skip to Main Content
12 X 12 Featured Author March 2016 – Julie Falatko

12 x 12 Featured Author March 2016 – Julie Falatko

Julie Falatko 200x300I am so very happy to introduce you today to one of my earliest children’s writer friends and our March 12 x 12 Featured Author, Julie Falatko. She is not only one of the funniest people on the planet, but she’s also one of the most kind-hearted and authentic. So I am not at all surprised that her debut picture book, SNAPPSY THE ALLIGATOR (DID NOT ASK TO BE IN THIS BOOK), has entered the world with much fanfare. In its inaugural year, Julie was a 12 x 12 challenge winner, and she continues to spin sucky draft straw into gold to this day. She’s taken a break from her writing to share her wisdom on being a debut author. Please welcome (another) Julie!

I’m writing to you with almost a month of being a Real Author (meaning I can hold up my book and say, “Take this to the register if you’d like to purchase it”) behind me. How does it feel? It feels weird, you guys. Good weird, but still strange.

The writer journey has so many unknowns. Will I get an agent? Will I get a book deal? Will my book look okay? Will anyone read my book? The path is jagged, with lots of unexpected detours and supposed shortcuts that actually take you into Dead Man’s Cave. So it’s weird to have gotten all the way through, relatively unscathed, blinking in the light, holding a book that for some reason has my name on the cover.

I am going to give you my top ten rules for debut authors, with the disclaimer that they’re my rules. Writer rules are so individual. I present these to you like an appetizer plate. Take what you want from them.

1. Take yourself seriously. Especially at the very beginning, when you’re the only one who can. If you want to write, then call yourself a writer, even if it’s only when you’re alone in your room. Someone said to me once, “Take the word ‘aspiring’ out of your definition. If you’re writing, you’re a writer.” It’s true. An aspiring writer is one who doesn’t write. The aspiring writer is watching television on the couch while you’re at the coffee shop, writing. But if you want to do this? Then do it. Write.

2. You’re already doing one right thing – you’re in 12×12. For me, the quickest way to hone my writing craft after taking myself seriously was to write, a lot, and revise, a lot. Don’t be too precious with your one perfect story. The process of writing twelve drafts in one year was transformative to my writing, and the next year I wrote new drafts but focused on revising the ones I’d written the previous year.

3. Don’t be afraid to write terrible stories. Some of the stories are going to be awful, and some are going to be boring. Just keep writing. Play around. I know it feels like you have to squeeze writing in, so you don’t have time to write stories you’re going to throw away forever, but that’s how you figure it all out. Those terrible stories are important. I have more drafts of discarded awful stories than I do of good, complete ones. And I’m not sure I could have gotten to the good stories without writing the awful ones first.

4. The magic of the internet is that you don’t have to leave your house to get a writer’s education. 12×12 and PiBoIdMo are motivation and community. I’ve never been to any SCBWI conferences. I’d love to go to one, but they cost money and I have four little kids at home. Connect with people on Facebook and Twitter, listen to podcast interviews, and read blog posts. You can still get schooled in kidlit, and you can do it while you’re folding laundry. I got my agent because I was the picture book reviewer on Katie Davis’s Brain Burps About Books podcast, and because I talked about books on Twitter. I did both of those from my dining room, for free, while making my kids breakfast.

Snappsy the Alligator by Julie Falatko5. Keep your eyes open for your special tiny group of magical wonderpeople. I would not be the writer I am now if I hadn’t found Carter Higgins and Elizabeth Stevens Omlor in 2012. We weren’t necessarily looking for each other, except that we were. Someone in a critique group read my stories and said, “I have a friend who writes stories as weird as yours are” and that’s how I met Elizabeth. Carter and I both won a Halloween poetry contest Adam Rex did on Twitter. Those are totally random circumstances, but we all paid attention to that giddy first grade feeling of when you walk into the classroom and find your new best friend. If you follow published authors on Twitter, you’ll notice that they all seem to have a secret special group. You need people who have read everything you’ve ever written and who push you to do your best. You need people who have seen all your warts. You need a private space to air your frustrations and worries. You may find someone in your critique group who fits, or they may lead you to someone else. You may think someone is in your special group and then realize that maybe they’re not. Just pay attention, and be ready.

6. Here’s where I’ll randomly insert the writing and creativity books that I read and loved.

snappsy - birds7. Don’t rush. Oh gosh, I know it’s hard. But there’s no need. And it’s better to take your time. You only have one chance to make a first impression, blah blah blah, but oh wow you are going to be so ahead of the game if you take your time and have three incredible, polished, amazing picture book manuscripts ready before you start querying agents. It took me about two years of constant writing to get to that point. And then, once you get a book contract, things take forever. You have heard it before but it’s a different feeling once you’re actually in it. For me the key was to forget about it for a while. Forget it’s a thing. Do other stuff. Exercise a lot. Clean your sink. Walk the dog. Vacuum. Read a lot of good books. And, more than anything: keep writing. Keep going. Work on your writing so that each manuscript is better than the last. Challenge yourself. Don’t sit still.

8. I think I’m not supposed to read reviews or look at Goodreads, but I do. There might be a point where I don’t pay as much attention, but from where I sit now, a few weeks out, I still feel compelled to know. People I don’t know have read my book and that’s mind-boggling. And you know what? A few of them didn’t like it. At all. When I read that first bad review, it was like a knife through my heart. The reviewer said I was being too cutesy and was trying to be funny but failed. She said the ending stunk. I was so bummed out. I spent a good hour being bummed. And then I thought, “What would I say if this had happened to Carter and Elizabeth?” And here’s what I’d say to them: “So what? Not everyone is going to like your book. It sounds like that lady has a different sense of humor than you do. But look at all the people who do love your book. There are a lot of them. Focus on them.” So, since Carter and Elizabeth were sleeping in their time zone, I said that to myself. And now it’s fine.

snappsy - party9. People kept telling me that there would be a lot to do in the month before my book came out, and I couldn’t figure out what would keep me so busy. I’m still not sure what it all was, but oh boy. Yeah. That 4-6 weeks before Snappsy the Alligator came out were nuts. There were blog post interviews as myself and blog post interviews as my characters. Author shelfies and podcast interviews to record and launch parties to plan. It seemed like it wouldn’t be that much but it was. It was a struggle to fit in writing time. At some point I just exhaled and rode the wave. I know I’m going to keep writing. It’s okay to focus solidly on book marketing for the weeks surrounding a book’s release.

10. I’m trying to figure out how to say this without sounding egotistical, but: my book has done pretty well so far. I got spot gloss on the jacket and an awesome alternate cover underneath the jacket. They made a poster for my book. It got starred reviews. It was an Amazon pick for best book of February. The book trailer was on Entertainment Weekly. It was a pick for the Spring Indie Next list. Barnes and Noble made special signs that say “Character Wall of Fame” featuring Llama Llama and my alligator, who is barely four minutes old. And people keep asking me, quietly, casually, “How? How did you get all that?” I don’t know! So much of it feels like it just happened. But that’s not true. I did three things. First of all, I wrote the best book I could. Second, I was kind to everyone. Why wouldn’t I be? But word on the street is that some authors are jerks. Don’t do that. Be nice. Third, I didn’t expect any of it. I didn’t sit on my dais and threaten to throw a fit if I didn’t get spot gloss, or a poster. I was happy enough to be getting a book. All the other stuff was icing.

Those are things I’ve learned on my journey thus far. The thing that shines most brightly, the thing that always drives me, is: write. Keep writing. Keep working, keep going, write more, write new things, write different things, write better. Read a lot, enjoy the ride, and write, write, write.

When Julie Falatko was 8 years old, she wrote her first story, about a family of ornery foghorns. Making things up was so much fun, she knew she had to figure out how to do that forever. She went on to earn an English degree and a library degree, and now she mostly writes stories about misunderstood animals trying to find their place in the world. Julie lives in Maine with her husband, four children, and big-eared chiweenie dog, where she maintains a Little Free Library in front of her house.

P.S. Check out Julie’s “How I Got My Agent” story too.

This Post Has 493 Comments
      1. I enjoyed your rules – serious, humorous, and noteworthy. I think you nailed it by saying, “If you write, you’re a writer … not aspiring to be a writer.” Thanks again.

      2. Hi:
        I can’t find the comment button, so here! I’m glad to see you have Stephen King’s book. I never liked his novels, but I found his book on writing to be the most useful of the many I have read (got my MFA in 1988, so that’s a lot of books).

        I have found that when I am stuck on what to write, I change practices. I draw or color or knit. Sometimes I go swimming. Now, for instance, I’m in this 12×12 challenge because I thought I’d like to learn a new skill. I’ve been successful as a nonfiction writer, but this is an entirely new world to me. I really am amazed at how generous this community is.

        Thank you,


  1. Great post! Thanks for putting the journey into perspective. I often feel some sort of panic when I think I’m not getting enough done quickly enough. It’s so hard to have patience and believe that it takes the time it takes. But it does. Congrats on Snapsy! Nothing like having all that hard work lead to good things!

    1. You know what? I STILL have those this-isn’t-happening-fast-enough panic attacks. But I like to think about how, ten years from now, we’ll look back and it will have seemed to have gone by in a blur.

  2. This is hands down, the best writer’s advice I’ve heard so far. Thank you! Best nuggets for me: (1) take yourself seriously. This was so had for me to do. I felt like such a fraud. But it wasn’t until I actually stopped pretending this was my secret identity that things started to feel real. (2) don’t be afraid to write terrible stories. That’s such a hold-back. We start writing and editing in our head at the same time so every word feels like such a chore. It’s so discouraging to finish a draft and think, this is rubbish. But you’re so right. To paraphrase: “the good stories won’t be told until we clear out all the rubbish.” (3) be kind. There ARE so many nasty authors out there. Given that I can choose the company I keep, I would rather be good company to keep. 😉

    Thanks again for sharing this and congratulations on a well-earned success!

