t too far off!

    Thank you for not giving up! Can’t wait to read your book in April!

  17. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s so easy to think everyone else has it easy (I’m sure someone must, somewhere). But your story is encouraging and your persistence inspiring. Congratulations on your book contracts!

  18. Thank you for this honest, heart-felt post. Inspiring words to help us keep learning, working hard and above all, never give up. Wishing you much success!

  19. Congratulations, Rosie and thank you for sharing your journey. I love your suggestion of re-framing failures as opportunities, but I must admit it’s hard to do especially after successive failures. 🙂 Embrace the dark moments – when the sunlight enters, it’ll be oh so sweet!
    I look forward to reading “If I Weren’t with You”

  20. This portion of the post sounds like my outlook on life:

    “2. View your failures as opportunities and your road blocks as blessings in disguise.

    If you adapt a new way of thinking about your present lack of success, you’ll convert negative energy into positive energy and shift your focus. Instead of thinking, it’ll never happen to me (like I was), say to yourself:
    •It’ll happen whenever I’m ready.
    •I’ll work hard to make sure I get to that point.
    •It’s a process and every step is important.
    •I don’t want to leap into something I’m not ready to handle.
    •I realize that it takes time and effort. And that’s a good thing.”

    I got so excited reading your post, Rosie, seeing in it the positivity and hope that we all hold on to, no matter where we are on our journeys to publication. I’m preparing to send out queries this spring (I’m actually attending a workshop in Kansas City later this month, where your agent will be the keynote speaker! I’d love to chat with you about your experiences with her!)

    I appreciate your recommendations on building a thick skin, so as to optimize the growth that can come from every critique, every time we feel like giving up, and every worry that something may not go well. I try to live by the philosophy that worry gets us no where, but acknowledging the fear behind worry, and choosing a course of action is the right way to go. Rejection, roadblocks, they happen. Hope and resolve and a plan for moving forward? You remind us all of their importance, with your reflections here. Thanks for being a mentor to your community. I very much look forward to sharing your book with my children!

  21. Thank you Rosie for this realistic yet hopeful post. I have to keep reminding myself that most published writers could paper their offices with rejections. You have a great way of looking at the process, and I like your advice to keep working at the craft in as many ways as possible. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

  22. I know that place you were! I’ve been there. I’ve been writing on & off since 2007. I took writing courses, joined SCBWI, signed up for workshops, tried my hand at different genres. All I got were rejections. In March 2015 I was so heartbroken I gave up. I mean I REALLY gave up. I stopped writing!! For about seven months. But I couldn’t stay away. I loved it too much. In 2016 I found and joined 12 X 12. The whole community was so friendly, so inviting, so wonderful and helpful. I’m still not published, yet. But I have a much better perspective and mindset on the craft of writing. I feel like I am moving forward one-month-at-a-time. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s great to know I am not the only one who felt like throwing in the towel.

    1. Hang in there, Melanie! The time is coming.

      I “gave up” so many times, but like I mentioned above in another reply, I even failed at giving up. I know so well how hard it is–I used to roll my eyes at people who told me to keep going because I didn’t think they knew how it felt or because it was easy for them to say since they already had it made.

      There’s always a way out of the pit and I’m glad you found yours with this wonderful community, too. You’re doing all the right things. Your success story is coming up!

  23. Thank you for your heart-felt exhortations and your empathy!
    This should be a book rather than a BLOG post.
    Congratulations on your upcoming book.

    1. Thank you, Trine. I can truly write a book about this, going through 12+ years of my writing journey, as an immigrant with a big dream, against all odds . . . oh, don’t get me started LOL

  24. I love the antidote, “After failure, inject craft.” So true! Keep sharpening your skills-you can only get better. Thank you. I will follow your advice.

  25. Rosie,
    Your story and your tips are most helpful. Your upcoming book looks like one that will tug at my heart. Congratulations!

  26. Rosie,
    A veteran story to rally on those like me very much in the trenches. Thanks for the battle cry of “Write on!”

  27. Thank you so much for this. It’s always a relief to hear other writers have gone through the same torture and came out a success in the end!

  28. Hi, Rosie. Thank for sharing your story with us. I’ve been close to the “I Give Up” mentality, too. It’s so hard being in God’s waiting room. That’s why we need cheerleaders like you.

  29. Wow, thank you for this honest story of your writing journey – hard work, fits and starts. I loved it. Who said writing is easy? A very inspiring story.

  30. So very excited for you, Rosie! You’ve put in the time…I’m so happy your hard work is bringing rewards to you…and beautiful books for kids! Excited to be hosting you on my blog soon!!!! And thank you for participating in #50PreciousWords with the generous prizes you are donating. 😉

  31. Keeping doubt out when it knocks on your door is challenging. Reading about your journey helps. You’re an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your story, Rosie. And congrats on finding the determination and courage that has led you to your successes. Best wishes. ?

  32. Rosie, thank you for not giving up and also for sharing your experience with us. The people who persist and persevere always make a difference in the world! I think that your advice about improving our craft, being in touch with the community and changing our perspective can be considered as the magical three stages of trials that heroes have to go through before being successful. It’s a long process, though. If it’s OK, I would really appreciate it if you could share with us the personal development books that you found most helpful.

    1. Yes, Liza, I’m happy to share a few off the top of my head:

      1. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
      2. Embrace Your Magnificence by Fabienne Fredrickson
      3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
      4. Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph. D.
      5. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People


  33. I feel like you were telling my story in a lot of ways, but I’m still waiting for that first book contract. Meanwhile, I keep plugging away! Thank you for the great advice and inspiration. Congrats on your successes!

  34. Thanks for this candid, timely (for me), and inspiring post, Rosie! I think your advice to focus on craft and connect with the community when in a funk is spot on.

  35. Thanks. It’s a roller coaster ride but really … what else would we do? I simply must live a creative life. There is no other option for me and I would imagine the rest of 12 x 12ers.

  36. Thank you for being real and encouraging. It is such a long journey from writing to publishing, and taking a short cut sometimes makes it seem to easy, but going the long unending way can get tiresome. You have given some food for thought and been a great cheer leader.

  37. Rosie – that was such an inspiring post. Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement! I can’t wait to read “If I Weren’t With You” – and I look forward to all the other Rosie Pova books that are sure to come our way in the future!

      1. Rosie – I just re-read your post and got inspired all over again! As I scrolled down through the comments it was wonderful to see so many familiar names, names that I’ve gotten to know over the last 12+ months. I’m grateful to everyone in this community and I’m delighted about your success!

  38. Thank you so much for sharing your journey – it is heartening to read as I slog through rejection after rejection. Get involved and grow your skills are great bits of advice! I’m looking forward to reading your books!

    1. Rejection is discouraging, but don’t let it paralyze you, Andrea. Use it as a challenge and motivation to do better, to create more, to reach higher. . .

  39. What an excellent and encouraging post that reminds us of the importance of hard work and dedication to craft on our journey toward publication — thank you thank you for the inspiration, Rosie!

  40. Thank you Rosie for sharing your story!! Your post and journey couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ll keeop your encouraging words of wisdom in mind.

  41. Rosie, thank you for the beautiful post of your journey. I appreciate your openness and encouragement! Congratulations on your upcoming releases!

