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12 X 12 January 2017 Check-in!

12 x 12 January 2017 Check-in!

First, let me say that I am in LOVE with the enthusiasm and the energy of the 12 x 12 group this year. I have honestly never witnessed such a smooth transition. New people participating early and often, and veterans stepping in to help before I even get there. It’s incredible!

I know so many of you are beginning your year full of ideas from StoryStorm and full of excitement for what you will accomplish this year. And you will. I can guarantee that no matter where you are in your journey – brand new or multi-published – you will grow as an author or illustrator this year. I see you. I am inspired by you.

All of the above comments make it more painful for me to say what I need to say next, because more than anything, I want to be the cheerleader I usually am, spurring you all on to great deeds. ESPECIALLY in the first check-in post of the year. But I cannot ignore the elephant in the room that is keeping many of you from producing the way I know you can – the way I know I can.

That elephant is all the division in the world right now. Many of us feel paralyzed and unable to create. I want you to know I see you, too. I am inspired by you, also.

What gives me hope is that I know that no matter our individual differences, we are all one. We are all connected. Together, we will bridge the divide.

Truly, it matters not our individual views on each issue that is debated. What matters is that the people in this community understand that what brings us together is far greater than what tears us apart. We share a desire and a calling to share this fundamental truth with the children who will inherit this world.

Our work is more important, more necessary, more profound, and more transformative than perhaps it ever has been before. So whether you are in a stage of frenzied creativity where your words and art are flowing, or you feel stymied by life events, national events, or world events, please know that in the end your words will make a difference. Whether you write them  now or months from now, they will make a difference.

Know that I am glad you are here. ALL are welcome. ALL are valued. Each and every one of you.

Now, to get on with the purpose of the check-in post, I will report that I revised a manuscript this month but I did not write a new draft. I’m disappointed because I think this is the first time in the history of the challenge that I haven’t come out of the gate strong with both a draft and a revision. Hopefully, this means I might not experience the slump I usually have in the middle of the year, right? I can make it up. That’s the thing about the challenge. Yes, the goal is to write 12 drafts, but really, it’s to write MORE than you would have if you were not in the challenge, to hold yourself accountable but also to have FUN in the process.

I suspect that many of you did indeed write a new draft this month, so….

Tell us your progress. Did you complete a draft and/or revision in January? Let us know in the Rafflecopter and in the comments. Our prize comes from this month’s Featured Author Cheryl Keely. The winner will receive a picture book critique!

Here is what you need to do to check in for a chance to win:

  1. See the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post that says “Picture Book Critique from Cheryl Keely” at the top.
  2. Click on the “Comment on Cheryl’s post” button. Commenting on Cheryl’s post is mandatory for this giveaway and you can enter the Rafflecopter even if you didn’t write a draft this month. You can comment on the post here.  Click ENTER.
  3. Click on the “Wrote a PB Draft” button. This will ask if you completed a PB draft in January. If you did, click ENTER, if you did not, move on to the next step.
  4. Click on the last “Revised a PB Draft” button. This will ask if you revised a PB in January. If you did, click ENTER. If not, move on to the next step.
  5. That’s it! Rafflecopter will track your points.

Usually, we have a two day check-in, but to get everyone familiar with the process, we are extending the check-in deadline to midnight Eastern on February 3rd to enter your results. Rafflecopter will draw a winner and it will be announced on the blog on February 4th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Post Has 99 Comments
  1. I revised – not to my complete satisfaction, by the way – a picture book that may have been revised too many times over the years, but is close to my heart. I’m having the nagging feeling that the “one true thing” I’m writing about in this latest version is simply not a developmentally accurate issue…

  2. How convenient that Storystorm (PiBoIdMo) fell in January this year! I brainstormed 31+ distinct ideas, fully-drafted 3 of those, and revived an old story and did a full rewrite and revision of it. I hope this momentum carries forward into next month, and that I can continue pushing and making new stories and ideas for the rest of the year. Thanks for all the pushing and prompting and community, 12×12!

  3. I wrote a draft for January and revised. I’m excited about 12×12 2017 and look forward to writing and sharing in this giving community. Thank you, Julie, for this opportunity 🙂

  4. I just joined the 12×12 community. This is my first post related to the challenge.

    As a retired special educator (retired in 2014 with over 35 years experience in public elementary schools), I could picture myself reading your new book to a class of children and talking about how to build bridges in various settings and circumstances. Congratulations, Cheryl, on the publication of your first book and warm wishes to all the participants of the 12×12 challenge.
    I am looking forward to learning with you. I am excited to be making a commitment to write 12 drafts in 2017.
    I am also happy to say I have written my first draft. Thank you for encouraging me to fulfill my dream of being a published children’s book author.

