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12 X 12 Featured Author December 2017 – Marcie Colleen

12 x 12 Featured Author December 2017 – Marcie Colleen

12 x 12 Member and Author Marcie ColleenWow! Is it December already? Where does the time go?

It certainly has been an honor to be your Friday Dance Captain these past weeks and now I get the added honor of being the Featured Author this month.

I thought long and hard about this post. I contemplated sharing some last minute, “do-this-before-the-year-ends” advice. But I wasn’t sure that would be helpful.

So, seeing as it is Friday, I would like to use this time for a little reflection and celebration.

I am sure when you started 12×12 last January you had grand plans. You were going to write twelve manuscripts or you were going to land an agent or you were going to sell your first or second or fourteenth book. And if you are like me, you feel like a failure for having not met at least one of those goals.

The end of the year can be disheartening for goal-setters like us. We tend to look back on the past 365 days and see everything we didn’t accomplish. And for my fellow Hermione Grangers out there, you might find yourself struggling to do “the thing” before midnight on New Year’s and miss out on all the end-of-year fun.

That’s no good. And that hardly constitutes enjoying the journey.

Now I could tell you to go back and look at all your comments on the Friday Dance Party, to jog your memory as to what you have accomplished this year. But that could take a while. (However, if you have the time, do it. List everything, no matter how small. You should know by now, it all counts.)

But instead, I want you to close your eyes. Imagine that all of 12×12 is at a giant holiday party. Look around the room.

Love, Triangle by Marcie ColleenThis, right here, is your accomplishment.

You see, on this journey, you get points just for showing up.

You get points for joining.

You get points for connecting with other writers.

You get points for that half-baked story you never got quite right.

You get points for encouraging others.

You get points for being honest about your struggles.

You get points for reaching out.

You get points for networking.

You get points for trying.

And you get points for becoming part of the tribe.


We see you, we celebrate you, we totally “get it.”

You are not where you were a year ago. Realize that.

This writer’s life is hard. The struggle is real. But you are not doing it alone…and that, my friends, is worth celebrating.

To take a line from my favorite movie, “No man is a failure who has friends.” You are a vital part of this community. And for that you are one of the richest people on earth.

Now, take a deep breath. Pour yourself some mulled cider. Take out your 2017 to-do list and with a big ol’ Sharpie, change that 2017 to 2018. You’ll get to it, because that’s who you are. Just not right now. Now is the time to look back and celebrate.

You’ve done good.

YOU are accomplished.

That is enough.


TINY PRANCER by Marcie ColleenIn previous chapters Marcie Colleen has been a teacher, an actress, and a nanny, but now she spends her days writing children’s books! She is the author of THE SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS chapter book series with Macmillan/Imprint, as well her debut picture book, LOVE, TRIANGLE, illustrated by Bob Shea (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins), and PENGUINAUT!, illustrated by Emma Yarlett, to be published by Scholastic in 2018. She lives with her husband and their mischievous sock monkey in San Diego, California.

Marcie is giving away THREE prizes for our December check-in—a signed copy of LOVE, TRIANGLE, a signed copy of THE SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS #8: TINY PRANCER, and a picutre book critique. Get your draft done for your chance to win one of these fantastic prizes!

This Post Has 166 Comments
  1. This past week, I pulled up an older story to revise, glanced at the date, and felt my heart sink. I had been remembering the good part of the story and forgetting all of the awful, first-draftiness of the ms. Then I looked at the date again. Jan of 2016, not 2017. It made me realize that while I have improvements to make, I am getting better. Slowly but surely I’m internalizing the lessons, tips, and advice we receive.

  2. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! It’s a good reminder to think back on all the little things that were accomplished and realize that they add up. And such a good reminder that being part of the community and part of the journey is just as (or even more important) than meeting some of the tangible goals set over the year. Thank you. Happy holidays to you and the rest of this awesome community!

  3. Marcie, you are so right that we forget what we’ve accomplished as time marches on. And being part of an encouraging, supportive, and motivating community of writers is an important part of every step we take all year long. Here’s to celebrations for 2017 and continued goals for upcoming 2018!

  4. Marcie, You are always such an amazing cheerleader! It is so appreciated, and has not gone overlooked. I was blown away by your Love Triangle concept, and now am worried seeing the cover of Tiny Prancer with hair over his eyes! What will happen to her while skiing? Of course I want to read this book! I will not rest until I know she is safe! I am just having a moment that this was a very long year. It was a very full one, with this community supporting me along the way. In just 2 years, and especially this 2nd one, I have seen and felt so many changes in my behaviors not only of great habits to getting the work done, but also in being braver at taking risks. I still may flounder about at times not knowing what an agent really means or wants, but I have seen myself do bold things in life and feel really good about it – feeling more professional has been a part of this.
    Thanks for being such a big part of the community support!

