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TARA LAZAR – January, 2015 Featured Author

TARA LAZAR – January, 2015 Featured Author

Tara-680x380It’s officially 12 x 12 in 2015!! The start of a brand new, shiny year full of blank sheets of paper (and computer screens) for us to fill with our luscious words as we write picture book drafts.

Here to kick off our year is none other than Tara Lazar, founder of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), author of THE MONSTORE and THREE new books releasing in 2015 — I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK, LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD, and NORMAL NORMAN.

In this informative and entertaining (if I do say so myself) interview, you will learn:

  • How to pronounce PiBoIdMo once and for all!
  • How Tara manages to make those PiBoIdMo mugs so awesome
  • Why Tara and I both eschew New Year’s resolutions, and of course…
  • The “secret” to success as a picture book author

Many thanks to Tara, here for her THIRD round of featured authordom for 12 x 12! One lucky 12 x 12 participant will win a picture book critique from Tara after the monthly check-in. Good luck, and enjoy!

REMEMBER: Deadline for GOLD members to renew is 11:59 p.m. EST January 8th. SILVER members have the same deadline to enter the lottery for remaining GOLD spots. General registration for 12 x 12 opens on January 14th. Want to make sure you don’t miss registration? Sign up here to receive notice. 

This Post Has 295 Comments
  1. Thank you, Julie and Tara! That was fun! I hadn’t seen Tara “in action” before, and now I feel like I know her. Her character and enthusiasm shine through. Thank you for the inspiration! I’m going to keep on keeping on!

    1. Fun, indeed! As a newbie PB writer, the biggest point I took away from this blog is that patience is essential while navigating through the process. Also, thick skin is required. It will take a lot of hard work as I journey to the bookshelves! Thank you, ladies for sharing your time and effort! And… congratulations on YOUR successes!

  2. Thanks Tara and Julie,
    That was so encouraging to know no one writes everyday and sits and pounds out a winner every
    time and some things just don’t work. I loved hearing about your process Tara. And Congratulations
    on your 3 new books. Wow three at one time!

  3. Thanks for such refreshing and down to earth advice. “Just keep going!” “Get the work done!” LOVE it! Very motivating. 🙂

  4. It was lovely to “see” you Tara! I’m in the “don’t write everyday” camp too! My husband continually asks my why I’m staring at things to which I respond “Shhh, I’m writing.” 🙂

  5. I have to say, that was one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve had the pleasure of listening too! Thanks, Tara and Julie – for being so real, so down-to-earth, so funny! Happy Sameness!

  6. Great interview! Tara, you are hi-larious! This interview was so inspiring. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is not prepared! Thank you Tara and Julie!

    Here’s to doing your best and getting published!…eventually. And then doing it all over again 🙂

  7. Although I’ve been writing my whole life, I officially decided to give myself permission to call myself a writer and really pursue my dream last January. The 2014 12X12 Challenge and PiBoIdMo have both given me the much needed encouragement and support that all less experienced writers crave. This interview was funny, informative, inspirational and demonstrates how much you both enjoy helping others in the writing community. Congratulations on all your previous and upcoming successes! Great first interview to kick off the New Year!

  8. Loved this interview! And it’s encouraging to know that other writers who are farther along on the journey still have to “do the work.” I know that, but it’s always nice to hear. 🙂

  9. Tara’s comments about how she wants to help others make great books for children so kids have more books that engage this is so much of the spirit of the writing community we’re part of. I also appreciate Tara’s reminder that persistence is important and that we shouldn’t rush our efforts. Thanks, Tara.

  10. Yes! I’m all about the process. For me, if the process isn’t fun, the product isn’t going to matter. It took me awhile to come to that, but after I did I stopped worrying about getting somewhere with my work and instead put the emphasis in the joy of creating it. Thanks for a great interview and an inspiring message.

  11. Tara and Julie, felt like I was chatting with friends. Great to hear your voices . Thanks for the encouragement❤️

  12. Great interview Tara! Thank you for the encouragement and inspiration. I’m also a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my pants” writer and am glad to know that I’m not the only one who is not organized. Loved it when you said, “it’s 99% staring and 1% writing.” And a huge “Congratulations” on having 3 new books coming out this year!