  5. Thank you so much for your encouraging words regarding unity and the importance of our work. I agree that in these difficult times it is hard to get motivated, but I do feel like my writing (and the wonderfully supportive children’s writing community) is a great antidote to the toxic environment around us.

  6. First one down! Feels good and even got some critque/feedback from some other 12×12 members – will have a revised version for next month too!

  7. No new manuscript for me either, Julie. But I am working on an R&R that is taking all my time and energy and it is becoming something wonderful, so I’m okay with that.
    And I do have an idea generated by the turmoil swirling through the world. That idea is simmering away, just waiting for me to give it the time and attention it deserves. So, when I am finished with the above ms, I have a new one to dive into. Doesn’t get much better than that!

  8. Happy to say I had an early burst of creativity and wrote 3 drafts (one is a board book). Got some revisions done on old manuscripts AND joined a great critique group. All good things so far!!

  9. A proud newbie to 12×12! While I revised a manuscript and roughed out another, I didn’t get my first draft of the year to the point I intended as an impending move from Florida to Missouri and a push to get an MG manuscript to a good “pause” place vied for my time. Cheryl’s book about bridges, change and connections was timely. Transitioning from living on a boat to land and starting over from scratch in many ways is both exciting and knee jiggling. I look forward to being more active in this amazing community post move.

  10. Interesting that Cheryl wrote about bridges, and I feel like I have crossed a bridge coming into 2017, moving from silver to gold membership. Last year was about building skills and confidence, and this years is about stretching in more directions. I met the 12 x 12 challenge last year. At the turn of the year, I suddenly found myself also writing 3 books for older kids – still figuring themselves out on levels.

    January I cleaned up my dummy already done, and painted 4 more finishes, learned how to format my dummy to submit to the Little Brown emerging artist competition, then wrote 2 new picture book drafts, revised writing, began my query for Feb and revised a dummy [almost done].

    This now has become routine and commitment instead of waiting for the muse. Though I did do some, I did not build quite as much in the habit of pitch and query writing as I will definitely be doing to meet the challenges this year – and facing my fears of querying to real agents, having deadlines for me is a very good thing. I have crossed over the bridge to larger territory, taking in and giving out more, and called in more habitual support by forming a dedicated small critique group. Feeling very fortunate in the three other members who are jumping onboard. Did anyone read what David Huyck wrote above – as a new member? As one of the 3, is going to be holding my bar high, for sure!

    Thank you, Julie, for building a framework much more powerful than I imagined when I started out here.

  11. I had tossed the idea of withdrawing back and forth, Lord knows HOW many times and I’m happy to say I’ve decided to push through 12×12. Yay! I managed to write my first draft but no revision as of yet…as I keep receiving critiques. Exciting! I’m looking forward to February! 🙂

  12. I have really enjoyed starting the year off with a notebook full of ideas. I was particularly excited about one of my Storystorm ideas, and it eventually became my January 12×12 draft. I wish I had managed to get a revision done too, but I am thrilled with the new draft.

  13. Thank you for the heartfelt post. Writing is cathartic for me. Even if the writing turns out like sludge and isn’t my creative best. My mindset is it’s better to move forward, push through and keep going than do the opposite.

    So, I’m another newbie. I, too, have enjoyed being a part of this community. I did squeak out a first draft of an idea stemming from StoryStorm. Phew! Otherwise, I’ve been wrangling my MG novel and doing a lot of reading and critiquing. All right, it’s on to February! Let’s do this! 😉

  14. I have a notebook full of story ideas from Tara Lazar’s StoryStorm this past month. I wrote a draft of one of them and finished (or so I thought) another one. I posted the “finished” one on the full manuscript discussion section of the forum (and handed it in to my critique group), and I’m seeing that, no, it’s not finished. LOL! I worked and worked and worked on that one, so does that count as revising? Or do I count it as revised AFTER I gather my 12×12 comments and my critique group comments? 🙂

  15. Inspiration to write a new draft comes in all forms including banging my head into a cupboard door. The idea for the story came right after I did it. Until that happened, I had been concentrating on revising three manuscripts which I was inspired to do after watching Sylvie Frank’s webinar. Cheryl Keely kicked off the year with fresh encouragement so Janaury is officially kicking off a great writing year for me and hopefully everyone else too!

  16. It’s my plan to actually write 12 stories this year. I’ve not won in the past, and I feel as though I’m doing myself a disservice if I don’t try a bit harder to complete all 12 stories. I participated in Tara Lazar’s Storystorm this year and focused in getting strong ideas rather than volume. I think it worked, because I have my first manuscript of the year already. I think I’m doing fairly well in my critique group as well. Loving these ladies! Here’s to a strong start in 2017!