    1. THANK YOU! I am so glad! And I want to make it clear that all of these bits of advice (except for the one about being kind) are ones I learned the hard way. I pretended to be a writer for about 30 years before I realized that wanting to write “someday” was getting me nowhere. And the terrible stories — they just happened. So I kept going. Because what else could I do?

      From what I’ve heard, kidlit authors are way nicer than authors who write for grownups, but I’ve still heard about some doozies. But ESPECIALLY in a business where the majority of the people are nice, what’s the point of being a jerk?

  3. Thanks for the motivation and helpful list of books to read. Snappsy The Alligator is hillarious!! I loved reading it to my daughter. Look forward to reading more of your work.

  4. I absolutely LOVE Snappsy – I bought the book as soon as it was released. Thanks for sharing about your journey and reminding us – to write! Congratulations on your success.

    1. Oh, thank you!! This makes me so happy! It’s so weird that people who aren’t my mom are buying my book. (Though, to be fair, my mom has bought a LOT of copies of my book. 🙂 )

  5. Congrats, Julie 🙂 Thank you for sharing your 10 rules. You’ve had an amazing writing journey and I appreciate the inspiration you have given today. Happy writing to us all!

  6. It’s nice to hear debut authors share their perspective from the other side, because even after all of the hard work and years we put into the craft, that milestone still seems so out of reach at times, that despair sneaks in and grabs a hold of our bones, paralyzing us. So it’s good to be reminded how others have made it through and that it does happen and it might be just around the corner…we desperately want to believe!
    Thank you for the encouragement and congrats on this dream come true! Hooray!!

    1. The weirdest feeling was when I did have the book deal, and then had to wait three years for my book to come out. When I was still actively seeking an agent, I felt like I had more control over what was happening. And also I wasn’t really telling people out in the world, so no one at the grocery store was asking me if I had an agent yet. But because most (non-writer) people think a book comes out two months after the book deal, I had people asking me FOR YEARS if my book was out yet. And it started to almost feel like a lie, you know? Like, why would it not be out yet? So honestly I feel so much relief to be on this side of it, FINALLY.

      1. It really IS weird, after all that waiting and struggles, to get a book contract and it’s like, but wait! There’s more… Aw, such is the life of a writer!

  7. Julie, THANK YOU for your rules. Wow, some of them hit home. You are right, it is hard to be patient. A big congratulations on your book. I’ve seen some of the buzz and intend to pick it up. Good luck going forward, and thank you again for the inspiration and encouragement!

    1. Just remember, that it takes work for EVERYONE, and we all have to be patient and keep working at it. It is SO HARD to be patient. Especially for a bouncy overcaffeinated hollering writer like me.

  8. Julie, thank you for this! Love your list – I might just print this one out and put it somewhere visible. Don’t rush/don’t sit still. Perfect duality. Congratulations on Snappsy and I look forward to seeing more of your work in the world!

  9. This blog post made me smile and warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing your list, and yourself with us. Congratulations on your new baby! Hugs, Jodi 🙂

  10. Congratulations again Julie!! Great list. #3 hit home for me. I hate wasted work and it’s taken me several years now to realize and fully appreciate the importance of constantly generating new work. So for the first time ever I am determined to write 12 new stories. Practice, Practice, Practice!

    1. DARSHANA!!!! HI!

      I think the hardest part for me was accepting that those stories were terrible to begin with. Like, they came from me, right? So they must be BRILLIANT! But no. They stunk. But in the meantime I wrote some better stories and then realized that one led to the other.

  11. You’ve provided a very thorough list. And I agree with finding the right people. My online critique group has helped me tremendously.

    1. It’s huge. I think it’s good to have people who aren’t like you, too, so you get a sense of how someone who doesn’t quite think like you do might read your words.

  12. Such wonderful words of wisdom. Congrats on the success of your book. You are an inspiration to us newbies 🙂

  13. Thank you! This post was incredible! I think I might be you a few years ago (at least I hope so — that means I have an agent and a published book on the horizon). I’m actively working (or have worked on) steps 1 through 7 and I’d give the same advice to other writers. I hope 8-10 are in my future!

    I have read and heard a lot about Snappsy and am looking forward to reading it. Congratulations on your debut PB!

    1. I got a new one-star review on Amazon that is cracking me up so much, because it says, “Author is trying way too hard to be funny” which is such a constant complaint from my family. So I was like, “Yeah, tell me something I don’t know!”

  14. Thank you so much Julie for sharing your 10 rules and the journey into Snappsy’s publication (and it’s such a lovely book to boot. That narrator is hilarious!). They are insightful and help seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Can’t wait to read your next book.

  15. I gotta say, Julie, when I saw Snappsy at the B&N by my house, I was absolutely giddy. He looked perfect on display and I was mentally fist bumping him I was so excited. Thank you for all of the above. I have a book coming out in October so it was really helpful to read how you worked through Snappsy’s debut.

    1. I’m still for sure working through it. Block out maybe three months, at least, around it. Somehow there’s so much to do! CONGRATS on your book! And I love the idea of a mental fist bump.

  16. Congratulations, Julie! I hope you fill out the forms to be a presenter at some SCBWI events so you can go for free (and maybe I’ll meet you!)

  17. Congratulations on your books success so far! “You can’t please all the people all the time.” Enjoy the love from those who “get” your book!

    1. I think you can tell with this post, also, that I’m the type of author who writes 1200 word manuscripts and then has to cut them in half. And then I’m given freedom to blab in a blog post, and I go overboard.

      And I included a lot of books about novel-writing too, which I hope you all are okay with. I write those too, but more than that I’ve found that thinking about all kinds of stories has helped me with picture book stories.

  18. hi Julie – you are most definitely a “real author!” I appreciate your book list, especially choices outside the children’s literature field. I have printed out your helpful list of top ten rules for debut authors … I will be referring to it often. Your points about taking yourself seriously and getting a writer’s education resonate, as well as your advice to write, write, write! Also, I love that your sense of humor shines through the blog post and your book. Thank you!

    1. Aww, thank you! And I do wish there were more good books specifically about writing children’s literature out there in the world, but it’s a pretty transferrable thing, since good storytelling is good storytelling, and it’s not like the advice for how to write a good story for adults is that much drastically different than how to write a good story for kids.

  19. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for this fantastic advice. I especially identified with your advice about getting a good writer’s education on the net. I have been to a few SCBWI conferences, but for the last few years I’ve had some challenges. Yet I don’t feel like I’ve missed out. I’ve met lots of writers and gathered a ton of great tips–including yours! Thanks again.

    1. Conferences can be great — and I have been to Nerdcamp Northern New England, which is a great free event about 15 minutes from my house. But I think writers can get hung up on “have to’s” when all the really need is a pencil and a piece of paper (okay, an email address is a good idea too).

  20. Not only was this post full of great advice but you also brilliantly did all the right things in right amounts and have success to show for it, Julie! Kudos to you and thanks for sharing what worked. Here’s to your continued success!

  21. Terrific post, Julie! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It’s very helpful to see the process you went through and to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel… if you just keep plugging away.

  22. I love this post, Julie! Your list of rules are good ones and I’ve loved following Snapsy and you as he becomes famous!

  23. Julie- What a treasure trove of good advice and resources for authors, whether debuting or not. You are awesome and huge congrats on the wonderful reception your book has gotten!

  24. Fantastic post, Julie! Thank you for your incredibly thoughtful list of rules for writers and for sharing your journey with us- Your words are inspiring! Congratulations on all your success and I can’t wait to read Snappsy the Alligator!

  25. Loved, loved, loved this post–but I know my critique partner is going to love it even more. Her first book just came out and she says it’s just the strangest experience ever… Thanks for these words of wisdom!

    1. I’ve wanted to be a writer my whole life. I still have books I wrote when I was 8. And yes, it is SUPER strange. After a lifetime of having construction-paper books stapled together with my name written on the cover in pencil, it is VERY WEIRD to have a real book with my name printed on there.

  26. Congratulations, Julie! It is such an inspiration to hear tales from the other side. I had books pouring out of me last year and the flow has slowed, so it was very comforting for me to hear you wrote new, but also revised during your second year.
    And your comment on kindness is spot on. Thank you for that.

    1. Revising during my second year was HUGE. I wrote 12 drafts my first year (not all of them worth keeping, by the way) and then I had…12 first drafts. The process of revising during the second year was so amazing. It definitely led to more new stories, but making older stories better is such a huge part of writing. I’m trying to think of what my writing time vs. revising time percentanges are. Maybe 20% writing, 80% revising? Or it might even be 10/90?

      1. Thanks so much for giving me those percentages! I’m feeling kinda relieved. I do so much revision, (and actually enjoy it more than writing the first draft) that I was worried I was getting behind on new stuff. But 10% to 20%? Hah, I got this! Whew.

  27. Oh, I love this post, Julie! Thank you for sharing your rules with us. It’s been so fun to connect with you and learn from you! I love SNAPPSY and can’t wait for your other books to come out 🙂

  28. Great post! Thanks for sharing, Julie. Snappsy is hilarious (I don’t know what that reviewer was talking about)!

  29. Julie, you are so smart and funny and encouraging and REAL! I can’t wait to read Snapsy because I’m sure it is a true reflection of you. I love that piece about finding your 1st grade best friend. I have a critique partner that is becoming that and it is VERY exciting. To have two? That would be nirvana. You’re a lucky gal, but clearly you put forth amazing energy and good cheer. Here’s to many, many more successes!