  42. Rosie, what a marvelous post! It’s a great reminder to all of us that it takes hard work and perseverance to reach our goals.

  43. Wow, Rosie, your post is chock full of wonderful advice, and I’ll bet you each one of us has either said or written, “I give up.” I quit working on picture books for two years and took up greeting card writing. It was a whole new way of thinking, but it gave me the space I needed to find a new direction until I was ready to tackle my picture book writing again. Stories like yours resonate wth us. So glad your hard work and persistence is paying off for all of us who get to read your stories.

  44. Congratulations on your books, Rosie, and thank you for your inspiring post. I’m often daunted, with doubting demons surfacing daily, during the first few months of the year. Not only have you convinced me to work through these and know they are normal, but you’ve also give me new tools to do so. Many thanks and good wishes!

  45. I’ve just returned from a conference where I didn’t get much positive feedback from a critiquer. It’s discouraging, but at the same time, I have to admit she was right. (OK, she was right about most things. I still disagree with her on a couple of them. 🙂 ) Even though it hurts, it’s so much more useful to have people be honest. Thanks for your suggestions on how to cope.

    1. Yes, honest critiques can sting and sometimes it’s easier to dismiss them because we don’t agree with everything. But it’s important to take what’s useful and always stay open to suggestions 🙂

  46. Thank you for sharing that you had doubts along the way as so many of us do. Great advice for conquering those fears and finding success!

  47. Wow. Wow for Rosie, and for everyone who just doesn’t give up. I’d thought I was a rather persistent person (as a child, stubborn was the phrase 😉 ), but it’s both humbling and incredibly encouraging to share in your story. Thank you for being so candid, I wish every person who picks up a child’s book realizes what a truly remarkable treasure it is!

  48. I can’t tell you how inspiring and encouraging it is for me to hear these words right now. I won’t give up…and you’ve given me lots of tools to stay in the game. Thank you.

  49. Wow, Rosie! This is SOOOO awesome! I’m so happy for you. I sat next to you, chatting away at dinner after the Conference in September, and you never even hinted at all the big stuff going on for you that same month. How did you hold it all in???? You’re amazing 🙂 Congratulations!

    1. Thank you, Emily. Well, 2016 was my good year. The previous one was tough though . . . and so were the 10-11 years before that, too, in my writing journey lol. But I’d rather talk about something positive at conferences and find the humor in the hardship. I read this somewhere, “If you laugh at yourself, you’ll never run out of things to laugh about.” Isn’t that great and so grounding?!

  50. Thank you for telling your story and confirming that overnight success stories for author’s are not the case most of the time. Lots of workshops, critiques, writing and writing and writing and learning the craft is important. And then submitting is important to agents and editors or anyone interested in receiving these.
    Just believe.

  51. Thank you for taking the time to articulate your words of advice so clearly. I pulled back from querying this year & at times felt guilty about it. But my writing is improving and posts like yours fill me with encouragement! Many thanks.

    1. Thank you, Ingrid–no shame in pulling back from querying and improving your work. Taking the time to develop your craft will pay off once you go back to submission. I often felt the rush to send out, but it’s not a good idea for work that isn’t ready.

  52. Wow. Incredible story and what a happy ending. We all have struggles and yes, your story is totally relatable. Thank you for sharing. Your resilience and perseverance are inspiring.

  53. Thank you so much. This gives me hope. I have been writing for two decades, but this is the first time I have immersed myself in workshops, webinars and the writing community. I was not doing enough, just hanging onto hope. It’s hard work and perseverance (I see that now from hearing successful writer’s stories) that gets you where you want to be. Here’s to the next decade- or sooner- for my published work. I love your story. it is especially poignant that you almost gave up, but then continued. This is every writer’s story- and is so very inspiring to me. I can’t wait to read your book. Thank you and good luck 🙂

  54. I have printed your post and keeping it close at hand for my many ‘big sigh, why bother’ kind of days and weeks.

  55. Ugh, self doubt. We really are our own worst enemy. I struggle so much with this. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on anything because of the voices in my head. Great advice and encouragement. Thank you and Congratulations!!!

  56. Wow, congratulations on three books coming out this year! What a journey. Your path, progress and prescription for success, noted. 🙂

  57. Rosie, all I can say is thank-you. Thank-you for sharing your experience, strength, and hope. Thank-you for casting a light on the highs and lows but especially showing us how perseverance and our dedication to the craft are what matter most. Thank-you. I’m inspired to keep going through my no’s. 🙂

  58. Thanks Rosie for the inspiring story about your journey to publication. I recognize some of the benchmarks and frustration in my own journey. Like you, giving up is just not in my personality. You have made me see that I need more craft classes though to make it over the finish line. I’m on it! Congrats in your upcoming releases and budding projects.

  59. Hands down the most inspirational post I’ve read in a very long time. Thank you for being so open and honest. It speaks to what I’ve been through and to what a close friend is going through right now. I can’t wait to share it with her. I love the idea of books on professional development. I’ve bought several, but have pushed them aside to read books on the craft. Thanks for reminding me to try to fit both in. If you have a chance, I’d love to know what personal development books you found most helpful!

    Thanks again for the post. Congratulations on the book deals!

  60. Thank you, Maria! Please find a short list of some personal and professional development books that were very helpful to me, in my reply to Liza’s comment above. I hope you find them helpful as well 🙂

    All the best to you and your friend! Keep plugging away!!!

  61. Rosie: So glad you persevered. While reading your article, it reminded me of an incident where my mother had to help me correct a problem. She asked why I didn’t know what to do and I said I hadn’t made an error before to correct (on that project).”That’s too bad,” she said. “Failure is how we learn.” The problem was easily fixed, and I learned two things: how to fix my error, and to not be afraid to fail. That said, it still hurts when the rejection comes. I liked how you not only persevered, but all the things you did to become a success. I’m going to try some of your suggestions.

  62. Rosie, thank you for sharing your inspiring story–and thanks to all of the commenters who added their own experiences, too. You really hit a nerve with this post. I especially loved this gem: “After failure, inject craft.” For me, it’s encouraging to see how many of the writing immersion choices I’ve been making lately are the same ones that were helpful to you. Oh–and thanks for posting the personal development titles. I’ll check them out.

  63. I appreciate every thing that you spoke about. I can so relate to everything. Although, I have not been published yet and this is probably my fault. I have been writing for over at least 25-30 years and I have several books that I have written… but I have this little thing called “anxiety” that would keep me from moving forword. Every time I would get a book ready to send to an agent, I would change my mind and say to myself ” It’s not good enough, I need to work on it more” But, like you – I also have taken a lot of classes, seminars and life couch lessons ..and I am not getting any younger.. So I am ready to re-write and send out. Only looking ahead… Looking around the corner not staying behind the wall. Congratulations on all of your hard work… I wish you the best in your future..
    Heather Valle

    1. Thank you, Heather.

      I encourage you to get your stories into shape and send them out. When you do that, there are at least two possible outcomes–yes or no. If you never send out, there can’t possibly be anything else but one “answer” and you know which one.