  5. Thank you Marcie! I look forward to the Friday Dance Party evey week. The support in 12×12 is amazing. It amazing to be part of this amazing, encouraging group. I am excited every time someone has good news and empathize when they struggle. Here’s to many more celebrations!

  6. You read my mind, Marcie. I am feeling like I didn’t accomplish as much as I would have liked. Thank you for the encouraging note. Also, I just read Love, Triangle with my daughter the other day – such a great story.

  7. Marcie, thank you for hosting Friday’s Dance Party. Your inspiration warms my heart like all of the beautiful writing community. I didn’t do all the things I hoped to do in 2017, but I did more than I expected because of 12×12. I’m working on my December draft and keeping pace with that old tick-tock.

  8. Great post, Marcie. I fell way short of what I wanted to achieve. I’ll keep going though. Just hope I’m not a really old lady by the time I get anywhere.

  9. Thank you for the encouragement and validation of what we do and are constantly doing to try to get one or two great manuscripts. Next year is my year to submit to more than contests and critique partners. I can’t wait to start finding hooks, query letter beginnings and finding a supportive agent. Or not.

  10. Thanks, Marcie. The struggle continues, but at least we’re in the boat with people who care. And for that I am extremely grateful!

  11. I love this post, Marcie! So much so that I’m printing it out & sticking it right on top of my writing folder! Have a fantastic holiday season & thanks for being our Dance Captain every week 🙂

  12. Love this post, Marcie!! Thank you for reminding us that it’s “trying” that matters. I really appreciate your Friday Dance Party leadership — it is inspiring and motivating! Big accomplishments are great, but sometimes it’s the little things that really keep me going, day after day.

  13. Marcie, (everyone,)

    One of the most marvelous things I can boast about this year, is that I have found my tribe. Never in my life have I met such a warm, encouraging, resource-sharing group of creative geniuses. Each of you is a treasure to me. The responsiveness we all exhibit in helping to critique a colleague’s work, the giddy excitement we all share at one another’s accomplishments, the sincerity with which we all commiserate when a speed bump emerges in our ascent to library shelves and book store displays… those are the marks of a tribe. I have made life-long friends this year. I respect so many of the professionals that frequent these forums. And Marcie, your comments got me choked up. On top of that wonderful community, we gain invaluable knowledge about our industry, our craft, and how to keep forward momentum in our paths to publication. 12×12 membership is and always will be a fantastic accomplishment. Much love to all of you! You had a great year. Next year will be even better!

  14. Wow Marcie, you’re going to get me emotional on a Friday! This was my first year with 12×12 and really focusing on my writing and holy cow—I have learned so much. So greatly for this opportunity and to have “met” so many people and learned so, so much.

  15. Thanks for reminding us the importance of goals and what goes in to getting there. Lots of points for writing being in community, and learning about our craft as we move forward.

  16. This is exactly what I needed to hear today! I’ve been feeling very meh about my writing and manuscripts that I just can’t make work, but you are right. I am accomplished. I’m so much farther along than last year. Thank you for this post!

  17. Marcie’s “Love ,Triangle” and “Tiny Prancer” are on my reading list–I think I’ll wait on the off chance that I’ll be lucky enough to win one of them. One thing I’ll never be lucky enough to do is live in her home city, which is my favorite city in the whole world!

  18. Wow, that was such a helpful, hopeful, feel-great post. And so true! Thank you for passing along those wise thoughts, and making me appreciate 12 x 12 even more!

  19. Marcie! You just made this first day of the last month of the year feel like it is the best day ever. Thank you for your post. I needed this encouragement after reflecting on the last 11 months. I raise my glass of wine to you and to all 12×12 peeps — may your every day of December be a great day no matter what it is you are doing and I look forward to doing this all over again in 2018! Cheers!

  20. Marcie, surely you must have been a cheerleader in high school. Thank you for reminding us regardless of what we accomplished this year, we all have much to celebrate. Thank you for your enthusiasm and being our dance party host every Friday. Much success to you on your current books and the multitude of great books that you will write for/share with the world in the years to come. Well deserved.

  21. Thanks for your encouragement, Marcie! I needed this post today to remind me that, despite setbacks, I have much to celebrate. And I am especially grateful for this awesome writing community.

  22. Thank you for your great advice, Marcie! We all know the feeling that we didn’t accomplish as much as we wanted to during the year and need to be reminded that even so we have much to celebrate.

    Congratulations on your upcoming book, Penguinaut! Can’t wait to read it!

  23. Marcie, your post was right on. There are so many small steps to reaching our goals. I have been consistent in doing something related to writing. I journal every time I work on what I call MY BOOK PROJECT. It helps to look back at this time of year and realize that I have definitely tried!
    Merry Christmas

  24. Thank you for the words of encouragement, Marcie! This year I got a new job that consumed entirely too much of my time, BUT I did manage to get 1 draft further along. And so much more being part of this community! Congratulations on your books, Marcie!