    1. DEB! Yay! Thank you! It’s funny, giving the advice about finding your writing besties felt a little weird. If I’d known I was supposed to be looking for them, would I have been overeager and scared them away? (Ok, wait, I’m always overeager, so it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.) But I think it does naturally happen for most people, and I don’t know what I’d do with out Carter and Elizabeth!

  30. Wow! This is a phenomenal post. These writer rules are packed with fantastic suggestions. I loved reading about your journey and the success you have had so far. Thanks for your honesty and for sharing your wisdom and experience with everyone. I wish you much continued writing success in the future!

  31. I haven’t even read this post yet. I saw your name and I just had to rush to tell you how much I love Snappsy! I just read it a few days ago. I got to page 4 or 6 and slammed the book shut thinking then and there that I had to write to say I loved it. Then I thought I should finish it because sometimes you get to the end of a book and think, um, not so hot. So I opened book again and finished reading it, and I LOVE IT! Sheesh, I’m a babbling fan girl. (I hope you read this as fast as I babbled it out. lol)

    So what I’m saying is, you done real good, woman!

    1. OH MY GOSH this is my favorite comment ever. Seriously. This makes me so happy. I love that you didn’t even finish it and wanted to say you love it! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! You’re hilarious.

  32. Thanks @juliefalatko for this! I especially loved the points about finding the small group of wonderpeople around you, and dealing with criticism.

  33. Thank you Julie for showing me your road to holding your published book in your hand and sharing your writing rules I’m going to keep them where I can see them everyday

  34. Thank you for all that solid input! And I love “quirky,” so I am definitely going to read your SNAPPSY!

    1. I love quirky too! There was a point when I was querying agents and wondered if I should say I write quirky or not — that maybe it was overused? But I couldn’t think of a better word, and it has stuck!

      1. I bought and read Snappsy, and I love it. It’s delightful whimsy. It’s witty. It’s fey. You and Moe Willems. It’s the kind of thing I like to write myself! I hope I can get as good as that.

  35. Julie F, this was such a fun post! Thanks for sharing your experience. I can’t wait to read SNAPPSY!

    And Julie H, I loved the line: “she continues to spin sucky draft straw into gold.” Bwahahaha!

  36. This is a super, fab article – a virtual hug of sorts! 🙂 Thanks so much for your honesty and for sharing your top books. It’s definitely made me feel like… ‘I CAN get there!’ and so it’s now time for me to stop ticking off my ‘little’ jobs for the day and surfing the internet for info, and start actually polishing that MS!
    Thanks again, and the best of luck with Snappsy and all your future stories!

    1. I definitely remember the feeling four years ago, of looking at such a long unknown road ahead. And yes, you CAN get there! You just have to focus on each step in the journey: write and revise three amazing manuscripts that you love and that you wrote from your heart, query agents, write more… Just keep writing!

  37. Wonderful article, Julie. I’m so excited because I just bought your book this morning and am waiting for it to be shipped over here to France. WOO-HOO! Can’t wait to finally read Snappsy!

  38. Thanks Julie! Love this, especially that last sentence: “Those terrible stories are important. I have more drafts of discarded awful stories than I do of good, complete ones. And I’m not sure I could have gotten to the good stories without writing the awful ones first.”

    I love your list of resources. I’m finding it hard to read craft books right now with focusing on writing and reading/researching PBs and raising a 1-year old (and you do it all with 4 kids!!!) Some of the books are geared toward other genres or more general and have been in the back of my mind to read but I put them off in favor of things that seem more directly related to my work at this time. Any thoughts on time management and which books you found the most impactful?

    Thanks again for the great post. You are truly an inspiration!

    1. I’m so glad you found this helpful!

      And oh boy: time management. Not my strong suit. And 1 year olds are pretty demanding. My biggest advice is to carry a notebook with you at all times. You can write a story by writing a sentence — or even half a sentence — at a time. But the process of writing down ideas and words exactly when they come to you can help keep writer momentum going.

      BIG MAGIC was the one out of all of those I read most recently, but it was hugely influential and inspirational. I’d recommend that, especially also because it’s a quick and easy read. BIRD BY BIRD is one that I’ve read so many times, and it always seems to offer exactly the advice that I need for whatever stage I’m in. And ones I didn’t mention but might be what you want are any of the writing books by Chuck Wendig. They are broken into small, bite-sized nuggets, and very funny (and supremely curse-laden) but you can read them tiny bit by tiny bit and then maybe think about them while you’re changing diapers.

  39. Julie, you have shared some wonderful insight and heart-felt advice! Thank you so much! For me, the part about “don’t rush it” really hit home because when searching for an agent, they don’t want just a one-hit wonder; they want to see what you’re capable of, so it’s extremely important to have several other stories ready to go. Thanks again for this blog–I daresay I’ll be referring to it often.
    And many congratulations on Snappsy!

    1. When I was querying agents, I was super focused on having one amazing story. And then a friend in my critique group (the amazing Dev Petty of I DON’T WANT TO BE A FROG!) got an agent, and let us all know that the agent was insistent on having three finished stories. So I pushed back my querying plans for several months. I had sent out a few queries with my one story (and gotten rejections), and I stopped. I spent the next six months focusing on revising and writing (and revising) new stories so that I’d have more than one story ready to go.

    1. I used to have “aspiring writer” in my Twitter bio, which is how the conversation I talk about above got started, when a published writer told me to take that off. Personally, I think “writer” is much more positive and affirmative than “pre-published author” though I know others might have a different opinion.

  40. I’ve heard that you aren’t truly successful until you have haters! So congrats on the haters 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge. The don’t rush advice really stuck with me because once you start putting your dreams in action you want it to happen right then and there but I need to remember to take my time and do it right. Thank you again!

    1. THANK YOU I am so going to feel much better about the haters now!

      The thing about taking your time, also, is that it makes such a better book in the end. Your words are better, the pictures are better, the whole thing is better.

  41. Congratulations, Julie! I’ve read so many good things about your book. Wonderful post with great advice. Thank you!

  42. This is my fourth attempt to leave a comment so I hope it works!
    Thank you, Julie, for sharing about your journey. Your ten-point list is helpful and I printed off this post as encouragement and a reminder for myself. Of the books you mentioned I’d read one and I’ve started reading a second one; very interesting and beneficial.
    Congratulations on bringing Snappsy into existence. I’m sure there will be many more books to follow. 🙂

    1. Which books have you read/started? I’m realizing now that maybe I should have organized those books in the order I read them. Hmm. I’ll do it now! This is the order I read them, more or less:
      Here’s where I’ll randomly insert the writing and creativity books that I read and loved.

      Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
      On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
      Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication by Ann Whitford Paul
      Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
      Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers by Mary Kole
      Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne
      Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens
      Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl B. Klein
      GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction by Debra Dixon
      The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
      Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
      Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson
      Out on the Wire: Uncovering the Secrets of Radio’s New Masters of Story with Ira Glass by Jessica Abel
      Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

      I think those first three helped me a TON to get the ball rolling.

      1. Every time I try to post a reply to your question to me it doesn’t appear to work, so please forgive if I am duplicating my answer.
        Julie, I read Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott and recently I started reading Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication by Ann Whitford Paul. The latter seems much like ReFoReMo challenge, so I’ve set it down to do this first. I likely should look for the one by Stephen King.
        Thanks for this. 🙂

        1. The Stephen King one is GREAT. The way he approaches writing is so smart and straightforward.

          The Ann Whitford Paul one is one I’m not sure I actually ever read straight through. I must have? But I’ve reread the chapters so many times at the time I needed them, that I view that book as a buffet of terrific and helpful advice that’s always there when I need it. My copy has sticky notes sticking out of every corner.

  43. I appreciate that you shared your journey. With all these wonderful examples it really shows us that there is no perfect/right way to publishing. Can’t wait to read your book.

    1. There really isn’t any one right way! I’m always so fascinated to talk to other writer friends of mine and hear the different ways they approach the process. You just have to keep trying different ways until you figure out what feels most right for you.

  44. Thanks, Julie. Your post hit so many areas of an ‘aspiring’ writer, however, I am now dropping the ‘aspiring’ when people ask about my work! You are right…I am a writer. I’m on vacation right now and can’t not write! Thanks for the encouragement and congrats!!!

  45. Loved this! All of it!! You are wise, wonderful, funny, and I actually had read your book and loved it before I saw this post. Congratulations!!

  46. Julie: thanks so much for taking the time to share all this wonderful and inspiring information! I’ll keep your “advice” list in mind as I continue trekking on this road. Big Magic and Bird By Bird are two of my all-time favorites for the creative life also. And to top it off you live in a part of the country that inspires creativity, at least to me. There’s something about Maine and New England that conjures up story for me. Must be my memories from living there. I wish you all the best with your book–and your writing. Now back to my own writing and revising. Onward and upward.

    1. I have to say I feel very lucky to live here. When we first moved here (from Maryland) there were seagulls at our backyard bird feeder, like they were the city pigeons. And they kind of are. Something about a seagull calling out over my house seems magical and inspirational to me.

      1. Ha! We’re only ten minutes from the beach but we don’t really have seagulls “inland.” We have peacocks on occasion. Their call is so exotic. And great horned owls and hummingbirds who are actually quite noisy–they scold each other for territory and their wings are really loud when they buzz by. There must be a story in there. Will have to marinate it!

  47. Congratulations Julie on SNAPPSY! I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Thank you also for all of the great advice and the list of books that helped you. And I have to say your kindness shines through on this post. Congrats again!

  48. Thank you Julie for such genuine sharing of what works for you. I especially like the part of writing lots of bad drafts to get to the good ones. And I totally agree with being in 12×12 as a sign of being serious about your writing. Congratulations on your book.