  64. Thanks Rosie for sharing your admirable journey. Reading this and having received my first ever all positive critique from a fellow 12×12 member today has lifted my spirits. I am inspired again!!! Look forward to reading ‘If I weren’t With You’ and am intrigued… is either your 2nd or 3rd title called ‘I Give Up’ ? ; ) So pleased for you and your well deserved success!

    1. Ha-ha, thank you, Louisa. The ‘I Give Up’ story is in the works . . . hasn’t marinated enough yet. But I’m excited to create one some day and make it very inspiring, too, if someone doesn’t beat me to it 😉

  65. Failure happens. It is, in fact, an expected part of being a writer. But it always helps to hear others stories, to remember other people are getting rejections too. Like you said, rejections give you a chance to work on your craft. If I keep working, my time will come.

  66. Thank you for your inspiring post. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever feel really ready to be worthy of representation and publication, so I am constantly seeking guidance (critiques, conferences, on-line challenges). It all inspires me to keep writing and improving my craft in the hopes that someday I’ll feel ready enough to actively submit.

  67. Very inspirational about perseverance! It’s helpful to see someone succeed that has moments of giving up, because I’m sure we’ve all been there, that doubt ourselves, I know I have. So thank you for the inspiration to not give up, and the advice to keep working on our craft.

  68. Rosie, what wisdom you have imparted here. You most certainly have worked very hard to earn your place in the spotlight. I admire your persistence. And you are so right about the time waiting for the success you dream of being a time of preparation or as we often call it in my circle of friends, a time of positioning. Those times are equally as important as the successes. Thank you so much for this very thoughtful post. I’m sure most, if not all of us writers feel that “I give up” feeling of despair on many occasions. Thank you for giving us this wise counsel to lift us up. I look forward to seeing your books as they come out! Wishing you all the best.

  69. Rosie, thank you for giving us such a heartfelt and honest portrayal of the bumpy road you took toward publication. I’m awed by your perseverance, and congratulate you on your well-earned success.

  70. Thanks Rosie. Looking forward to reading If I Weren’t With You. Enjoying the journey is hugely important and involves a lot of trust. I’m so happy for you! Thanks for sharing some of your steps with us.

  71. Thank you, Rosie, for sharing. What an inspiration and a kick in the behind for those of us who may want to wallow in a pool of rejection. This post is a great reminder to never give up and know that success could be waiting just around that next corner! Good luck!

    1. I hope it gave you some inspiration to keep going, Elizabeth. I still get rejections, too–they happen at every stage–I don’t think we ever get immune to them but we eventually learn how to handle them better. Onward!

  72. Thank you for sharing your journey. I often feel like it is in insurmountable task to become an author. I love hearing peoples stories about how they finally got there.

  73. Wow.

    My favorite line: “Your mind will try to take you dark places again. Don’t let it. Find the root of your fear and put in the labor to suffocate it.”

    I’m going to start on that right away!

  74. Thank you for sharing your trials and tribulations, Rosie! Your post is very inspiring. Your comment about letting your work mature reminded me of fine wine or cheese. It’s better with age! Cheers and congrats!

  75. This was the perfect “push” for this time of year…too many gloomy days, not enough sun or warmth for the soul! Your story is a great example of tweaking, forging ahead, changing directions…and I personally loved, making new connections! Thank you for the wise words…persevering does not come easy!

  76. I appreciate your push to persevere! This was the perfect post for March, the weather certainly can affect my attitude about writing; gloomy, no sun, cold, the yearning for Spring. This blog was a great reminder to get back in there and get back out there. Keep moving forward. Tweaking your craft and making new connections!

  77. I’m so glad you didn’t give up. But it was a good thing to write that thought down. Now, you will never give up, and we’ll get to enjoy your books.

  78. Thank you so much for this inspiring post. There are times when I think I’m alone in the writer’s pit. This community and its dedication to success is often what keeps me writing. Congrats on your well deserved success!

  79. Congrats on your breakthrough Rosie! I agree with the reading of personal development books. I recently checked out ‘How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci’ and learned that he has many unfinished projects that outnumber his finished works. He never gave up, just continued to learn, share and do. Just like you and this writing community. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  80. Thanks so much for your candid reveal of your process. You are a lovely light when this writer feels like she’s in a dark tunnel. Many good wishes for your continued success.

  81. I’ve been writing for ten years now, so those words of encouragement are a fix! It’s good to remember that part of the path isn’t in my hands and that I can work on the part that is. Perspective is certainly a winner!
    Success to you.

  82. It’s so good to know that this is a craft we can learn – and that we must leap into it. That’s a fun part. I have thought about giving up (it’s been a long time since my only publication) but you’re right, there’s excitiement in improving and finding that idea that sets you on fire.

  83. Congratulations. I’m so glad you didn’t give up. And thank you for sharing your story. It’s nice to hear someone who worked for ten plus years finally found the success they’d been looking for. Lately I’ve been reading about people who worked hard for three or four years (I’m on ten) and I, too, have been wondering if it’s time to throw in the towel. So I love knowing that throwing yourself all in gave you the success you’d been seeking. Thank you.

  84. Thank you so much for sharing your journey! I think it’s something to which we all can relate. The biggest benefit in joining 12×12 has been feeling like I’m part of a community and learning from other writers who share such similar goals and inspirations.

  85. Congratulations, Rosie. I love your story to success. It is so encouraging and full of wonderful advice. Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

  86. Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey. I’m one of those authors who had several books published, then my submissions went cold. I asked myself if it was time to close my computer, but I kept checking out workshops and books on writing. Then I heard about 12×12 and decided to jump in. It’s amazing how much having a community inspires writing. Who knows, perhaps by the end of 2017 I’ll have different news.

  87. Rosie, this post was amazing!!! Such an inspiration! You are a ” Life Coach” to all of us writers!
    Thank you for being real.
    Can’t wait to read this book and all of yours in the future!
    Warmest wishes,

  88. Heartfelt advise that is spot-on. Thank you for sharing your despair, your vulnerability, your challenges, your roadmap out of the pits, and your successes. What an enjoyable read. Thank you so much.

  89. Wow! Congratulations and thank you so much for walking us though your journey to success. It is very inspiring and encouraging. I plan to use your advise! Thanks again for sharing!

  90. focus on the craft… work on your mindset… keep going… it will likely happen when you’re ready. perfect! that’s exactly what i needed to hear! 🙂 onward and upward!

  91. This post!!!! I feel like I need to reread it 10 more times to get all of the nuggets of wisdom. Better yet, I think I am going to print it out and have my highlighter handy. Thank you so much, Rosie, for sharing your experience-both the ups and the downs. You are 100% right about the overnight success-perfection is not relatable-authenticity is. I try to live that way in general. Congratulations on your upcoming publications! I can’t wait to read.

  92. Wow! Your perseverance is admirable. As is your dedication to the craft. I hope I can be as persistent and dedicated as you on my long journey. Thanks for sharing your story!

  93. Rosie, you nailed many of the fears which keep dragging me down. Your inspiration has me pegging more positive and I thank you. I look forward to reading and adding your books to my shelf. Congratulations 🙂

  94. Thanks Rosie for the words of encouragement and proving that perseverance and persistence are key to publishing success.