  25. I’ve got a long way to go, even though I’ve been dabbling at this and hoping and dreaming for a very long time. 12×12 has made a noticeable difference in my understanding of that dream, and it’s writers like you who have been encouraging and prodding me along. Thank you, Marcie.

  26. Thanks so much for your encouraging words, Marcie! I too really appreciate the support from this great group and although I haven’t met goals I set for writing, I have succeeded in other ways this year in my writing life, such as by committing to a local group for regular meetings.

  27. Thank you Marcie! Somehow you knew just the right thing to say. 🙂 I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to the new year with 12×12.

  28. Gosh! You are right! Wow! 🙂 Sometimes it is better to realize that so many valuable goals were accomplished. The only thing was, at the beginning of the adventure, I didn’t know the goals to set!

  29. Thank you, Marcie, for this reminder that we’ve accomplished so much over the last 12 months. I was thrilled by your comment that we are not the writer we were a year ago. Best wishes to you!

  30. Perfect end of the year post. And you are absolutely right. Now, where do I cash in those points? Can I get an agent with them? 😉

  31. Thank you for your post, Marcie, and reminding us to celebrate the present. It’s impossible to do when focused on the future or lamenting the past. Best wishes for 2018

  32. Thank you for the post, Marcie. It was perfect for wrapping up the year. I feel I tried really hard to keep up with the challenge and managed to write 11 PB manuscripts. Your encouragement validates what we were all trying to do. And yes, it feels great to be part of the tribe. Thank you and happy holidays!

  33. I always look forward to reading your heartfelt posts, Marcie! Thank you for this perfect end of the year reminder to enjoy the journey and the wonderful friends we meet along the way. p.s. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is my favorite movie too 🙂

  34. Thanks, Colleen for such wise words. I think as writers it’s so easy to underestimate how much work we’ve actually produced. Your supportive and encouraging words are a reminder to keep on with the journey.

  35. Thank you, Marcie! This was apparently the exact pep talk I needed, because halfway through reading it, I grabbed a pencil and sketchbook and got to work in a way that I’ve been cut off from for a while. <3

  36. Marcie –

    I wish I would have logged all that I accomplished since starting 12×12 in January. I will do for next year! Thank you for this thought!

  37. Thank you, Marcie, for always cheering us on. And thank you for reminding us that we actually have accomplished a lot this year, even if we did make all of our goals. It’s hard to believe that 2018 is only a few short weeks away. I can’t wait to start all over again in January! Marcie, will you still be our Friday cheerleader/dance chairwoman?

  38. I absolutely LOVED every single thing about this post! Thank you for your cheerleading and for celebrating the little and the big! I just bought Party Bears at our Scholastic Book Fair. I can’t wait to read it!

  39. Whoop Whoop Marcie!!! Thanks for the pep talk. Congratulations on all your chapters and your recent books. Enjoying the journey with you in 2018!

  40. Thank you Marci for the end of the year boost and all the weekly reminders to celebrate the little steps that add up in the writing journey. I look forward to reading others celebrations because it guides me to the next step and I see that it’s possible because someone in the the tribe is there and celebrating.

  41. Hi Marcie – I enjoyed seeing you when you stopped in Madison, WI. This post is another much-needed shot of encouragement. Thank you for the reminder to look back and see how much we’ve learned and how far we’ve come. Those of us who aren’t “there” yet can still be proud of how far we’ve traveled.

  42. Marcie’s Friday dance parties have motived me more than once. Many thanks for those frequent boosters and especially for this year-end review. As I reflect back, I feel so grateful to be part of this 12 x 12 family and how the community has helped to motivate me throughout the year. And I cannot wait for 2018 ahead!

  43. Thank you! Thank you! Fitting words for today as I catch up on all the wonderful 12×12 webinars and monthly Featured Author visits that I’ve missed out on.

    Thank you for reminding me that I have accomplished some great things this year and I’m not where I was a year ago. I needed that reminder. I’m very excited to see where ’18 takes me with 12×12 and beyond!

    Happy New Year, Marcie and all of my 12×12 buddies. I hope we find ourselves back here 365 days from now celebrating our 2018 accomplishments.

  44. I really needed to read this today. It’s the first day of the year, I barely got any sleep, I’ve been sipping coffee alone for a while now, and all I’ve been able to do is ask myself what I’m doing with my life and if it’s all enough, if I’m enough. But when I look back at 2017, I have to admit it was fantastic! So I will pour myself another cup and focus on that for a while.

    Happy new year Marcie!