    1. I write so many bad things! They are really truly just so so awful. And it’s hard sometimes. I stare at the words that I know are really terrible, and wonder what I should do next. And the only thing I can really do is keep writing and finish and let it sit for a while to see if I can make it better.

  49. Hi Julie! Joanna Cardenas was on the faculty for my writing group’s conference last year, and she was enthusiastically telling us all about “Snappsy” and how funny it is. Congrats on all your success with it — I’m looking forward to reading it! Thanks for your very sensible advice.

  50. Thank you for sharing, Julie–and congratulations on your success with SNAPPSY (which I loved, BTW)! Rule no. 3 really struck a chord with me. My day job requires me to track my time in six minute increments, and this has done a number on my perception of time and how I spend it. I really appreciate the reminder that any time spent writing (even writing terrible stories) is time well spent. THANK YOU!

  51. Julie, I could read what you write all day long! Love your humor and this helpful and encouraging post, AND Snappsy! Thanks for making us see the goodness in our bad manuscripts 🙂

  52. **Bookmarks this post for the (possibly dystopian) future when I am a debut author. Feels a little sheepish and optimistic and jinx-y even doing so. Looks around and realizes all my other pre-published 12x12ers are doing the same. Gives nervous thumbs up.**

    This is so wonderful, Julie. Thank you for sharing your wit and wisdom.

  53. I loved your reviews on Katie Davis’s podcast!!! So glad to hear I’m not the only crazy trying to do this from home with four little kids! 😉

    1. YAYYYY I love hearing about other people with four kids trying to write from the hall closet while their kids figure out that spray thing on the kitchen faucet or eat all the Cheerios.

      And thanks — I loved doing those reviews! That was like an insta-education in figuring out what I liked about picture books.

  54. Wonderful wonderful post, Julie. I’m so happy for you – that your author dreams are coming true! I was so excited the day I saw SNAPPSY on the shelf at Barnes and Noble for the first time. I was like, YAY JULIE! It is so fun being a part of a writers’ family on Twitter and 12×12. You get so thrilled for each other! Thanks for your encouraging list! Keep up the amazing work!! 🙂

  55. I don’t live anywhere near a Barnes & Noble so I rely on the People of the Internet to show me Snappsy on that Character Wall of Fame thing. And yes, it IS so fun being part of the writer’s family. Fun and necessary!

  56. I really enjoy reading and hearing about others and their beginnings and struggles. You have given me food for thought and at the same time been encouraging to not give up on myself or my writing. I love your advise to take a chance and hang in there for the long road ahead. Also, i was duly impressed by your truthfulness on the work beyond the writing. I think writers would really like to write and let others do the work to sell and get their work off the shelves. For me, just knowing someone validated my abilities would be a boost to my ego. Thanks for being down to earth.

    1. HA! Yeah, the patience is such a tricky one. You send a manuscript out and almost want it to be wearing a GoPro camera so you can see exactly where it is. I rememeber when I was querying agents and one I had sent a query to posted a photo of his desk, and I wanted to zoom in x1000 to see if my query was anywhere around in his office. I just wanted to know where it was and what was happening. It’s frustrating, but unavoidable.

  57. Such a great post, Julie. Thank you! How ever did you make time to write with four kids and all the book debut activity going on? I don’t have all that (well, I do have a full-time job and a few extracurricular activities, like becoming a bereavement volunteer) and I still find it hard to make time to write.

    1. I think we all have our own “four kids” that are encroaching on our lives, and it’s up to each of us to figure out how to fit in writing time. While it can be amazing to carve out a huge chunk to really focus, I can definitely say that getting in 5 minutes of writing time (while not ideal!) at a time, in chunks all day, also works.

  58. Julie,
    Thank you for sharing from the heart. It’s great to hear from those who are “on the train” so to speak. You managed to echo so many feelings writers go through waiting for that train ticket. It’s nice to know what we can expect afterwards. You have painted a great picture.

    1. You know what, though? I’m on the train, but I might have to switch trains at the next station, or transfer to a bus (to beat this metaphor to death). There are so many factors that might change, or are still unknowns, and all we can do is keep working hard and being kind.

  59. Thanks for sharing your “rules” for making the magic of picture books happen. The inspiration is so welcome as we write and revise!

  60. Congrats on your success! I love books with humor, so Snappsy caught my attention right away.

    Thanks for the good advice and the list of books. I’ll check out the ones I haven’t read yet.

  61. So much great advice here! Thank you, Julie. I recently saw Danielle speak at a conference and met her briefly. She mentioned Snappsy every chance she got! Congrats!

    1. I’m glad you found this helpful! And I’m finding that the need for perseverance doesn’t stop after the first book — it’s important to keep writing as hard as you can.

  62. Oooooo…. inspiring tips for this newbie!

    I’m wondering what your illustrator notes looked like when submitting your manuscript for Snappsy. Because the book is heavily dependent on illustrations, how much interpretation did you leave for the illustrator?

    I enjoyed reading your first offering. Gotta love the quirky! Thanks for sharing!

    1. There were NO illustration notes in Snappsy. Oh, wait, there was one: “Snappsy continues to get ready for the party” for when he tells the narrator to leave. But that was the only one. I left all the visual interpretation up to Tim.

      I have written manuscripts where I put in a lot of illustration notes for ME, so I could figure out approximately what would be happening visually, but then I deleted all or most of them before considering the manuscript final.

      1. Thanks for the insight, Julie! I sometimes find myself over-explaining! I’ll have to be better at yanking INs… O-U-T!

        Have a fantabulous day!

          1. I believe you, I believe you, Julie! I have out my writing scissors!! Snip! Snip! Have a schnazzy day!

  63. Thank you Julie for such a fun list of rules. One, two and three definitely speak to me. I am trying to take myself more seriously now, and struggling to becoming more prolific. It’s tough to write 12 manuscripts in a year – good or bad. I joined 12×12 because I felt like I needed an extra push to produce more. January worked like a charm, it was much tougher for February, and it’s taken me three weeks and several different attempts to finally write a manuscript for March. (I have a long list of ideas on my phone, but I cannot always get those ideas to turn into stories.) Are you still in 12×12 and do you still aim to write twelve manuscripts a year?
    It’s also inspiring to hear that you’ve done everything from home with four kids. Wow! I keep wondering if I should go somewhere to take classes and meet more people, but I guess it is possible to get a book published without that…
    Snappsy is so fun. I look forward to reading your future books.

    1. Hi Viviane! Remember that your version of “prolific” might not be other peoples’. I do think it’s great to try to do 12 manuscripts in a year, but if you only wrote one last year, and you end up doing six this year, then that’s a 600% increase (uh…I think? No one check my math). And when I was in 12×12, I wrote 12 a year, but maybe only two or three were good.

      I’m not in 12×12 anymore, partly because it did what I needed it to (show me how to write consistently, get an agent) (I didn’t get my agent through 12×12, but the process of writing a lot one year and then getting over my fear of submitting the next year absolutely helped me get my agent). The other part is that I’ve been writing middle grade and YA, and I didn’t want the extra pressure to also write a picture book when I was working on writing those longer books too.

      Ok, I’m going to tell you a story now. Many many years ago (18 years ago?), I was wanting to be a writer but not writing much, I signed up for a writing class through my local adult education program. My husband was confused as to why I’d signed up (he’s a logical engineer). “Why are you signing up for a writing class when you haven’t written anything yet?” he said. I rolled my eyes. “That’s why I signed up! So it can help me start writing!” ” But how will you know what you need help with if you haven’t written anything yet?”

      I was so annoyed. What did he know?! I needed MOTIVATION. OUTSIDE MOTIVATION to finally start writing.

      I took the class, I wrote for the class, and then stopped.

      Because, as annoying as this is, he was right. I read somewhere that “The way to start writing every day is…to write every day.” It’s so dumb and simple, but YES. That’s all it is. I didn’t need that class. I needed to sit down and write every day, to play, to try. And it all builds. Just start. And REALLY start. Don’t go buy pens and hold them in your hand. USE THEM. You don’t need classes, or to meet people (not yet! those things might be nice sometime in the future, but you don’t NEED them). You need to take one of the ideas on your phone and just WRITE, even if it’s so bad. Just keep going. You can’t listen to that critic on your shoulder telling you it’s bad. I mean: you know you can count those several different attempts at a March manuscript as manuscripts, right? They don’t all have to be usable. Maybe there are people who write twelve submittable manuscripts in a year, but I think more people write twelve manuscripts, play around with them, take one paragraph and turn it into something else, put six in a folder called “NO ONE EVER LOOK AT THESE” and polish the others, two of which will take years to get into submittable shape. You know what? All you need is one. One that really shines. And that leads to another, and another.

  64. Julie, what a great post! Thank you for sharing such helpful, insightful lessons from your journey. My favorite part was about finding your “magical wonderpeople.” I laughed out loud when I read your response to someone else’s comment about the wonderpeople–that if you’d known you were supposed to be looking for them, would you have been overeager and scared them away?! Ha!!! That’s how I feel too–I found my “wonderpeople” without even knowing I was looking for them and feel so blessed. I’ve discovered it’s nice to have several different “levels” of people–the ones who really get you and then those who are a little different from you, so that you get a variety of responses to your work. It’s a challenge at first to expose your work to the ones who may not really get it, but it’s a good exercise in developing objectivity towards your own work (and thicker skin!).

  65. Congratulations on Snappsy, and a big thank you for this fabulous (and extensive) advice! I also thought I’d let you know that I just heard your interview on Brain Burps the other day, which was quite fun. Best wishes for your continued success!

  66. Oh good! I was so caffeinated in that interview! I mean, I’m usually caffeinated, but I had barely slept, so I was even more caffeinated than usual! I sound like I’m yelling the whole time.