  95. Good for you for finding the strength to keep going and never giving up. I have a fortune cookie fortune pinned to the cork board in my kitchen. It simply says: It doesn’t take guts to quit. Every time I get a little down on things, I look at that and remember to keep moving toward my goals. Good luck with your new release!

  96. Thank you Rosie! As someone who is currently in the “I give up!” mode, I have taken your advise to heart. Your words are much appreciated.

  97. Thank you for sharing your very inspiring story. I’m glad you didn’t give up, Rosie! I’ll think of you when I have those thoughts! (They creep up often!) I’m excited to read your new book coming out soon.

  98. Thank you so much for sharing your advice and your story in such an open, vulnerable way. You’re right – this is much more relatable than an overnight success.

  99. Yes! I love everything about this post. There is a powerful reason we are drawn to the craft of writing picture books. To just give up is to give up on a passion. Patience, persistence and curiosity are our virtues.

  100. Thank you Rosie for your long and detailed post about never giving up – even when you thought you had given up. Even your replies to other comments are inspiring: “I didn’t come this far just to come this far” will be my new motto. Congratulations on your well-deserved success!

  101. I’m so happy you went though all that so you could write this inspirational blog for us 😉 Can’t wait to read your forthcoming titles and follow your career! You earned it!

  102. Thank you for sharing your inspiring journey Rosie! It is an important reminder not to give up, and when you hit a block, find a way around it! I love that!

  103. Thanks so much for sharing your story!
    Congrats on finally meeting with the success you have strived for!
    Hope to see your book on a shelf near me soon!


  104. Rosie,

    Your story and the way you presented it was both fascinating and encouraging. No matter what kind of writer you are (I have written non-fiction magazine articles in the past and done some ad copywriting), learning and growing is always foremost. Anyone who is done learning or thinks they know everything about their craft is lying to themselves and their work will reflect it. I am new to PB and the connections and encouragement found here and with other writers in general is truly amazing. How many other professions (or hobbies) or whatever one might call their writing can find people of like minds to help them when they are at their lowest point. I have been working on PB for about 2 months now and I am a sponge. I want to learn everything I can and I am reading, reading and writing. Like you say, when your work is ready for prime time, prime time will be ready for your work. I know I will get there as I am optimistic. My first drafts in freelance magazine articles were pretty awful but I stuck with it and I got published a lot. Believing in yourself and your abilities, being humble like you are, realistic and being able to take criticism about one’s work only pushes you ahead toward the goal.

    By the way, my mother lived in Sofia, Bulgaria during WW2 and then came to this country. She is from Berlin, Germany.

    Thanks for sharing.

  105. Tammi Sauer’s conferences are the best! She got me started on this too, thinking that maybe I could actually do it!

  106. This is exactly what I needed today. I am on the same journey and I am grasping at every chance to learn that I can find. I have a new critique group and 12 x 12 is forcing me to write more than I ever have. Grateful today to read about your success story. Congratulations!

  107. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Your post was so inspirational. I’m happy for your success and grateful for sharing the lessons learned in the process.

  108. I just read this a second time, and it couldn’t be more timely advice. I have not given up on my work, but been down in general about other things in life shifting and becoming more isolated from health changes, and then under all this is the long years of trying and leaving and returning to this picture book creation world, submission attempts, and wondering if publication will ever happen. Then there are the people not in this world, who don’t get the process, and imagine I just don’t finish things – and tell me this or how I should self-publish, or how I should do this or that and the other – and the many lovely folks – 2 in just this past week – who tell me they are working on 1 picture book, want to publish, ask me how to, and the many over years who imagine if I illustrate their book for them, they will then get published easier…will I do this on spec?
    Whew! okay, now post vent laughing.

    Your advice is authentic, experienced, solid, and helps me feel grounding. I am excited for your success!
    It also gives me hope. <3

  109. There are so many great takeaways in this post, Rosie. Thank you for sharing your story and encouraging us. Like you, there have been times when I felt like giving up. But refocusing on craft always helps me get out of my funk. In fact, I’ve been considering taking a break from querying in order to free up more time for writing. Your post was just what I needed to read to help me make that decision. 🙂

  110. Thank you for sharing your story. Only writers understand how challenging it is to keep optimistic in this difficult business. Congratulations on your success and thanks for your open, honest advice.

  111. Thank you for the wise advice, Rosie, and congratulations on your great successes — well deserved and earned after so much hard work on craft and perseverance. Yay!

  112. Thank you so much for the words of encouragement. I feel on that give up brink sometimes too. Can you recommend some of your favorite craft books, please? Or editors? Or conferences? I’m a member of SCBWI and take advantage there but I’d LOVE some more resources. Thank you!

  113. Rosie, thanks for sharing your trail of admirable perseverance! And wishing you every success with the books that have resulted, and their own journeys.

  114. Rosie, I love what you’ve written. I’ve printed a copy to put into my writing wisdom binder. I wish I had read this or figured it out twenty years ago. I think you should expand this an write a book about writing process…. it fits all genres of writing. This is great stuff!

  115. Hi Rosie:

    Words for the day…
    “View your failures as opportunities and your road blocks as blessings in disguise.”
    Thank you!

  116. Rosie,

    Your story and the way you presented it was both fascinating and encouraging. No matter what kind of writer you are (I have written non-fiction magazine articles in the past and done some ad copywriting), learning and growing is always foremost. Anyone who is done learning or thinks they know everything about their craft is lying to themselves and their work will reflect it. I am new to PB and the connections and encouragement found here and with other writers in general is truly amazing. How many other professions (or hobbies) or whatever one might call their writing can find people of like minds to help them when they are at their lowest point. I have been working on PB for about 2 months now and I am a sponge. I want to learn everything I can and I am reading, reading and writing. Like you say, when your work is ready for prime time, prime time will be ready for your work. I know I will get there as I am optimistic. My first drafts in freelance magazine articles were pretty awful but I stuck with it and I got published a lot. Believing in yourself and your abilities, being humble like you are, realistic and being able to take criticism about one’s work only pushes you ahead toward the goal.

    By the way, my mother lived in Sofia, Bulgaria during WW2 and then came to this country. She is from Berlin, Germany.

    Thanks for sharing.

  117. Through the craziness of this month, including my own nagging self doubts, I nearly missed this post. Thank my lucky stars that there’s a check-in reminder because your journey, your words are so very relatable! I’m so glad to have literally stumbled over it today (although my big toe may not be that happy with the laptop!) This is a post I will return to again and again. Merci! And much congrats on the arrival of your book baby 🙂

  118. Hi Rosie–I read your post weeks ago but wanted to process before commenting. I think your journey is quite noteworthy and your perseverance life changing.

    Your willingness to “keep on keeping on” should serve to inspire many who wilt at rejection. You reminded me that I don’t discover much about who I am when life is good, the sun is shining, and everyone seems to care.
    However, I have painfully discovered that I learn a great deal about myself when life throws me a curve, when the dark clouds descend, and no one seemingly cares.

    Thanks again for being transparent and revealing your struggles. You have no doubt helped many in their current journeys. Thanks.

  119. Wow! This post is great! So many great takeaways and wonderful reminders and encouragement. May need to bookmark this for those rejection days! Thanks Rosie!