    I may even get some time tonight to revise a manuscript. Fingers crossed! Thank you for this wonderful event Julie!

  17. I joined 12 x 12 to be pushed and inspired and so far it’s working. I revised one ms this month, which was my goal, and next month (even though it’s the shortest) I will endeavor to complete another revision and a new draft. We’re all in this together, 12 x 12 as well as our country and our world. It’s really comforting to be part of a supportive community here.

  18. Thank you! I personally find that I have less time to write and illustrate now because I’m trying to be active politically. Helping to promote the causes I support feels SO important but it’s definitely a juggling act! Thank you for keeping it real this month!

  19. The world in which we live was a major motivational factor in the draft I completed. And I was also able to revise several manuscripts.
    Thanks for creating such a warm and inviting space to grow and learn.

  20. Last year was a wonderful start. Being a Gold member this year feels a little bit more serious to me. The knowledge that I can submit an MS really has made a difference in my focus and organization… so far! Took a new idea and scribbled out a first draft and revisited an older one with a fresh eye. Looking forward to talking to everyone on the Forum. Happy Writing!

  21. Not one, but TWO new drafts! This, from someone who only wrote 5 in the past year. starting off strong…. let’s see if I can keep it going. 🙂

  22. I didn’t finish a full draft, but have been working on fleshing out an idea I’m really excited about! I did do a revision of another work and it’s finally done! I’ll be working on this idea to make it a draft and hopefully finished piece this month!

  23. Well, off to a great start, revised two manuscripts this month and started one new one. Something is telling me to keep revising. I would love this critique because I think it’s perfect…which means it needs something!!!
    Good luck everyone!
    Mary

  24. Made it by the skin of my teeth! Drafted an idea today that came to me last week. My goal is to complete 12 drafts this year, something that I didn’t accomplish the past 2 years of 12 x 12.

  25. You know me so well, Julie! 😉 I too struggled to direct my energy towards a new manuscript this month because of the elephant parade. I spent far too much time on Facebook and I had a hard time taking my lawyer hat off and finding my picture book voice. However, the current events fueled me with new interest in a dusty draft and a new sense of the kind of writing I wish to do. Fingers crossed for February.

  26. I’ve always been a feast or famine writer, but the combo of 12×12 + Storystorm has me writing and revising daily — and I’ve never been happier. Thanks to all who run this community and for the great people who live here. One down, eleven to go!

  27. “those scary bridges we must cross from time to time can actually be swinging and swaying their way to beautiful places”

    Cheryl Keely this will be my new inspirational quote to hang over my desk, motivating me to keep moving forward, be brave and go to new places in my life. Writing has been a deep desire all my life that took a back seat to marriage, children, grandchildren, my husband’s illness and his death 3 years ago!
    I am personally terrified of ‘wobbly bridges’ and I feel that my life has been one long ‘wobbly bridge’ for the past 3 years (specifically that rope bridge with the fog)!
    Life drastically changed for me 3 years ago but visualizing that my ‘wobbly bridge’ is taking me to new, unknown and beautiful places will encourage me to hold on tight and make the journey. One shaky step at a time! Thank you for the visual! 😉
    I am positive your book will encourage and inspire discussion and growth not only for the children but families as well. Congratulations and thank you for the words of encouragement to your fellow writers!

  28. I think I might have a “revision problem”. I seriously can’t leave my manuscripts alone…I hope to ascertain whether or not I am actually improving them this year. However, I was thrilled and surprised by how easily my draft came to me. Once again, I used an idea from Tara Lazar’s idea inspiring Storystorm/PiBoIdMo contest to write an entry for Susanna Hill’s Valentiny contest which could be used as my January draft for Julie’s amazing 12×12! Truly, there is no more encouraging group of talented professionals willing to help others find the success and satisfaction. Heartfelt thanks to all!

  29. Thank you for your encouraging note. I am new to 12×12, and reading your heartfelt post that speaks to what many of us are experiencing right tells me that I am in the right place at the right time. I am a social justice educator, so my head has been elsewhere this month, but being part of 12×12 kept me on track with a revision in time for next week’s conference. Happy to be here!

  30. I participated in Storystorm, but did not get a new manuscript completed. I revised one manuscript and submitted it!

  31. Thanks so much, Susanna, your words are inspiring…and you are right…our books can help transform…so we much keep on writing.
    I did use Storystorm to come up with the idea for my January 12×12 draft…and as far as revsion…I turned one story around so much, I think the end is the beginning and the beginning is the end…oh, wait a minute…I think there is already a book like that out there. 😉

  32. I finished my draft today, and made a doodle-dummy version with my daughter. She giggled the whole time. I have no idea if my draft will ever go beyond what it is now, but today it helped create a perfect memory 🙂

  33. Completed and revised (and revised) a draft, which gave me room to start and finish a new draft! Surprised to have a new idea percolating for Feb.