  67. Julie, I know everybody says this, but this is so helpful. Really. I love that you started by taking yourself seriously. Telling people I am a writer, like it’s a real thing to do with my life, has been so hard for me. I needed this post about two years ago. Your randomly placed list of craft books is as unique as you are; I have never heard of about half of them and I am such a list collector! And, wow, is it reassuring to hear that you can get a writer’s education without leaving the house. I admit that I have been to conferences and I intend to keep going, but they have been mostly about building a network. For me, the real learning happens by doing when I am alone in my house. So, I think I am on the right track after all! 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Hi Marilyn! I am so glad you found helpful bits in here, and somehow mostly glad that you hadn’t heard of half of those craft books, because I would so love to find a similar list that was half-filled with books I’d never heard of.

      And saying I’m a writer is STILL hard for me. When I got the Snappsy book deal, our car had just died (unrelated to the book deal). We were looking at new cars, and realized we should buy a giant full-size van, to fit all our kids and be able to tow a camper. Most of these are white (the vans I mean) (though honestly our children and camper are white too) and it was this huge bright behemoth driving down the road, and I said, “When Snappsy comes out I want to get a giant Snappsy decal to put on the side, and then for each new book I’ll get more giant decals, until it’s a huge rolling art book van!” It sounded like such a good idea. But I can’t quite imagine doing it now, just because it seems too much “I’m a writer! Ha!” A little crass, maybe, but also I still feel weird admitting it and talking about it. I feel better talking about it all the time, but I still don’t really bring it up unless asked. Being a writer, I mean. Not that I wanted to paint a giant alligator on my car.

  68. Such a lovely balanced perspective! And #9 was informative; I hope I make it to that stage. I read Snappsy to my kids recently; a lot of fun! Best wishes!

  69. Julie, I’m so glad that you are the featured author! Your blog was one of the first that I stumbled upon last year when I decided that I wanted to “take this writing thing seriously” (yes, NOW I take myself seriously-ish). In a very non-creepy and non-stalkerish way, I remember thinking, “I want to be like her!” Your advice is spot on, and I feel like I can relate to everything you said. I tend to be quite impatient, but with all the wonderful resources available, I feel like I am always busy learning, so there is no time to be impatient (If that makes sense).

    1. Ohhhh, wow, that’s so amazing and fun to hear. Thanks for not stalking me. 🙂

      I’m so impatient too, and, yeah, the only thing to do is to trick your brain by giving it lots to do.

  70. Hi Julie! Sorry to be late posting this…I just finished ReFoReMo yesterday! Love your comments about your discovery of a “tiny group of magical wonderpeople” and the great list of suggested books. You write from the heart in your post and I enjoyed reading your words. Thank you! Looking forward to reading SNAPPY THE ALLIGATOR!

  71. I just printed your rules, and I am highlighting “Take yourself seriously.” I never did that, and it took the gift of 12 x 12 (my children purchased the membership for me to encourage (force!!) me to “Write your stories already!!”) to begin doing it. Thank you for your very helpful post! Now, I am off to purchase Snappsy. 🙂

  72. Thank you for all the helpful advice. I’ve decided to
    really focus in on the taking myself seriously part. That’s my goal this year. We love Snappsy in our house!

  73. Thank you, Julie! Love that your critique group connected bc of your “weird stories.” My stories have been called weird on multiple occasions and I could never decide if that was a compliment or not.

  74. I’m so looking forward to your book. I’m heading to the bookstore tomorrow!! I just joined the Picture Book Study Group and saw your book was selected for discussion in April! Your points were well made and I intend to make a copy and remind myself as I write!! Thanks Julie and congratulations!!

  75. I loved hearing about your journey. It’s so hard to not feel rushed. Thanks for the list of books and I can’t wait to meet Snappsy.

  76. Thank you, Julie!! I first read this post of yours the other night on my phone….and read it again today, and printed it to keep all of your tips at hand. You could publish this post even! Your voice is so appealing!
    Wow! You are so REAL! You haven’t been to any SCBWI conferences…loved how candid you are!! You made me feel that I can do this too!!!
    I can’t wait to read your SNAPPSY book!!!
    Kudos! Congrats!! And thanks for the encouragement!!
    I am proclaiming that I am a writer!!!!
    Write on, awesome author!!! I am too! Thanks again!


      Just kidding. Totally real. I just went to the dump and the grocery store.

  77. Thank you for your wonderful post, Julie. Your encouraging words make me feel like some day I may be a debut author as well! Thanks for sharing.

  78. We love Snappsy! Had to say that first :). Thanks so much for sharing, it’s amazing to me ask that you’ve been able to accomplish with kiddos. We’re blessed with one and it’s exactly as you’ve said… Finding time to squeeze in writing. I’m officially putting my writing hat back on! Have a wonderful day?

  79. Thank you Julie! This is one of the most positive and encouraging posts I have read. I feel inspired and hopeful. WOW! Thanks – I needed that today! 🙂
    And congrats on your book – my 5-year old son and I love it!

  80. I am boggled at how well you said so much important stuff–encouraging, helpful and with such clarity. Your Snappsy picture book has dimensional ‘magic’ I drooled over. So–it can be done! Thanks for a great example.

  81. Wonderful post. Taking one’s time is probably one of the hardest “rules” to follow, but it is essential. Also, have to agree with the value of the book, “Save the Cat.”

  82. Thank you for sharing your knowledge! I was seriously overwhelmed with the “thought” of getting a PB book published that it was preventing me to write. Once I left go of the “pressure” an unexpected story unfolded from pure enjoyment. Love being part of my new 12×12 community! Thank you xoxo

  83. Great list of rules — some I knew, but love the reminders, some are new, at least to me. Thanks! Great list of books! Some I’ve read (and own!), some I need to read. Printing the list out now! Thanks!!!

  84. Your post is so real and spot on. And the list of books is icing on the cake. I think I have one or two of those on my shelves. Big Magic sounds like one I need to rush out and get. Your sense of humor is infectious. Can’t wait to meet the ole boy Snapsy.

  85. Thank you for telling your inspirational story — you truly make me believe that this dream is possible for anyone. And I appreciate your comment about finding writer education resources without leaving your home! I agree that an SCBWI conference would be fabulous, but I haven’t been able to make it happen either, due to life constraints. It helps to remember that there is more than one path to your destination.
    Congrats on your book! I am looking forward to reading it!

    1. Yeah, I’m sure SCBWI conferences are amazing, but don’t think that they’re a must-do. Or that anything is a must-do EXCEPT writing your best story, and being kind and positive.

  86. Congratulations and thank you, Julie for your inspiring post! I’m familiar with some of the books in your writing and creativity list – I look forward to perusing the others.

  87. I have to admit, I came to the post to check in for 12×12 March 2016, but I’m leaving with so much information I never knew I needed. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your experience.

  88. Yes. Be nice. I think that’s more true of the KidLit community than not, don’t you? I’m amazed by the kindness and supportiveness almost daily.

    Great books list, btw. Nearly all of my favorites are there- the ones I read over and over. One to add: TAKE JOY by Jane Yolen.

    1. Oooh, thanks! I’ll add TAKE JOY asap!

      And yes, I DO think that most everyone in the kidlit community is kind, but occasionally I do run across someone who thinks that they have reached a point where they can be a diva, and that’s a bummer.

  89. Thank you so much for your post – and your book! I love this rule: Keep your eyes open for your special tiny group of magical wonder people. I think I’ll have to print it out and paste it on my wall!

  90. Julie thanks for your candid and sage advice! Especially liked your comments about taking the time to really develop those three great first manuscripts. Congrats on your success!

  91. Thank you so much for a wonderful and inspiring post! So many points on your list resonate with me personally. I have not yet had the pleasure of reading Snappsy but am going to look it up at my library right now! 🙂

  92. Thank you so much. I’m in the middle of marketing an adult non-fiction book at the moment and it leaves hardly any room for my creative writing – so it was so good to read that it’s okay to just focus on marketing. Thanks for this helpful post and best of luck for continued success!

  93. Julie,

    Congratulations on your success and thanks so much for the excellent, honest, and candid advice! I especially appreciate the list of books and the encouragement/permission to write through the bad stories. (I’ve struggled with this lately.) I keep seeing snapshots of Snappsy around the library, internet, and bookstores. It’s nice to learn a little bit about his history. Cheers to you!

  94. Thanks Julie for all the encouragement! Also congrats to you for staying the course and for not giving up the writing process. Also many congrats on your book! What a great premise!
    We are all blessed to be a part of 12×12!

  95. I am looking forward to reading your book 🙂 I love also seeing the few illustrations included. Well done!

  96. After digesting your post I will now imagine myself being a patient writing maniac who takes myself seriously writing some stories that will be terrible and learning all I can about writing PBs via the internet. Great structure for my imagination. Thanks. Really, I found everything you said VERY helpful Julie. I appreciate your candor and experiences.

  97. Thank you! So much wisdom and encouragement packed into one post I almost missed reading. Just what I needed right now- it’s a long journey but I feel like I’m setting off in the right direction. It helps that there are people who will give me perspective, and remind me that terrible writing is part of the process. Congratulations, and I can’t wait to meet Snappsy!

  98. Hi Julie,
    First, congratulations on your first book!! This is fantastic and I am so happy it is doing so well. I wish you continued success with the rest of your books.

    I feel you and I are kindred spirits as our writing journeys are similar. Our difference is that my children are in college and I am older but how we are learning our craft and polishing it are quite similar.
    That said, your post really hit home for me and I instantly feel connected.

    Thank you so much for the wealth of information and encouragement you provided with this post. Your appetizer plate of writer rules is right on the mark.