  13. Tara is always so positive and inspiring. The episode of the Let’s Get Busy podcast where she is interviewed is also great. Thanks for the encouragement — I’m eager to fill this year with writing (even the staring part.)

  14. It was great to hang out with you both for a bit today. Love the idea of condensing all my PB goals down to “Write and good book and get it published.” Yep. It’s a very good goal.

    Wishing you all a 2015 that exceeds your expectations!

  15. Happy New Year to 12X12! This video was a great boost to launch our year. Lots of fun info and advice.
    eg : Don’t write about the circus because editors think clowns are scary!

  16. Great to know we all go through the same things….. Not so great to know that the self-doubt never ends. Thanks to you both for creating this wonderful supportive community!

  17. In an online writing world, it’s refreshing to get to know the personalities of those that inspire us most through video. Thanks for taking the time to organize and produce this, Julie and Tara. Thanks for sharing of yourselves in a personal way. Funny how I started out with PiBo and then progressed to 12×12, and now I can’t do without either. Both of you inspired me to share what I am doing naturally, and the first annual ReFoReMo is coming together very well. If it gets other writers to read more than they originally set out to read, or know more about mentor texts than they originally knew, then it will be a success. THANK YOU so much for motivating me!

  18. Thank you for making me smile, living with ms myself and also battling the self doubt so for me it was nice to hear I was normal. Thankyou for being so fun and honest. Tara you are a beautiful inspiring person. This is my first 12 x 12 challenge ever. I thoroughly enjoyed, you honesty and fun to life. You are wonderful

  19. I commented last week on FB about this video chat. I hate to repeat myself, but in this case it’s worth it! You’re both inspiring, honest, and cool chicks! Thanks for all you’ve done and are doing for all of us 🙂

  20. So enjoyed your interaction, Julie and Tara. Good to be reminded we are all unique in our methods, but one in spirit. Thanks, ladies. I’m looking forward to a super productive year with 12×12!

  21. Great interview. I hope someday I can bother you both with the good news that my PiBoIdMo idea, turned 12×12 draft has become a published book!

  22. I’m new to PB so I had no idea PiBoIdMo was such a huge phenomenon. I’m looking forward to participating next year. Top 1% to be publishable is a little daunting. Like the advice to just keep writing.

  23. It’s comforting to start this year with both of y’all, since I finished with both (my PiBoIdMo continued into the middle of December, and I followed the 12 Days of Christmas). So, thanks for helping me kick off this year right! Here’s to 12 finished drafts, 10 submissions, 30 ideas, and a well developed author by 2016!

  24. Well, we’re 20 days in and I finally had a chance to sit down and watch this. Thanks for the inspiration, Tara and Julie, and here’s to doing more of the same in 2015, and building on what’s working for us!

  25. I so love Tara Lazar. Such a great interview. Be motivated Tara and get tons of stuff done. Or I swear I’ll do something. I mean it! I’LL DO SOMETHING! Good to hear about your process. Only 15% swearing? I must be doing it wrong!

  26. Okay, that was adorable. And helpful. And, as Julie stated, “refreshing.” Keeping our eyes (and typing hands) on the goal of “write a great book and get it published” is great advice and keeps the focus on what’s really important: getting great books into the hands of children. So thank you!!! As for the bit about “staring?” Hmmm…let’s just say that… happens……a lot. Glad to know I’m in good company, Tara! This will be the year I do PiBoIdMo!

  27. Inspiring and enthusiastic interview. It’s a new year, but get the work done-the goal is the same 🙂 Thank you, Tara and Julie.

  28. What a great interview. I appreciate the Tara’s enthusiasm and candor. I’m quite excited and motivated to be a part of 12×12 and am really looking forward to PIBoIdMo – especially now that I can pronounce it correctly. Thank you

  29. I’m a little late to the party, but as always, I loved hearing you speak, Tara. And I’m thrilled to hear that you succeeded in selling three books while staying true to your non-planning and free-spirited nature. It is encouraging to me because I think we must have similar personalities. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Such a refreshing video! Thanks so much Julie and Tara for your honesty about your process and approach. It’s nice to know that no matter where you are on this journey, everyone deals with the same emotions and struggles. Let’s keep on keepin’ on!