  120. Rosie, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I know everyone of us has those days when we wonder if we’re doing the right thing, and then those days where we just want to GIVE UP. Thank you for showing us a way to get past that and meet your goals. Good luck with your new books!

  121. Rosie,

    I was sitting in a car repair shop, waiting for my car, and became completely involved in your post. I needed to hear everything you wrote about, and I truly appreciate your insights and sharing. For quite some time, I operated under the illusion that writing was easy for others, and maybe I was not destined to pursue this dream. Thanks for reigniting the flame!

  122. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think many of us feel about in the mid-point of this at the path ahead is dark and daunting. Stories like this keep me going. I wish you the best of luck going forward!

  123. Just today I was discussing Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, and I realized that I keep digging and turning and hoping to uncover something spectacular. Thanks for sharing. It’s encouraging.

  124. Congratulations, Rosie
    Just look at all the lives you are touching! Children, their adult readers and now all of us here at 12×12 with a renewed inspiration to continue doing what we love and honing our craft.

  125. Thanks for the encouragement. From one Rosie to another, I attended a lot of workshops and conferences. So many that I decided NOT to attend any this year and concentrate on my writing.

  126. Thank you for the motivation and inspiration. Your post is very timely for me. I appreciate you sharing your story . I’d also love to know what some of your favorite craft books are.

    1. Yes, Julie, happy to share a list. I’ve created a page on my website with resources for writers and I will keep expanding it with more helpful resources of all kind. You can find the titles there. Not all of these books are geared toward PBs specifically but since I write middle grade and young adult novels as well, I’ve found them very helpful–they have informed my writing across the board so I do recommend them.

      On my website, look under “About” and click on “Resources.”


  127. Wow, thank you for such a vulnerable and honest post! Vulnerable because it’s easy to just share the parts that led to success and not the hurdles, stumbling blocks and setbacks. I am at the beginning of my journey but I can already see the value in the investment of time and the growth that can happen from receiving critiques and feedback rather than unbridled praise. I’m saving this post to refer back to!

  128. Rosie, this was such an amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I was pulling for you as I read, and I really appreciated your comments, not only on staying strong but also on all your process and your hard work. Thank you so much, Congratulations on getting published, and best wishes in all your future projects!!

  129. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. Congrats on all your success! Clearly great things come to those who persevere!

  130. I love your list of things to say to yourself! I took a sabbatical from a critique group, too (actually, twice…), as well as from writing before finding my motivation and getting back at it. Persistence is definitely needed. Congratulations and awesome post!!

  131. I just reread this post Rosie as I realized I never commented on it before. (I was busy helping my youngest daughter pack to move to NYC).
    Back to your post, when I read this the first time back on March 3, it was a day before My hubby and I drove our daughter to NYC and I remember feeling pretty pumped up about being in NYC for a few days after we moved her into her apt. to do some people watching and gather more ideas for stories. I figured too that I would come back invigorated and ready to hit the revisions hard.
    This was totally not the case and this month instead has been really hard and I was ready to give up yesterday for so many reasons.
    However, while in the give up mode, I opened the weekly Kidlit411 and saw that today was a deadline for a grant I wanted to apply for so I opened up a story and revised it and polished it some more until i was satisfied I had checked off the boxes from my critique group and liked the end result.
    Then I reread your post and am reinvigorated again and happy I decided to plow through. A new light has sparked and your encouraging words helped.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It means so much to us all. <3

  132. Thank you Rosie for sharing your amazing journey with us. I love your book cover too.
    I could related to rejection letters with ‘words or phrases’ of encouragement. We cling to them, like looking at a candlelight, it’s not so dark anymore. Also great advice about not running away from fears but dealing with them.
    Your courage and persistence are an example to stay on the path and keep going. Very helpful!

  133. Wow! Thank you Rosie. This post both very honest and inspiring. Congratulations on your success and thank you for your perspective!

  134. Thank you Rosie, for sharing your story. I am so related to your experience, and encouraged by your spirit not giving up and continued to find a place for your manuscripts.

  135. I felt this rollercoaster of excitement, hope, despair, frustration….and I have pretty thick skin already! Your story is so meaningful and helpful. It gives me energy to keep going with developing my craft so I can persist with being published in the new genres I have chosen. Thank you for such a thoughtful sharing of your experiences and advice!

  136. I LOVE YOUR STORY, Rosie! You did everything right…and nothing happened. So…you did everything right again.
    Every child out there is lucky you didn’t give up…they are going to get to read your beautiful books! Congratulations…and I’m looking forward to your posts on my blog. 🙂

  137. What you wrote really resonated with me, having been at the point in in late 2016 where I nearly gave up. This year I’ve completed Storystorm and joined 12X12 for the first time. I am learning to write humorous stories and my passion for PBs has been rekindled.

  138. The life of writers should get better with time. That doesn’t seem to be true. Good thing most writers have an inner drive that gives us kicks in the pants. Your post did that for me. Thank you.

  139. Thank you for your inspiring and encouraging post Rosie. Finding myself at a crossroads in my life, I decided to come back to writing after many years, which I left after being discouraged through rejection after rejection! I like the fact that you read personal development books as well as craft books which I have been doing myself as life has left my self-esteem at an all time low. As the saying goes ‘you are what you think you are’ so developing a good mind set is so important. Thank you.

  140. Thanks for sharing. I feel like I give up at least once a month! But then I rally and push on because of writers like you who share their frustrations with all of us.

  141. This has been my year to realize the power of community. Surrounding myself with other writers has been a Godsend. It is wonderful to hear that signing up for every conference, blog, and opportunity this year is not just an obsession. Self doubt still kicks in, but I kick back and am stronger for it. You have lit up a long dark tunnel for those of us following you. Your advice is so appreciated!

  142. This has been my year to realize the power of community. Surrounding myself with other writers has been a Godsend. It is also wonderful to hear that signing up for every conference, blog, and opportunity this year is not just an obsession. Self doubt still kicks in, but I kick back and am stronger for it. You have lit up a long dark tunnel for those of us following you. Your advice is so appreciated!

  143. Thank you so much for sharing your story so honestly and bravely! Your words echo J. K. Rowling’s commencement speech in which she advised people to see setbacks as opportunities to learn 🙂 Congrats on all your hard work, and on your success!

  144. So much to take away from your post, Rosie. I could so relate with ‘take a chance as soon as you see one, before you have a chance to second-guess or talk yourself out of it.’ Thank you for sharing your journey of perseverence.

  145. Great article and perfect timing. It is hard to believe in something so much and have such a hard time getting your foot in the door. I keep registering for conferences and taking classes and have already learned so much. Just need to learn to have a bit more patience.

  146. So many times I’ve wanted to give up completely. I’ve taken some time off in 2016. Your post makes me want to keep on going. It’s tough, but I know in the end it’ll be worth it. So happy for you that you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do. Keep up the inspiring work.

  147. I loved it!. personally it’s a very timely article to read. Thank you, it provides valuable approaches to honing skills and navigating self doubt. ??????

  148. Such a great life story, I am you, in over 15 years , ready to throw in the towel, getting helpful rejections …hoping I will turn the corner / thank you for these words of wisdom!