    I have Snappsy the Alligator on reserve at our library and you will be happy to know there are three other holds before mine. 🙂

    Best wishes,
    Traci Bold

  99. Thank you, Julie, for the great list and advice! And congratulations to you on your debut picture book! I look forward to reading it 🙂

  100. Thank you, Julie, for your honest words. I can’t wait to ride the roller coaster that we call being a published author! Congrats on your success 🙂

  101. All I can say is thank goodness Julie H has the 12×12 check in which requires us to comment on the Author Spotlight post. I’ve been so busy, Julie F, that i missed this one…so YAY that I had to come back now and read it.
    I appreciate all that you shared…I love that each author has a different journey on their path to getting published. I’m also a fan of reaching out and connecting and BEING NICE…that, after all, is what life is all about, whether we are teachers, or plumbers, or doctors, or writers. And with my debut pb coming out in Spring 2017, I’m especially grateful that you shared how it was for you prior to your book launch.

    All good wishes for continued success!!!!

  102. Hi Julie.
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart with all of us! This was more helpful than you could know–congrats on Snappsy! Cute, cute story–

  103. Loved all of this ??? huge take away: remove “aspiring” from ” aspiring writer”. You’re right! I AM writing! All the time! Thank you for such great insight & advice! ***so awesome to see your beautiful book on the shelves this morning at Barnes & Noble! ***

  104. Some wonderful advice in there. I am using Snappsy as a mentor text for my latest project! Congratulations on all your success!

  105. Julie – great post. Thanks for the permission to churn out all the bad, bad, BAD drafts. Have a few of those under my belt, but time to gin up a few more. The good ones are emerging too! Congratulations on your success, and best wishes going forward.

  106. Julie, Congrats on your book! Thanks for helping us remember to write and write some more! And enjoy the ride!

  107. PERFECT post for me! I’ve printed it out and will try like heck to remember all your fabulously inspiring advice. 🙂 Thanks!!!

  108. This was an enjoyable and useful article. It really makes me relax and believe that there is time to finish my manuscripts. Warmest regards

  109. Everybody’s journey is different. If you attend an event or conference and it doesn’t turn out as you hoped but you still gained something, you come out ahead. And when you need to take a break, do it.

  110. Thank you for these great words of wisdom, Julie. I just started referring to myself as a writer and it has had an amazing effect on my mindset!

  111. Congrats on the success of Snappsy. I honestly had never seen so many people talking about a book that had not come out yet so I was super excited to finally get my hands on a copy. And, it did not disappoint. I especially loved hearing all the behind-the-scenes/thoughts that went into the book and being able to go, “oh yeah, I totally see it!”

    Also, thank you for your rules. I have #3 down. Most stories I’ve written are filed and never thought about again because there’s nothing in them that draws me. I will have to focus more on #7 though. Sigh.

    1. Wow, it’s cool to hear that you heard so much about Snappsy before it came out. It’s hard to tell what is really happening outside of my little Snappsy-centric bubble.

      Take out some of those old stories and revisit them sometimes! I bet there are a few that were just waiting for you to be a slightly better writer so you could figure out what to do with them. This seriously JUST happened to me last week. I was going through my files and found a story I didn’t even remember writing, and read it, and it was good but needed tweaking and cutting down, and now I really like it. I think I just didn’t have the tools to fix it when I first wrote it.

  112. I LOVED this post! Thank you for sharing your story and your advice. Congratulations with your success! I can’t wait to read your book.

  113. Julie, what an inspiring story & I can’t wait to read Snappsy. Congratulations on juggling so much (3 kids are daunting, even when grown – I can’t imagine 4 young ones) & succeeding. Thank you so much for juggling one more thing by sharing words of inspiration.

  114. A nice read. I’m having to remind myself that this is not a race, and that all I can control is myself and my writing.

  115. Julie:

    Thank you for your inspiring story about the origins of “Snappsy.” I look forward to reading it this week.
    He is definitely a character and deserves his own book, even if he is a reluctant participant.

  116. Julie, great post! Love the ideas of always being nice and finding that special group that just “gets” you, and then keeping them like wonderful little birdies in your head, especially for those tough reviews or off days. Thanks!

  117. This is such a heartfelt and practical list. I know I will want to reread it often. I often find myself not giving myself permission to say writer, as I am older, have another full-time job…and this has been only a dream. You are right about the 12×12 community. I have and continue to learn to much from the generous writers there, and on blogs like this. Congratulations to you!

  118. Love the post. My favorite Lol moment was, “I have a friend who writes stories as weird as yours are.” It’s true the right crit group inspires me to be better.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and congrats! A fellow crit partner told me to buy your book so I did. At first, I didn’t get it. But on the second read i was totally laughing. Pretzels and pasta and pears, Oh my!

  119. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and advice – especially #3 – (think of how a diamond starts out, right?) Congratulations on your wonderful book!

  120. Hi Julie,
    Regarding your top ten rules: I am a writer. I take myself seriously, but my friends and family don’t. 2) I write a lot. I have at least 18 manuscripts and three partials, but I guess I don’t revise enough because I keep getting rejection letters. 3) Some of my stories are terrible and I know that, but that doesn’t stop me from writing more. 4) 12 x 12 and SCBWI give me a lot of writers’ education. 5) I have not found a small critique group unfortunately. 6) I appreciate your list of books to read. 7) I try not to rush, but I’m heading into the winter of my life at age 67 whereas you and many others like you are in the spring of your lives. 8) I like your attitude of not everyone is going to like your book. 9) I wouldn’t know about book marketing but I think you must have done it correctly! And 10) Congratulations on getting your book published!

  121. Thank you for such a helpful list. Number 1 — take yourself seriously. It sure takes a long time before we feel justified to take ourselves seriously. I wholeheartedly agree with you that we need to do that.

  122. Snappsy is amazing and you should be proud! I can’t wait to see what you write next.
    Thanks for some great tips and encouragement.

  123. What an honest sharing of your journey. It helps the rest of us keep the faith. Thanks, Julie. So glad you found success. Also, nice to hear you didn’t follow “all the rules” and just wrote.

  124. Thanks Julie for the great advice and sharing of your journey. Congratulations on your wonderful book being published! I really like the tip on not referring to yourself as an aspiring writer; that is something I am going to stop doing! I also make a practice of always having one book about writing to read through at a time. Right now it is Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine, even though it is more about writing MG I still find it very practical with a lot of writing practice exercises and examples from Gail’s life as a writer. I will use your list as a reference for future books about writing.

  125. Julie- Thanks for taking a moment (or many!) to put together that top 10 list from where you sit right now. (And congrats, too!) The list of craft titles is great — looking forward to checking out some of the new-to-me’s.

  126. Goodness, I guess my comment did not post correctly either, but Julie, I didn’t want to miss the chance to say how much fun I had listening to your interviews. There is always a fun “making of the story” behind the book itself and once you’ve heard it, you’ll never see it the same way. You’ve had a peek behind the curtain and it makes the whole thing even more magical.

  127. Fantastic list of rules- some food for thought, and some helpful reminders. Am excited to dig into the writing and creativity books that I haven’t read yet. Thanks Julie!

  128. Julie,
    Thank you for the morale boost for unpublished writers. It’s nice to get a glimpse the road to publication, and to hear how it happened for you.

  129. Hi Julie What a great blog post. Congratulations on Snapsy.
    Your journey is amazing. Is publication scary? Do I need a website?

  130. Don’t be afraid to write a terrible story! What wonderful advice. So often we (I) don’t write because it isn’t the story isn’t perfectly formed yet, but writing is what gets writing juices flowing, even if the writing is awful sometimes.

  131. All of these tips are just what I needed to hear, ESPECIALLY don’t rush! I get excited at an idea and I forget to take a step back and really make sure all the elements are in place. Thank you for this!

  132. Thank you Julie for your post, brimming with great advice. I particularly like #7 — Don’t rush — take my time and make sure I have 3 polished manuscripts. It’s so easy to get anxious and try to speed up the process. I look forward to reading your book. Congratulations!

  133. Oh my gosh, I just love your post! And based on the five gazillion comments you’ve received, I’m not the only one who thinks so! I especially love #8 (as well as 1-7, 9, and 10), where you discuss how not everyone will love your story. I wrote a story where the main character was very atypical for that particular type of animal, and one of the critiques was ‘I think your story is very unrealistic and too fantastical.” At first this really upset me, but then I realized that this person must not have the same type of imagination as I do! You have to write what inspires and what you love – so thank you for reinforcing that belief in me!

    1. Honestly “a story where the main character was very atypical for that type of animal” sounds GREAT. Who wants another story about a cute kitten who takes naps? Maybe he should be angry ninja kitten! Or, uh…something. Really though, keep doing that, that sounds great. (Unless you’re writing non-fiction?)

  134. Great advice, even with all the disclaimers. 😀
    I heard about your book on a website that was talking about books to look for in 2016, but I hadn’t realized that you were a new author. That’s exciting that it is doing so well!
    I always need to be reminded to just keep writing. Thanks for the encouragement.

  135. Thank You Julie for your valuable insight to the kidlit publishing world. You give other writers hope, information…and many laughs along the way! I was the first to reserve Snappsy at my library…nothing like that new book smell:> Good luck with all your future stories!!

  136. Thanks for this Julie. I listened to your interview on Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books today, as well – lots of great discussion. I love hearing about other writer’s stories, yours most definitely included. It is particularly resonate with me as I’m also a busy mom trying to squeeze ‘er all in!

  137. Thank you, Julie. thank you especially for saying not to expect anything, but just keep writing. It is sort of hard to consider throwing things away that I’ve spent so much time on. However, as I go over them, I am starting to see why they would/wouldn’t work.