  31. This is the first month I am taking part in 12×12 and really encouraged to hear such human advice! To know that others struggle with the same insecurities and self doubt is comforting to know. Here’s to a great 2015 to everyone!

  32. Tara’s post was so inspiring. I can’t believe I didn’t comment on it right away. Not sure why I do this every month but I can never remember if I commented. I usually think I did but then when I scroll through the comments to be sure I don’t usually see my name. Next month I vow to comment right away!!!

  33. I so appreciate the down to earth approach and great ideas. Trying to learn about all of this is a lot like trying to find your way around in the fog. I have learned so much in the few weeks I have been in 12×12.

  34. How adorable are the two of you! Such a lovely, inspiring chat. Thank you for inviting us into your home and your heart, Tara. At this point, I doubt there are ANY manuscripts I write that haven’t been launched by your PiBoIdMo challenge. But never question the fact that we admire, love and respect your amazing talent as an author. Love The Monstore, excited to see your newest babies and can’t wait to see what the future brings! Thanks to both you and Julie for all you do for all of us! <3

  35. What a celebratory way to start 12×12! I’m so thankful Tara started PiBoIdMo. Thanks for the wise words and inspiration.

  36. Thank you ladies for the interview and for what you have contributed to the children’s book community. Keep on inspiring. 🙂

  37. I absolutely agree with Tara! I love to write for children simply put, I think there can always be more books for children to love and if I can write a book that a child loves and wants to keep read more because of that. Then all the re-writing and revisions and anxiety will be worth it. Thank you for all your wisdom.

  38. A great interview! Thanks,Tara, for sharing your writing experiences and encouraging us to keep at it! You’ve given so much to the world of children’s books and to the children’s literature community. Thank you!

  39. This is a great interview. Thank you to both of you for sharing this process and the motivation behind starting both of these wonderful challenges. I’m really excited about 12×12 this year because I participated in PiBoIdMo for the first time this year and I’m excited to tackle 12×12 with a notebook full of ideas.

  40. I always love listening to you, Tara…you’ve always got inspiring things to say. And I’m sure I listened to this earlier in the month, but, after going to the 12×12 Check In, I thought I’d better come back to make sure I had commented…good thing I did, cause I hadn’t. 😉 😉 🙂
    I’m excited for another year of 12×12,, writing and connecting with this incredible community! Thanks, Julie!

  41. This was a great introduction to 12×12 for this newbie! I’m already keeping a notebook close by to keep all the helpful information handy for reference. Looking forward to even more posts!

  42. Thank you for the fun and inspiring interview! Thank you for sharing your time and your advice with us! Blessings!

  43. I did get a major revision, more a re-write, done on a PB this month. Also got a kid novel in the hands of an editor who is reading it and getting back to me in the next few days. Can’t wait for her replay. And this anxiety led to the mega re-write of the PB. So it’s all good. Also, this month my first half of my advance for my first PB to get published arrived in my bank account. It’s been a great month. It’ll be a while for the actual book to appear. I don’t think they’ve even hired an illustrator yet. It’s with Beach Lane, an imprint I LOVE, so life is good! 😀

  44. I love Tara’s wisdom about being spontaneous and doing what works for her instead of listening to the “write every day” crowd. I’ve tried both methods over the years and they both work for me in terms of creativity and productivity, but the spontaneous method works better for my lifestyle. Happy 2015, everyone!!

  45. Thank you for an inspiring post, Tara! I love the idea of thinking about rejections as learning experiences. I have had quite a few rejections in the past few years but I sure have learned a lot about writing picture books. Congratulations on all your successes and thank you for all you do for this amazing community of writers!

  46. Loved this interview — especially Tara’s comment about how much time she spends THINKING before writing: “About 99% staring at the screen, 1% writing.”