  149. Thanks for sharing your story and reminding us to respect the process. Patience and perseverance win every time.

  150. Thanks for sharing your story! Your courage and commitment is inspiring. Sounds like some exciting months — and years — ahead. Love the idea of a “craft infusion.” Sounds like it should be a cocktail!

    Any favorite craft books that grabbed a hold of you and didn’t let go? Thanks!

  151. Rosie – You are a wonderful example of a writer’s dedication! I believe that all the obstacles in our path are part of our training and eventually become our very own unique life story. So glad you stuck with it. I can’t wait to read your book – the title is intrigues me!

  152. Thanks so much for sharing your inspirational story! I love the suggestion of working on craft in response to rejection. A win-win–moving on/not dwelling on the negative and improving your writing at the same time. Great advice and encouragement.

  153. Thank you for sharing your journey. I don’t think you ever gave up you certainly kept going and showed great perseverance. Thanks for reminding us to never give up!

  154. Thank you so much Rosie for such an inspiring, and heartfelt, story! It is great motivation for us all to keep plugging away, to keep studying the craft, and to keep getting stories we believe in out there! Best of luck to you and congrats on your success!

  155. Wow, what a journey! I truly believe that every writer who has experienced some form of rejection can certainly relate to and benefit from your experience with the process. Thank you for sharing and I wish you the best in all of your future projects!

  156. Boy, your journey ended well but you certainly took the road less traveled! What an appreciation for the process you must have. Hope your book launch goes really well.

  157. Thank you for your words!
    “That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

  158. Rosie, I’m so grateful for your generous gifts of transparency, encouragement, and inspiration. You not only made it to the top of the mountain, you’re offering assistance to those still climbing. Congratulations and thank you!
    I can’t wait to read IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU. And I hope you become so successful that your “I GIVE UP!” page will be archived someday to energize future generations who are halfway up the hill.

  159. Hey Rosie, this really resonated with me. I enrolled in a prof writing course this year on the basis of working on my craft while waiting to get published (again – yes, I had two books published but felt like the next one might never happen). Then, in January, before I was about to start the course, my next contract magically appeared!! But I’m loving the course and the feeling of immersing myself in the world of writing. Best wishes to you with all your titles and thanks for sharing your story 🙂

  160. I’m impressed by your choice to take a sabbatical. It’s so easy to just keep doing the same old thing, and that goes for more then just with writing. Congrats on refocusing and persevering!

  161. This is so encouraging. I have felt like giving up so many times. Thanks for reminding me to press on and keep going. Such an inspiring story!

  162. Rosie, Thank you so much for sharing your arduous journey with us. It helps to know the struggle can be worth it, as we all suspect and want it to be. I will especially take to heart your advice about “changing things up”. I, too, feel like I need to find new ways to grow and connect. Best wishes on your books — I will be watching for them!

  163. Rosie, what a heart-felt account of your journey. You give hope to all of us. I liked the way you linked personal growth literature to the author’s process. I am really looking forward to reading your book. Love the cover – very inviting. Best wishes to you as you continue on. 🙂 Pauline

  164. You were speaking directly to me, right? 😀 Well, it felt that way. This whole process takes so long, it can get discouraging. Thank you for the pep talk!

  165. Encouraging advice to pivot, retrench, and attack with gusto! Thank you for sharing your journey. I look forward to reading your upcoming books.

  166. This post it what I needed today. Yesterday I received a very long and carefully worded rejection letter and I’ve been in a bit of a funk today. Reading about Rosie’s persistence and the way she kept on going is inspiring and so comforting. Staying positive is so easy to forget when one feels alone and isolated in a life of making art and writing stories and not knowing if anyone will want your creations. The effort take grit and skill and the willingness to keep on learning the craft and revising and making things as good as one can make them. Onward!
    Rosie. Thank you for your wonderful article.

  167. Wow!! I’m impressed with your dedication and perseverance! I’m trying so hard to be patient with my own work now. Mold it until it shines. Thanks for your inspiration,

  168. Rosie,
    Thank you so much for sharing your ups and downs with us. I’ve only in the last year made a commitment to write children’s books. I have so much fun learning and creating…but I have days when I hear the voice of doubt “What the heck do you think you’re doing? Haven’t you wasted enough time on this whim?!” It was so good to hear that you spent YEARS developing and honing your craft. I know it doesn’t come easy and I do enjoy the work, but I admit, I can be impatient and think…shouldn’t I be producing SOMETHING??! by now? It’s encouraging to hear that perseverance pays! Best to you and the launching of your fresh words to the world! Looking forward to reading them! 🙂

  169. Thank you for sharing your story in such a raw, honest way. It is very relatable, indeed! How wonderful to see your success and to see your perseverance pay off. Your story is so inspiring and your message came at the perfect time for me.

  170. Thanks, Rosie for sharing your long and winding but persistent path to publication. The up and down experiences you have and the people you meet along the way do make it almost impossible to “give up”.

  171. I’m struck by how Tammi Sauer’s words were something you could cling to when everything seemed so discouraging. I bet she had no idea that her casual statement would make such a difference in your life. It’s a good reminder of how our words can impact people in ways that we may not recognize at the time (or ever). Thanks for sharing. You’re probably being a Tammi to other writers now.

  172. Thanks. Your attitude is fantastic. My thinking goes like this: If not this creative life, then what? There isn’t another option except for a boring life. So I might as well keep going, keep learning, keep enjoying the process. That’s what a full life should be all about.

  173. Your post just hit the mark with me so well. Your story resonated very much with me and I hope to follow your example. Thank you!

  174. Great words of encouragement … and important reminders on really learning the craft and building a community in this business …

    Thank you!

  175. Thank you for this encouraging post.
    I will spend some more time taking in all that you wrote. Congratulations on your book!

  176. I have read your post a number of times and each time I go through the gauntlet of emotions that you must have experienced. You poignantly expressed the roller coaster ride that leads to publication (or not). Thank you for sharing your story and yet fortifying us with tips on how to continue moving forward while seeming to stand still! Where there is hope there is promise!!

  177. I am so happy for you! Looking forward to reading your two books. This is such an inspiring post. Thank you!

  178. Rosie, I’m so excited to read your book to my son! Let’s celebrate at the next NT SCBWI meeting! Thank you for taking the time to inspire us and tell your story.

  179. Rosie, I am taking a page from your book! I did ReFoReMo this year and am also doing 2 x 12. Have already written two new picture books and hope to break the logjam I am currently in with one pb biography. Maybe a break will help.

  180. Rosie, your post could not have come at a better time! I have been feeling a lot of what you commented on and reading your post has reminded me of why I do what I do-because it’s a part of me and I love it! The road may sometime be long with many detours along the way but the key is focusing on the destination…thank you for reminding us all to never give up!

  181. I think your post is wonderful!!! Both because it inspires and because it’s kind of scary. I know I need to read about a long, hard, well-fought journey like that and think “I’m going all the way! I’m not giving up. No matter what! I’m going to work and work and work to get there.” One idea that has recently helped me is to know that I don’t just want to publish a book, I want to be a children’s book great. And to do that is going to take a long time and LOTS of effort. So it’s OK, if I don’t get an agent right away. I need to continue to develop my craft. Thank you for sharing your story!!! Best of luck for your continued success!