  138. I too listened to your interview on Katie Davis’ (former) podcast today before I knew you were the guest author on 12 x 12, what a wonderful coincidence! I loved reading your 10 pieces of advice, thank you for sharing what is a very personal journey. 😉

  139. Julie – What a fantastic and wonderful post!! Love your authenticity and genuineness. Congratulations to you and Snappsy!!! (LOVE Snappsy!) I’m an awful commenter, I’m just congratulating like everybody else. 🙂

  140. When I was in Barnes and Noble yesterday I picked up Snapsy the Alligator and was hooked before I turned the first page. I called my husband over and together we laughed our way through the entire book. I then put it on my book wish list and said “That’s the next book I’m going to buy.” (I had already purchased 4 in the past week or else I would have bought it on the spot!) So clever and unique! Now, imagine my surprise when I clicked open the featured author post tonight and saw a picture of you and Snapsy! I was so excited I once again called my husband over to see what I was reading. While he was impressed, he didn’t join me in reading this bit of your writing. 🙂 I, however, found it just as interesting and am grateful for your advice and insight. I am even more determined to purchase a copy of your hilarious book! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us!

    1. Oh my gosh, I LOVE this story!! Also I really love that you’re always calling your husband over and making him read stuff. 🙂

      But really, the image of you reading Snappsy in the bookstore and laughing together is just the best.

  141. Such a great post. Helpful encouragements and great advice. It’s always such a great reminder to not be afraid to write yucky drafts! I forget this even when I hear and take it in over and over again!

  142. Dear Julie,
    My goodness, what remarkable advice. So specific, so plentiful, so HELPFUL!!!! I appreciate the emphasis on writing, writing, writing. There are times when I feel like I might jump out of my skin because it feels like I am contained in a world that is so much on the interior, but then after doing something entirely different, the writing calls me back. But there is that work part, and I appreciate your emphasizing that people have to really stick with it, through thick and thin. THANK YOU and congratulations on your book and success!!

  143. Beyond staying at home and learning on the internet, for me it’s that “special tiny group of magical wonderpeople”, those people who keep you accountable, those conscience-pluckers and cheerleaders and shoulders-to-weep on who help me keep everything in perspective. Here’s to Wonderpeople!

  144. Julie,

    Thank you for your learned “rules,” to share with us. I enjoyed reading your journey. I like number 3, don’t be afraid to write horrible stories! LOL Got a few of those tucked away in my files.
    Congratulations on your book. And again, I sure did appreciate your wisdom.

  145. thanks so much for sharing Julie, I especially liked the advice of using the internet to get an education in writing and to connect with others. I do these things but do not feel I have taken advantage of the opportunities presented in the past. I will see and listen with new focus now! Thanks!

  146. Wow! So much great stuff here! The point about not being afraid to write terrible books especially resonates. Yes, time feels limited, but, yes, they are necessary to get us where we’re going. Thanks for the advice!

  147. Julie- Congratulations on your success! Need to hunt down Snappsy and take him to lunch some day. I enjoyed reading your post. Glad to see that I am not the only one rewriting the awful stories more than the good ones.

    1. I got my English degree from Dickinson and my MLS from Southern Connecticut State University. I actually looked at Simmons and really wanted to go there, but then I got pregnant with my oldest, and realized an all-online program was going to work much better for me, so that’s what I did at SCSU.

  148. Great advice, Julie. I saw the Barnes & Noble character wall of fame sign and thought, “Wow, Snappsy has made it big!” I was so impressed I snapped a photo and shared on Twitter! Congratulations on your successful debut! It is well deserved. What a quirky and clever story with a fun MC!

  149. Thank you for your enlightening and encouraging post, Julie! It’s great to hear your story–as in how it’s been for you as a writer (and busy person). 🙂

    I love your book Snappsy and my kids do too. We look forward to reading what comes next.

  150. Julie, thank you for an excellent post. You managed to nail all of the “negative think,” worries, and bad attitudes that I tend to entertain. How did you know?! And not only did you list them out – Take yourself seriously, Don’t be afraid to write terrible stories, etc. (with me thinking, “Oh, yeah, guilty as charged,” as I read down the list) – but you then proceeded to give genuinely workable ways to handle the negativity and march forward bravely and productively. Sharing your experience was such a kind and generous act. I am in your debt!
    Congratulations on your book!

  151. Thank you so much for all the wonderful info. It’s definitely one to print out and keep. It makes me feel more normal. Haha. It’s great to meet you!

  152. This post is full of so much yes!!! I can’t believe I missed this post when it first comes out. It’s so much what we need to hear when first starting out and also after working on our craft for so many years. Thank you so much for your wonderful words. It gives me hope. <3

  153. Thank you for sharing your rules. I especially liked your rule of “If you want to write, then call yourself a writer”. I am going to take this to heart and run with it.

  154. Thank you so much for sharing, and all your thoughtful responses. I especially appreciated your response to the writer that asked how you handled your illo notes for Snappsy.
    I haven’t read Snappsy yet. But as an elementary school librarian I’ve never been happier this late in the school year to have some unspent funds. I’ve got some Snappsy on order!
    Write write write and read read read!

  155. I love your book list, and wonderful advice. With an MFA and many years attending SCBWI events, I can sometimes feel I’ve heard it all, but your advice is fresh and sweet. Thank you.

  156. Love your advice especially to not be afraid to write bad stories…..just write stories. It’s the process and the act of doing that is the benefit and only get better by working at it. Great book list. Thanks!

  157. Thank you so much for your great advice written in such a friendly manner! I have struggled and found the money to attend a number of conferences – some before I was truly ready – and find in some ways they are over-rated. Not all of us are that great at meeting agents in sea of 100’s, or if we do having the synchronistic moment with the right match. Lots of interesting information to take in – and also a long time to be stuck indoors often in a stressful environment physically – no fresh air – no physical activity – no play time!
    I so appreciate being able to access information here on 12 X 12 that I can break into segments between a walk by the river. Balance! Enjoy life as you write. I think we write better this way.

  158. I really connected with your post. Your words of wisdom were very refreshing to hear. I have only read half of the books on your list.

    Congratulations on your unique and funny book. Snappsy found his way into my shopping bag – even though he wasn’t sure he wanted to be!!

    I will keep writing and writing and writing and write some more.

  159. Wow! I loved your post, Julie. Though seriously I am putting writing and revising and researching first and foremost. I am behind on everything else. Thank you for the list of creative books. I appreciate the permission to write terrible stories because my first drafts are just that . I’m beginning to see that it is only the beginning.

  160. I love your, ‘start where you are, use what you’ve got’ type advice you give. This is honestly my favorite interview I’ve read in 12×12. Stellar advice and you sound like such a nice, humble person. Congrats on your book debut and success!!!

    1. PODCAST SUGGESTIONS. Yes I sure do. Well, let’s see. Hmm. Okay. I’ll assume you know Matthew Winner’s podcast. And the Picturebooking podcast. But here are some other podcasts I listen to, because I find that almost all podcasts do a form of storytelling via talking out loud, whether they are fiction or nonfiction, and hearing what I find intriguing while I’m driving or folding laundry helps me hone what I can make intriguing for a reader. So.

      Can I Pet Your Dog? (I love this podcast and was recently a guest on it)
      Judge John Hodgman
      Mystery Show
      Dear Sugar
      One Bad Mother
      Helping Writers Become Authors
      The Yarn
      Welcome to Night Vale

  161. Thank you very much for such a great post and all the advices! I just got the book (one of them on your list) – Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers by Mary Kole. I plan to read it everyday before writing. =)

  162. Thanks Julie, sounds a lot like my life / writing journey, except I haven’t got the agent/contract bit yet. What I’m finding the hardest is not keeping going, but slowing down, which I need to do, because every time I get writing, I burn (that’s how creative process works, right? 🙂 and burn with the ambition to do more and all the ideas in my head and the desire to see it all published), and then the school pick-up time comes round so quickly and I have to stop burning and come down to Earth and put away the frustration of not being able to carry on/finish/dedicate as much time as I’d like to writing… You know how life/work just gets in the way:) The good news is that I still write because I love doing it, which I guess is the only real reason to write. I might be writing less than I’d like, but it’s like a love affair – I think about all the time and return to it every time I can. I’ve had a few people say I write unusually creative/imaginative stuff, reliably.  So, I’ll just keep at it 🙂 Helen

    1. Yeahhhhh, that feeling stays. I do that ALL the time, the being all fired up about writing and then having to come down to earth. That’s, like, daily. Sometimes I’ll be driving and I’ll start to hear a great sentence in my head or a great idea and then one of my kids will talk and that idea will fly off so fast and it’s so sad.

      I think there’s a way that a more organized person writes at the same time every single day, to train their brain that “this is writing time.” I do write very early in the morning, mostly, but I do also get ideas all day, and sometimes I can grab them, and sometimes I can’t.

  163. What a great post- so inspiring! Your assertion that “if you write, you’re a writer” is very affirming to me, thank you! And I loved your book list – I screen grabbed it & intend to make my way through it. Thanks again! 🙂 Molly

  164. You are absolutely spot on. It’s like you were whispering in my ear. Thank you so much. One of the best postings I’ve read in a long time.

  165. Julie,

    Your steps are so real and helpful. I started this journey of writing with a great many assumptions and misconceptions, including that everything had to be perfect. No awful writing allowed! Your blog has been a mindset changer for me! Thanks!

  166. Thanks for the to-do list, Julie! It is so hard to wait for those three + glistening stories, but 12×12 is helping me set aside the mountain of laundry and get those crappy drafts and better revisions done. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I keep hoping that laundry will be inspirational. Wouldn’t it be great if folding laundry helped me work out story problems, or come up with ideas? It SHOULD be, right? I get ideas while I’m doing dishes sometimes, so WHY NOT LAUNDRY? And yet, so far, laundry has only produced…clean clothes. Which are useful, sure.