  45. I was able to create 12 picture books in 12 months this year (yay!). I did not, however, complete all my goals for this year! There is so much that I was not able to do. Thank you so much for this post, because I do need to hear this. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not a failure. Also a big thank you for the dance parties you hold all year round. Happy New Year! We are going to party like it’s 1999, again.

  46. Dear Marcie,
    I love the writing community and the support we give each other. It’s so wonderful when I read a story of someone I know or have seen in person. I will be looking out for your books. Thanks for your encouragement Marcie. It’s great to know we are not alone in our struggle to become published authors.

  47. Thank you for this! I usually change the year on my to do list as it’s basically the same each year, basic and vague, with not many definite ‘things’ to accomplish. I love your point system, too!! THanks for leading the dances as well. Happy 2018!!

  48. Thanks again Marcie. I read the featured post at the beginning of the month and then again at the check-in. You are so encouraging and positive. All the best to you in this new year! I am looking forward to a great year in the writing world.

  49. Great post, Marcie! It is so easy to focus on the things that didn’t happen instead of everything that did. Thank you for the wonderful Friday dance parties!

  50. Thanks, Marcie. I needed that <3

    (Also, after 2 years now in 12×12, I just figured out what the Friday Night Dance parties are. I don't know what's wrong with me. Can't wait to join in on them this time around!)

  51. Thanks for making a point about all the points. Feeling accomplished for having fully participated and learned a ton. And I appreciate all of the great people I’ve met through the critique activities!

  52. I love the idea of just changing the 7 to an 8! Each year continues from the last, so that makes perfect sense. I look forward to 2018 and to continuing to achieve! Happy New Year everyone!

  53. So many points to us all! Thank you for all of your enthusiasm and support this year. I did not hit all of my goals on my original timeline but I did graduate from Hamline’s MFA program in writing for children and YA, completed several polished PB’s ready for dummying and illustration, finished a 3rd MG novel draft, checked in to 12×12 most months, revised every single month, and celebrated you all and your accomplishments. And oh, those webinars. That’s participation, too. Thank you all for inspiring me. Here’s to 2018!

  54. Marcie, being a member of 12X12 has definitely helped my skills. However, I haven’t been as active as I should have.
    I need to take advantage of the ninjas and the forum. Your list of things we get points for was helpful. I love your spunk. Your decision not to give us “advice “ at this point in the 12X12 2017 year was wise. Your reflections made those of us who didn’t meet all the 2017 goals we set for ourselves, feel like we were still winners. They can be the goals at the beginning of our 2018 year.

  55. That is exactly what we all need to hear at the end of our writing year. With so many things out of our control, we need all the encouragement we can get. Thanks, Marcie!

  56. I’ll be forever grateful for your encouragement, your bravery, and the fact that we’re members of the same tribe. Thank you, Marcie. Happy New Year.

  57. Great points! And, Hi to Kassy who encouraged me to join 2 years ago!
    I did manage 12 drafts-only a few are worthy of jumping for joy over, but I do really like a few of them!
    Thanks to all for the daily encouragement!

  58. Marcie, thank you so much! There’s been many hiccups and many more mistakes in this journey (for many, I suspect) and your words of encouragement are a great reminder we’re another year wiser as well. Holy run-on sentence, Batman!

  59. Thank you for being such a great cheerleader for everyone! Ultimately we all have such an amazing group intention to gift great stories to tiny humans, what could be a better goal?! The journey continues, and we’re in the same boat with fellow writers all striving to educate and entertain…small steps!!

  60. Thank you, Marcie Colleen for the reminder that we get points for showing up, and we’re not alone on this journey. Here’s to messy drafts in 2018!! (That’s my goal, nothing pretty; I get points for messy!)

  61. I’m with you- I’m really proud of what I’m accomplished this year. It started with setting my mind to it, accepting some (many) ups and downs, and being totally amazed at what I could produce!! It’s not all good, but I did it. And that it worth something.

  62. Marcie, thanks for your music selections and upbeat words, for sharing your perspective and enthusiasm. Easing around the corner into 2018–may it be a fulfilling year for you and the rest of us, by whatever measure!

  63. Thank you for a re-vision of what each of us have accomplished this year. We are writers. I am a writer with a 12 x 12 tribe. Carole Calladine

  64. It feels so good to be part of this supportive community! Thank you Marcie for a great, encouraging post -very helpful as we roll into 2018!

  65. Thanks for being the 12×12 cheerleader we all need from time to time. I appreciate your wise words and look forward to reading more of your books.

  66. Thank you! This is perfect timing. I need to celebrate and reflect on what I HAVE done, and really appreciate the reminder and encouragement.

  67. I wasn’t going to check in because I’ve been so completely down about my writing journey. It’s been a dark year for me in this realm, and I am usually filled with doubt. Reading your post reminds me that this is the moment that I’m being tested. I wish this moment would stop being so prolonged! Here’s to making it through this crummy slump. Onward!

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