  182. Wow! This was definitely one of the best posts I have ever read. Such great advice. It sounded much like my experience, thoughts, and feelings up to the getting an agent and contracts part. Even the thoughts of giving up. Thanks, Rosie. this will keep me pushing ahead for a long time and in different ways.

  183. This detailed account of your struggles as a writer is inspiring to me. I’m impressed with the way you kept track of your journey, and kept digging deeper to apply yourself to steps to reach your goal. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing this. Onward! Onward!

  184. Thank you for sharing your story!! I am on the brink of wanting to give up. But your story gives me the encouragement I need to keep going. My story is similar to yours. It’s hard to keep the faith when you invest so much time and effort.
    Thanks for talking me off the ledge!

  185. This was a wonderful post. Stories of resilience and persistence like yours are the ones that encourages, “lifts us up where we belong” (like the song but with the BIC!) and makes us keep going. I wish you the best of luck and many more published books. Congratulations!
    Also, I saw that you were born in Bulgaria. Is English your first language? Mine is Portuguese, even though I’ve lived here for 17 years, many times I fear it sets me back. Did you ever feel that?
    Thanks again for sharing!

  186. You advice was exactly what I needed to hear today. My debut picture book came out in 2014 , did well, and then Standard Publishing went under. I have been very discouraged in trying to get further books published. You article inspired me to get my song singing in my heart again. Thank to so much. I love your book cover, by the way. Congratultions, Rosie, and may God bless you to be a blessing.

  187. Your story is an inspiration to me. I too wanted to go on a Sabatical and did for two years! But I just couldn’t stay away I joined 12×12 but was an inactive member. This year I’m active and joined a new critique group. Your suggestions are very helpful. Congratulations on your success!

  188. I really appreciate hearing about changing things up when faced with the frustration of feeling like you’re not progressing. Often I’ve found myself beating my head against the same brick wall. Great idea to not only dive back into craft but also into personal development. And a good reminder to dive into community. Many times our feelings of failure drive us into isolation, but a supportive community can keep us going. Thank you for sharing your story!

  189. Love this! We all need an infusion of hope with a dose of encouragement to keep striving toward our goals. Your story was all those things and more.

  190. Wow, thank you so much for sharing. I have been in such a funk and ready to give up, telling myself to forget about taking the summer course I was thinking about. I am going to enroll in it right now!! 🙂

  191. What a wonderful sharing of your journey, Rosie! It is Inspirational with an unexpected dose of humor that made me laugh! I will print this out for those days I’m feeling discouraged or too much in a hurry “to get there” rather than enjoying the journey. And Congratulations on your upcoming book releases!

  192. Thanks, Rosie for that encouraging message. I’ve been writing a long time (over 25 years!) and have had success in the adult market in terms of writing for newspapers, magazines, and anthologies, but my first love and passion is for writing picture books. And that is the one that still eludes me. During these years, I probably have more personal rejections than standard rejection letters. I’ve had a manuscript go to acquisitions yet ultimately rejected, despite the editor telling me it was very, very close. You have given me hope and the courage to continue down this road. Thank you.

  193. One of my favorite quotes is Thomas Edison’s Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

    So glad you didn’t give up! Thanks for the great reminder.

  194. Rosie, you are such an inspiration. So glad you stuck with it. And the advice to focus on craft first before banging your head on the wall is spot on. A constant barrage of “Yes” and “We love it” won’t improve your work. Only the fire of rejection and rebirth will do that.

  195. Wonderful post and just what I needed to hear at this moment in time. I, too, feel like I’m right there, ready to break through, but it hasn’t happened yet. The best thing to do is to focus on craft and community. Thank you for this!

  196. Thank you for sharing your story. It is a true testament to persistence. This is such an isolating business, it is so helpful to hear that others go through similar things and how they handle the frustrating times. Wonderful post.

  197. What an inspiring and motivational post! Thank you for taking the time to share and help others who aren’t yet published. You worked hard to get where you are, and I bet it’s worth every minute of that effort now! 🙂

  198. Your tenacity impresses me. I just can’t imagine coming back from five rejections in one day! Congratulations on being at this point. This post is encouraging with some great lessons about refocusing efforts when they’re failing. Thanks so much for the inspiration and putting things in perspective.

  199. Rosie, thank you for taking us on your inspiring journey. Each rejection brings me closer to that elusive acceptance. I look forward to buying your books.

  200. Rosie, I just read your post for the second time and am struck, once again, by your tenacity, persistence, courage, and refusal to give up–even in the face of rejection. I am also impressed by how determined you were to improve the craft of writing. I will take away many valuable lessons from this post. Thank you, and congratulations on your new book!

  201. Thanks for sharing your journey, Rosie. You are proof that learning the craft + perseverance is a winning combination. Congratulations on your upcoming books. I can’t wait to read them.

  202. What a beautiful post, Rosie! Thank you for sharing your story and your acquired wisdom with us all.

  203. You paint a very vivid picture of all the hard work and perseverance it takes to make it into the ranks of published authors. I am in awe of your work ethic!

  204. I’ve been going through a similar process right now. Last year I realized I need to stop submitting and really work on my craft. I’ve read a ton of craft books, gone to more conferences, and joined online communities like 12×22, storystorm, and ReFoReMo. Now I have a shiny stack of super polished manuscripts and I’m heading up to start querying agents again. Nervous but hopeful.

  205. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. It shows the power of perseverance. I could definitely relate to the parts about wanting that quick fix and then feeling frustrated. Letting things happen as they should can be the hardest thing. Thank you.

  206. Thank you Rosa for what I really needed to read right now. One of my books take away is that the journey is as much fun as the destination. I need to take my own advice and you reminded me!! All the best to you – we look forward to reading your book!

  207. Rosie, as we go through tests we have a greater testimony. Thank you for sharing honestly about your experiences in becoming a children’s book author. After reading your post, I was rejoicing in knowing you are seeing the fruit of your labor of love.
    It is meaningful to all of us in 12X12 to have a safe place to share. I, like you, joined this wonderful group to grow as a writer and to be encouraged to submit my writing. I appreciate so much the wisdom you have shared.

  208. Your post really resonated with me! Thank you for the reminder to continuously hone our craft. And, yes, feedback is such an essential part of this process. I wish you well with each of your book birthdays!

  209. Rosie, as we go through tests we have a greater testimony. Thank you for sharing honestly about your experiences in becoming a children’s book author. After reading your post, I rejoiced in knowing you are seeing the fruit of your labor of love.
    It is meaningful to all of us in 12X12 to have a safe place to share. I, like you, joined this wonderful group to grow as a writer and to be encouraged to submit my writing. I appreciate so much the wisdom you have shared.

  210. This was such a great read, thank you! A very important lesson to keep putting out good energy into your writing (or anything really!) and to keep your chin up through the winding path.

  211. Such good advice! I, too, think it’s really important to keep negative energy from getting the better of you. It’s not always easy, that’s for sure, and rejections so often appear negative – but you can put a positive spin on them with a little creative thinking. When I first started submitting my MG novel, I actually looked forward to that first rejection just so I could get it over with!