  47. Great post! It’s great to hear how different methods can work for different people…as long as you’re writing that’s the most important thing! great to get to ‘know’ Tara a bit more too, I loved PiBoIdMo this year, or last year now I guess! And I’m loving 12×12!

  48. Thanks for an inspiring interview! I was kicking myself for enjoying the process too much and not thinking enough about submission. However, I am now giving myself permission to enjoy the process this year and worry about submission later, when more of my stories are where they need to be. Whew!

  49. Thank you for the inspiration. I also think a long time, working things out in my head before I actually write/type words onto a page.

  50. Tara and Julie,
    I’m happy to be in the “Doesn’t Write Everyday” group with you. I enjoyed PiBoIdMo and am enjoying 12×12. Thank you both for helping a newbie like me follow my dreams.
    Ali Pichardo

  51. Tara’s interview helped remind me that “It takes a long time to get to the level where your work is ready.” I’ve been impatient, and now I realize that patience is just part of the process. Thanks to Tara and Julie for the motivating interview!!

  52. This is great ladies! You are both so inspirational and I can’t wait to go buy those books!!! 🙂 One question- were either Tara or Julie already published when you started PiBoIdMo and 12 x 12? Just curious….I haven’t seen that anywhere….

  53. This was a wonderful interview! Thank you Tara and Julie for sharing some inspiration to kick of 2015. Congratulations on your new books Tara. It’s going to be a great year. 🙂

  54. Thank you, Tara and Julie, for a fun interview and the wise words – especially the advice to let your ideas marinade before writing.

  55. Thanks Tara and Julie, for your refreshingly honest discussion. You have opened up a whole new world for me in the community of picture book writers who are part of PiBoIdMo and 12 x 12. It’s wonderful!

  56. This was a fantastic interview to start 12×12- Inspirational and so very smart- Funny too! Tara, Your approach to the work is wonderful and I am so happy for all your success! Love The Monstore and I look forward to your new books in 2015- Thanks for all you do! And thank you, Julie for 12×12! It’s my first year and I’m so glad I joined! January has been great! Looking forward to a lot of writing this year 🙂

  57. I prefer “pi” as the pronunciation for a different reason: my undergrad is in engineering so I’m very math oriented. Great interview!

  58. Very inspiring interview! Great that you two ladies had such wonderful ideas to help the rest of us get writing! It’s also nice to know you don’t always get everything you planned completed. It’s awesome to have the challenges and the groups to keep us going, but sometimes life intervenes too. Thanks for such a balanced approach!

  59. Just got my much needed Tara-Julie fix. Thank you. I watched this when I joined and I can’t believe I didn’t comment. One of my biggest obstacle in writing is fear. Fear of failure, fear that my ideas suck, fear that I am a terrible writer…Listening to this interview for a second time makes me feel…”Hey, I belong to this wonderful, incredible group of writers!” Everyone starts. Everyone has mountains to climb. Everyone one has fears and issues they must face. I AM NOT ALONE! Thank you.

  60. Thank you, Tara, for your amazing website and the great video filled with inspiration and instilling a sense of community in all of us writers and writers-to-be. =) Have a wonderful weekend! I’m so excited to have another PB underway that I started this month, and it was great to have extra support in January to get the year started off right, write, =), with drafting and revising! =) Thanks again!

  61. Thanks for a great interview – really enjoyed, especially to give yourself permission to give yourself time… And so fun to find out about PiBoIdMo – looking forward to participating this year in that!

  62. All I can say is WOW! What a great inspiration you are. You have challenged me, and you have set the bar high. I am no quitter. Whatever it takes, I accept this challenge! Now, pardon me…I have to go to work!

  63. Thanks Tara and Julie for the warm and positive interview! So great to hear Tara comment on the value of plain old dedication to the work! And I feel so fortunate to have found this community of people doing work they love!

  64. Thanks, Tara, for a fun interview! I, too, find much of writing happens when your fingers are NOT on the keyboard. Hope to see you again at the NJ SCBWI. Take care and I look forward to reading your new books!