  34. Just wanted to thank you for your post and the sensitive way you addressed the “elephant in the room.” I’m new to 12 x 12 and haven’t spent enough time in the community yet – have been consumed by the news. But i’ve been writing! Your post was so needed and I will make my way into the community soon!

  35. Starting off strong with a brand new draft, revision on another draft, and Storystorm ideas! I didn’t get to 30, but I did jot down about 18 new ideas–which is more than I had on January 1st. Thanks Tara!
    Happy writing and revising to everyone!

  36. January was a good writing month for me — I wrote three rough drafts, revised one of my manuscripts and filled my notebook with more than 30 ideas, thanks to #Storystorm. I hope everyone else had a good month! Let’s keep up the momentum through February!!

  37. One draft and two revisions under my belt with many more to come (fingers crossed), thanks to Storystorm. So very inspired by you all!

  38. Such an appropriate post for the times we live in. I love Cheryl’s quote, “As turbulent as the times seem now, it is always a time of uncertainty, anxiety, and searching for understanding and acceptance for someone, somewhere in the world.”

  39. This is my first time! I did four and a half drafts. 3 revisions for one draft. And have 2 more ideas that I’m really excited about.

  40. Well, I mostly spent January getting organized and setting goals and finding my way around. I did work on a revision of a manuscript but didn’t finish it.

  41. Commented on Cheryl’s post last week so I hope that counts. Even though it’s been a rough month for several reasons, writing a fun pb was a creative escape and much needed! Whew!

  42. Thanks for the encouragement and acknowledgement of the elephant in the room making it difficult to create and revise.

  43. Thanks for the encouragement and acknowledgement of the elephant in the room making it difficult to create and revise.

  44. I am new to 12X12 and have no new drafts or revisions. I’m still hopeful to get back to writing after many years of raising kids, teaching preschoolers in a women’s Bible study, and caring for several elderly relatives. To say I’m rusty/out-of-shape/overwhelmed is an understatement … yet, here I am.

  45. Thank you! On Monday I revised a manuscript. On Tuesday I wrote the first draft of a new one. I wasn’t consciously aware of the 12 x 12 deadline while I was writing, but part of me must’ve been, because the days leading up to it felt more productive than usual. Thanks again. 🙂

  46. Yes. I wrote a picture book manuscript this January, beginning to end. And yesterday (during a random conversation about bears) I had an idea for the next one. I jotted down a bunch of notes which I hope will morph into the next manuscript.

  47. Yes, I wrote a picture book manuscript this January, beginning to end. And yesterday (during a random conversation about bears) I had an idea for the next one. I jotted down a bunch of notes which I hope will morph into the next manuscript.

  48. I’m happy to have these deadlines because that’s what I need to get the ideas out of my head and onto paper. Being part of 12 x 12 allows me to schedule time to write rather than do everything else that’s pending first!

  49. I’ve been slumpy since early November, but the fresh new year, and 12×12, and Storystorm, and the Writing with the Stars contest, and the Lyrical Language Lab course…all are pulling me up and out to approach new material. I’ve got some good starts, some fresh starts on new pieces, and it feels hopeful. I owe my revival to all the generous folks who run these contests and communities and challenges. So…thank you!

  50. Yes, revised a PB draft and had lots of great ideas (Thanks TL & Storystorm!) but alas no draft with a verifiable beg-mid-end.
    STILL I did ‘write more than I would have without the challenge!’ Thanks to 12×12, which was part of the NF4NF challenge I signed up for too!
    Thanks all you writers and posters.
    — Damon Dean

  51. Did big time revisions on NF biography. Feeling accomplished.
    Have an idea for new manuscript whirling in my head and almost ready to put on paper.
    Thanks for the push!
    Mona Pease

  52. Thank you for the post Cheryl. It is inspiring. I worked to revise a couple MS this month. I think joining 12×12 will go a long way to help me out of my current writing rut.

  53. This month I focused on Storystorm and ignored 12×12, so no draft and no revision. Just a pile of ideas for new stories. This month I’ll focus on 12×12.

  54. Even though I am still dealing with medical tests and doctors visits, I managed to add 2 new rough drafts to my list as well as revise 1 picture book manuscript and 6 chapters of my middle grade novel. I was also doing Tara Lazar’s STORYSTORM

  55. Thanks to Storystorm 2017, I’ve got 31+ new ideas for stories! I have three of them in draft form, and I’ve got one already revised into rough dummy for page turns and illustrations. Wow! What a start to the new year. Thanks everybody for all this get-up-and-go! 🙂

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