  212. Dear Rosie, thank you so much for sharing your inspiring journey.
    I love your proactive attitude- you really set an inspiring example
    (to your kids to!) about perseverance in the face of hardships.
    Congratulations on all of your books!

  213. I totally relate to your post, Rosie! I’m now immersing myself in craft–trying to move from ‘almost there’ to ‘nailed it!’ I still have a ways to go–but I will not give up!! Thanks for your encouragement!

  214. Thank you for the reminder that progress is moving forward even when it feels like you’re going backwards!

  215. I love this line: My antidote habit had taken formation. After failure, inject craft. I feel I should post in the wall by my desk. Thanks for the great post.

  216. Thank you for being so honest about your emotions and thoughts through your pre-published journey. Congratulations on the multiple books you’ve authored that will soon be finding their way into the hands and hearts of little kids!

  217. Rosie, thank you for the honesty and encouragement in your words. Just what I needed to read! I enjoyed getting to meet you at our North Texas SCBWI Revision Retreat last year. Congratulations on your success!

  218. Really enjoyed reading about your journey- Thanks for your insights and encouragement! Congratulations on all your success! I can’t wait to read your books!

  219. Thank you for the encouraging and inspirational post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your journey. Your perseverance paid off. Congratulations on your upcoming books – can’t wait to read them!

  220. You put my whining to shame, Rosie. I haven’t given up yet. Neither have I put as much shoulder to the wheel as you have. Although I remain an unpublished children’s author, I’ll most likely continue to write, keeping in mind the insight Pat Z. Miller’s offered as a conference keynote speaker (which I paraphrase). Would I be happier if I stopped writing. The reality is I write because it gives me pleasure.

  221. Oh, Rosie! It was so therapeutic to read your post! Thank you for giving a voice to the heartbreak so that we could all hear it, relate to it, and be encouraged and inspired. Currently in the submission doldrums myself, I appreciate everything you wrote here more than I can say. PERSIST IN THE FACE OF HEARTBREAK. Yes, you are so right. And you have proved that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you so much for your courage and for keeping on keeping on!

  222. Thank you, Rosie, for your post. Your journey, advice, and words of encouragement really struck a chord in me. I am looking forward to reading your books.

  223. Rock on! Thank you for not being afraid of the challenges and hard parts – both to yourself and in sharing them with us. I agree that it’s typically through the hard stuff that we have epiphanies and learning. Not so much of that when all is going swimmingly! Question if you happen to read this and be willing to share: did you have a favorite 1-2 books that you’d recommend when you dove back in and read books on the craft? Thank you!

  224. Thank you for your openness about your journey to become a published writer. It is inspirational. I appreciate all of it, but especially your push for reading both craft books and personal development books to change your mindset. Excellent article.

  225. Hi Rosie,
    I LOVED this post! Reading these words describes exactly how I feel, the crazy ebb and flow. Thank you for the gems of advice!

  226. Thank you, Rosie. We often do not see all the years of work that others have also done. Your commitment and perseverance is inspiring. I love how you stuck with it and kept going back to try different angles for success. I would love to hear about what personal development books and craft resources you used along the way! Thank you!

    1. Martha, I’ve posted some of the personal development books in one of my comments above and you can find list of the craft books on my website under About: Resources 🙂

  227. Thank you so much for this post and all that you put into it- I am bookmarking. I found all of it incredibly helpful, and I especially love: “1. In times of despair, try these two things to help you out of the funk: work on developing your craft and connect with the community.” Great take-aways. Thank you!!

  228. How did I not read this post earlier in the month? Now that I have, I’m going to read it again and again. So much of this is my story!!! Thank you, Rosie, for such honesty. Like your writing life hasn’t always been a bed of roses. It’s rocks and roses, and I bet it hits home with lots of us.

  229. Rosie: I read your article at the beginning of March, and decided to try some of your suggestions. I’ve added a couple of courses on craft this month, covering more than PB’s, but still relevant. Thank you.

  230. This was one of the most inspiring posts I have read so far. I have framed my uneasiness at times the same way that you did, that is, “something was missing”. The frustration is around not always being able to identify what is missing. It seems like I am all in on one aspect of the process at a time. I have immersed myself in research at the expense of writing or getting illustrations as examples; unfortunately at the expense of the writing. It is the emotional battles that are the most challenging. You left me with a thought I wrote and posted at my desk, “It will happen when I am ready. Thanks for your thoughts.

  231. I feel like this is cyclical for me, and I’m used to it now. I have enough history with the process to remember that the lows are temporary. I also feel like the more I am working on *any* part of the process – even if I’m not writing – the less I get caught up in a funk. I also find that I’m less likely to feel jealous of friends’ successes when I’m working, for what that’s worth.

    The upshot is: just keep swimming! just keep swimming!

  232. Thank you so much for this post. It is so easy to get discouraged and give up. It’s so good to hear that by continually coming back to craft our writing will get better and better! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us.

  233. What an encouraging story. I’ve been having the occasional “I give up!” thought recently, but I’m thankful that, for some reason, I just keep going. Congratulations on your book contracts. You’ve earned this success!

  234. Great post! I can so identify with this: one day I received 6 rejections in the mail. I had to go have a talk with my mailman Danny — I asked him to *please* spread out those brown envelopes, because they meant rejection and I just couldn’t handle that much in one day. I love how you kept going, kept honing your craft… and yourself! I do the same thing — read self-improvement books and listen to self-improvement CDs, as well as ones on the craft of writing. I figure it can’t hurt. Selling a. book or a short story or an article never gets old — the thrill is still there, no matter what “number” it is. Thank you for sharing your story and I look forward to reading your picture book when it comes out.

  235. I really admire your resilience and how you dug deeper at each setback. It’s a terrific reminder to use conferences and courses as an opportunity to hone skills and connect! Thank you.

  236. I am quickened by your counsel not to run from your fears but to address them. What a strength you have shown in this article. Thank you for your transparency.

  237. Hi Rosie, your blog really hit home with me. Your journey sounds exactly like mine except for all the conferences, I’ve only been to one, due to costs, and I didn’t even know what to do there, Aside from that, I had an agent but she gave up and we parted as friends. I am so full of hope after reading this and at the same time full of fear. Maybe fear is what keeps me going! Oddly enough, I think of quitting nearly every day, but I can’t keep my fingers off the keyboard. I am fortunate, at this time in my life, that I am able to write as much and as often as I do. I must say though, it is getting harder to find the time to exercise and my bottom is getting larger. Congratulations on your success and thank you for your inspiring blog.
    Sincerely, Joan Sloane

  238. Thanks Rosie for pouring out your heart, and sharing your journey! I’m so glad you kept persevering, and that your determination has led you to getting your stories published. Every bit of encouragement means so much to us 12x12ers!! 🙂

  239. Hi Rosie,
    thank you for sharing your insights. I look forward to reading your picture book.

  240. Hi Rosie! Thanks for sharing your struggle and eventual success. Your perseverance is both admirable and inspiring. I especially resonated with your encouragement to work on personal development. It seems that so much of creativity is dependent on our courage to go after our dreams. I look forward to reading your books!

  241. Great post, Rosie! Thank you for sharing your journey of patience and perseverance with us. A terrific reminder to all of us that each rejection brings us closer to that magical “Yes!”

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