  65. I feel like Tara has just given me permission to let my brain work the way it’s supposed to work! For years I have been plagued with guilt because I don’t write every day–and that has always added to my stress. It’s the process that brings me joy, whenever it happens. Tara, I hope you have a successful year with the publication of your new books!

  66. It’s wonderful to hear that even the successful children’s book authors have to work at it. Rejections are so hard to accept. I agree that you have to concentrate on your writing and give yourself time. Thank you you are a great inspiration.

  67. Great interview with Tara Lazar. She is very funny, and I agree about the 90% staring, 1% writing. I’m working on a new book, visualizing where to take it, and playing plot lines out, and my husband asked me, why aren’t you typing? “Oh, I’m not there yet.” He looked at me like I’m crazy, but I have to think it through. I look forward to reading Monstore with my kids. Warmly, Brenda

  68. I love how casual this conversation was, but still full of good and encouraging information. I have heard about PiBoIdMo for a couple of years now, and now I know exactly what it is and what it does – it sounds terrific! I will admit that I find the experiences in rejection that everyone undergoes both reassuring, and a bit disheartening, but if you want to write, you just have to come at writing from a personal place of achievement and desire. It’s great to see how that can, eventually, translate into being able to share your work with the larger world. Thanks Tara and Julie. 🙂

  69. Tara has my undying admiration – thank you for creating PiBoIdMo. This was my first year and I found it both inspiring and productive. Thank you! So thrilled to be participating in 12 x 12 – a companion commitment. Huzzah!

  70. I loved this, thanks so much Julie and Tara. So many things Tara said rang true for me – wow what a relief. Don’t know if I have the courage though, to stop submitting for a year! But I totally understand why it is a good idea.

  71. Thoroughly enjoyed two authors discussing angst, uncertain if you ever will find your voice again and the pitfalls of being able to write another picture book; but most of all the unselfish nature of two successful authors willing to help writers not yet published or even noticed.c

  72. I’m not one for watching video, but I really enjoyed hearing two successful writers discuss writing and goals. Seems to be a pattern to have done PiBoIdMo and then 12×12.

  73. I completely enjoyed this fabulous and energetic interview. So inspiring! Monstore is one of my daughter’s favorite books. She’ll be so happy to learn that Tara has three more coming out soon! (And I’m happy about that, too.)

  74. Thank you, Julie and Tara, for sharing your experiences and thoughts on writing. I’m inspired because you both are so real about it all.

  75. I love to listen to other writers talk about writing, to hear how their processes work, to listen to their challenges and victories. This discussion between Julie and Tara encouraged me in several ways. My first take away was to consider not writing immediately after an idea pops into my head, but to write down the concept and then let it marinade for a while. I’ve jumped in too fast sometimes, and when that happens, I’ve found myself unhappy with the story’s journey, but unsure how to or if I can back track to write the story the right way. A second take away was that I don’t necessarily have to blog. I’m at a point in my life where I simply can’t find the time or energy or creativity to write a blog plus home school, work part-time, volunteer in two areas and write PBs. I am relieved to receive this “permission,” if you will. Another precious take away was that like Julie and Tara, I don’t write every day. I’ve been chastised by other writers that I’m supposed to write every day. I’ve tried, but often when I force myself to, I don’t feel as if it has value. I plan to listen to this interview again. Thanks gals!

  76. Thank you for an enlightening interview. I admire Tara Lazar for her dedication to writing, especially when also bearing illness. I was grateful to hear that I’m not alone in my occasional self-doubts and that persistence pays off. I so enjoy the process and was glad to hear how important that is too. Good writing to everyone!

  77. This was such a great interview! Raised a few chuckles out of me and very insightful. It is so true that as a beginner a part of you thinks once you get that first book published you’re done, but you are NOT! You just gotta be like Dory (if she was a writer not a fish) and just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing, writing, writing, that’s what you do you just write, write…. LOL

  78. Thank you for the interview. I admire Tara Lazar for her dedication to writing especially while also bearing an illness. You have inspired me to be persistent, and to recognize that self-doubts may creep in but I don’t have to let them stop me from pursuing my goals and enjoying the process.