  167. I love your tips, Julie! And I’m encouraged that I’m already doing almost all of them – maybe there’s hope for me! Congratulations on your book, and thanks so much for sharing your wisdom!

  168. Thank you for reminding us that writing is work, and that passion for our work brings success. I love Snapsy and appreciate your journey!

  169. Thank you Julie! It is nice to see someon else’s experience because not being published yet, it drives you sometimes to question yourself.

  170. Hi Julie,
    Thanks so much for your advice. The best part is that I feel so encouraged to revise even more. I was lucky enough to have a Critique Ninja comment on my manuscript on March 26th—-someone you mentioned—-Carter Higgins! Her advice was awesome and I’m still revising based on it! Thanks so so much for your advice!
    Congratulations on your book…I cannot wait to read it this week-end!
    All Best,

  171. i need to print out #1 and #3 and put them by my computer! Excellent advice. And a fantastic debut book – congrats on the success of Snappsy!

  172. Hi, Julie.
    Thanks for describing your terrific journey and offering inspiration and practical tips.
    I’ve copied your list of writing and creativity books and will start reading — right after I read your book!
    Kind regards,
    Maureen BF

  173. Dear Julie,
    Such honest, real and heartfelt words about your journey. Thank you so very much for that. Hearing from someone a few steps ahead willing to share their hard earned wisdom is very encouraging. It is not an easy road, but fills our hearts which is why we do it. Can’t wait to read your book! Good luck with each new step you take. Hope you will share more in the future!

  174. Wow. I think that’s every good piece of advice I’ve ever heard all rolled into one wonderful blog with a sweet list of recommended craft books to boot. I am doing these things. I have found my special tiny group of magical wonder people. I write the terrible stories. I go to the coffee shops. And yes, how lucky that this world is accessible with a laptop, library, and Internet. I feel like I’m in school again which I miss desperately. I give myself assignments. I require the occasional trip to Staples. I consult style manuals. What a wonderful life. Congrats to you and your success! Enjoy the good weird, the good strange! Can’t wait to meet you there. Thanks for the post, Julie!

  175. Thank you for sharing!! It is so good for me to hear from another mother writing at home. That educating yourself from home can be done. You can make it work. Congrats on your success!!

  176. Thank you for reminding us that there are so many steps in this process! What stood out most to me is that getting published takes a lot of TIME! This can be so challenging to accept, but it’s true, the more you revise, the better the stories get. I also thought it was helpful to be reminded that not everyone is going to like our stories.
    Thank you!

  177. What excellent advice! i have worried so much about what others think that i have kept self-publishing through 12 books. I think I’m ready to try one out now. 12×12 has given me more courage and your wonderpeople are right here. What a lovely word that is! I agree that the only process is write revise and write again. That;s why I’m late putting up my revisions here. But the challenge of writing never leaves me. Thank you for the blog and the numbering of points, making it so clear.
    Jane in Ontario

  178. Thanks, Julie for such a great post. I’m evaluating my progress with 1/4 of the year gone and I feel very pressured. So I am focused on your remark DON’T RUSH. i want to rush because I am feeling the pressure of time (I am nearly 70), but so much of life interferes with my writing journey. I don’t want to ignore family, friends and other creative outlets. Or even just relaxing with a good book. I’ve got 1 new draft and the beginning of a draft for a MG book. Only 2 finished/submittable manuscripts – not enough for an agent. So I guess I’ll rush the submission process, submitting directly to publishers. That will be my focus for the 2nd quarter of the year. Thanks so much!

  179. You touched on so many things that I needed to hear. Not sure how I missed this at the beginning of the month, but I think it’s because I decided to write more and spend less time online reading about writing. I have no idea why it takes so long to declare that we are writers. But that step—saying it confidently and casually when someone asks what I do—was major for me. Looking forward to all of your successes!

  180. Hi Julie,
    I may have already commented. I suddently can’t remember, although I’ve read your blog post a couple of times. So I am commenting again just to cover my bases. I love your list of refernece books on writing and am happy to say that I have read almost all of them. That makes me feel like I am on the right track. Congratulations on Snappsy! He is amazing and so are you. Thank you for all your words of wisdom. All the best to you!!

  181. Such wonderful words of wisdom! Thank you for giving back to this community. I LOVE that you are a part of 12×12. And your delightful sense of humor is a bright ray of sunshine! -Robin Bailey

  182. Awesome truths and verifications of what I am beginning to learn about this whole process!
    Thank you bunches!

  183. Yeah I got that part right. The writing terrible stories part 🙂 Wonderful article! Thanks for sharing such insight.

  184. Well, as far as appetizers go, I usually try them all. Indeed, there is something in each of your ten tantalizing morsels I can sink my teeth into! Thank you for sharing your process both internally (emotion/thoughts) and externally (process after you let go of your story). It is inspiring and encouraging to see author-life on the ‘other side’!

    I began to call myself a writer about two years ago, and in doing so, I stopped seeing myself as a ‘pretend writer’ or a writer ‘in hiding’ and became free to be the writer I was in the moment I was in. In the now.

    I am thrilled to be part of 12×12 as well, as I believe it is an essential supportive and dynamic community.

    Thank you!

  185. Thank you for this wonderful and heartfelt post! I appreciate your honesty and really enjoyed reading about your experience and what you’ve learned from it. We are all so lucky to be able to read this insight. I love the idea of committing to yourself that you a writer. Aspiring has been stricken! Thank you again and best of luck. I can’t wait to read your new book!

  186. Thanks for passing your wisdom along. I really enjoyed reading Snappsy. I bet you’re having fun with school visits. Good luck on your continuing journey through the kidlit world.

  187. Thank you for this interesting post. I enjoy learning the details of how you became a writer. I bought Snapsy and we love it. It is different and funny and amazing! Hard to believe you made few directions for the illustrator, it’s perfect.

  188. Thank you Julie for sharing your insights. Good advice! Not easy to follow! I really struggle with justifying time spent writing without knowing if it will ever get published. Your blog is encouraging – I am happy for your success – it inspires me to keep at it.

  189. Thank you so much, especially for the list of books you provided.
    Good luck with everything in the future!

  190. I love the title of your book – I must track down Snappsy!
    I do appreciate your advice about the terrible stories that get written along the way. And the advice to persevere in spite of them!
    The publishing world does move at glacial speed – waiting three years for your book to be published!
    Thanks so much for your thoughtful 10 points.

  191. “Don’t be afraid to write terrible stories” — yes, this! Thank you Julie, and for the other wonderful words of advice.

  192. First- I love your book and congratulations. Thank you for all your advice for all of us spinning our wheels and doing our best to catch that break. It is so encouraging, and you are right…we are not aspiring, we ARE writers. I am definitely more motivated after reading this and look forward to reading more from you soon! 🙂

  193. Julie,
    A thousand congrats on the success of your first book. Looking forward to watching your ISBN list grow in the future!

    (a fellow member of the “Work Hard, Be Kind” writing posse)

  194. It’s nice to know that this is a time-consuming process for other people, too! I’m a kindergarten teacher and sometimes feel like “what am I doing…I barely have time to finish all of my lesson plans!” My co-worker just bought Snappy for his classroom and I am anxious to share it with my class :).

    Thank you for your advice!

  195. Julie, I loved this! I mean really, really loved it. I felt like you had really tried to write a piece that would help us. In so many ways, I felt like you were speaking directly to me. I’m off to look at your author page and see if you’ll be signing books anywhere in my vicinity. Thank you for your honesty and bits of wisdom!!!

  196. Oh my, I’m actually sitting amongst the piles of laundry I made myself fold while looking forward to reading your post as my “reward”. ? I’m just getting started here and find your words extremely encouraging, just like the words of all the people I’ve met in kidlit land so far. I joined 12×12 because PiBoIdMo was such a great experience. I didn’t want to lose the momentum. So far, so good…thanks very much!

  197. I love all of this, Julie. Love your list, your list of books in that list, love your love for the #kidlit community, love your enthusiasm and encouragement, and love your writing! Definitely saving this to reread. Thank you!

  198. This post couldn’t have come at a better time! Loved your list! I’ll need to revisit it every once in a while. Congrats on the success of your book!

  199. Julie, you sound like such an incredibly real, down-to-Earth person. I wasn’t even aware of the walls I had built up around writing time (not doing it enough) and the process, and wishing for it to all happen more than working for it, but I felt them tumbling down around me as I read your blog post. Truly sound and reassuring words. I’m encouraged! I’m motivated (but still scared)! And I already bought (Kindle version) one of the reference books you listed! Heartfelt thank you. For real.

    1. Snappsy gets autocorrected all over the place. I kind of want to say out loud to everyone, ever: I’M NOT OFFENDED IF YOU SPELL SNAPPSY WRONG. REALLY. IT’S TOTALLY FINE.

      There. I feel better.

  200. I like your first point: “If you’re writing, you’re a writer”. I have had many discussions on when someone should call themselves a writer. I agree with your definition. Thanks for that confirmation. Darlene Gaston

  201. Julie,
    I loved this! Your rules were so unrulelike (not word, I know) but perfect to describe your thoughts about writing. I can tell you are soo nice! Thank you your motivating words – just keep writing, just keep writing. I read somewhere that your first draft is only 40% not entirely hopeless and the revising work of writing is really where the work begins! Thank you, also, for the great list of writing/creativity resources. I have some of these, and will take a look at the others. I love NPR’s Sunday afternoon storytelling shows – I’m anxious to read the “behind the scenes” book about it. My second graders will love your book and I can’t believe I don’t already have it! Going straight to the store this afternoon to buy it. They are going to love the voice of the main character and I already have some ideas of how to use this as a mentor text in our writing workshop. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top