Christine Irvin featured on www.juliehedlund.com

Today’s guest blogger, Christine Irvin, is a published author who wanted to tell the story of why she joined the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge. Christine’s achievements since joining 12 x 12 are all hers, but I admit it gives me so much reward whenever I hear that members have found not only the inspiration to get their writing done, but to find people, resources and tools that will give them more control over their careers. So please welcome Christine!

MY STORY

I joined Julie’s 12 x 12 mostly out of desperation.

Although I am a writer with extensive list of publishing credits, I am not satisfied with my writing career. I am the author of a series of eight children’s craft books, published by Children’s Press in 2002. Two years later, Gramercy Press published a bindup of three of the titles. In addition, a picture book of mine was published by Sprite Press, a tiny publishing house owned by a friend. And, together with a couple of my friends, we wrote, illustrated and self-published, a picture book. Over the years I have also had articles, stories, recipes, book reviews and web content published in many forms and venues.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I felt “desperate” enough to join the 12 x12. It certainly has been satisfying to be published in so many areas, but it’s not what I really want, not what I’m really after. I really want to have a successful picture book-writing career. I want a picture book that sells 1000s of copies and that is enjoyed by children everywhere! (Don’t we all!?!)

To that end, I joined the 12 x 12. I haven’t achieved my dream, yet, but I have enjoyed these benefits:

Connections – After joining the 12 x 12, I immediately felt connected to the writing world. I was welcomed “into the fold” and made to feel like I belong here. I am now also a member of  two other groups I discovered through this one. And in August, I will be a member of a start-up critique group.

Camaraderie – I’ve made connections with many, many wonderful writers who have been sharing their hopes and dreams, their triumphs and their pitfalls. I feel I’m really part of a great community of writers.

Opportunities – One of the main reasons for joining, as a GOLD member, was for the opportunity to submit stories directly to agents. I thought that was incredible and well worth the “admission” cost.

Promotion – I’ve also become reacquainted with blogging. I started a blog years ago in a weak effort to promote my craft books. I created the blog account, uploaded book covers and wrote short blurbs about each book, then left it up to the cosmos to promote them. Guess what? The cosmos won’t do much by itself; you have to push, guide and direct it. So, I have recently revamped and revitalized my blog, giving myself a new outlet for my work.

Resources – I’m come upon a whole host of writing resources I didn’t know existed. I signed up for The Craft & Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books writing course. I’ve learned about lots of writing contests and have already entered three. When someone in one of my groups  shares something interesting they’ve found online, I check it out. If I like it, I bookmark it, then write a short blurb about it and share it on my blog. It’s a great way to keep up with what’s going on in the world of writing.

Challenges – The whole idea of joining the 12 x 12 was to be “challenged,” and I have been. I’ve been challenged to write a rough draft of at least one PB every month. I’ve signed up for NonFicPic Week where the idea is to write a rough draft of a nonfiction PB every day for one week. And, I have been participating in Shannon Abercrombie’s 100 Days of Summer Writing Challenge, with a given a daily writing prompt.

Being part of the 12 x 12 has been so much fun, I can’t wait to sign up again next year! Thanks, Julie, and everyone else.

And I’m still working on achieving my dream. I’ve learned a lot but I know I still have much more to learn. With your help, I think I’ll make it!

I am a freelance editor and writer and a published author. I have been in “the writing business” for about 20 years. In addition to writing, I love to read, do crafts, and work in the garden. I live in the Central Ohio area with my hubby, my son and my dog.

Categories: 12 x 12, Authors, Books, Children's Books, Creativity, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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17 Comments

  1. Wonderful to learn your story, Christine — and to learn that it isn’t just those of us who haven’t been published yet who feel the need of a nudge to take our writing and our writing careers to the next level. All the best to you in achieving your goals!

  2. Christine, I enjoyed your post. I’ve gotten sidetracked the past few months with other writing ventures and so haven’t contributed as much as I planned to this group, but I like finding out about what other members are up to and love hearing about their successes. Good luck with all your ventures.

  3. What a treat to read your story! You’ve been wonderfully encouraging to me and others in the group. I know you will continue to create and reach lots of children with your wit and wisdom.

  4. I hadn’t known about your impressive credits, Christine; kudos to you for pushing yourself further! Those are great reasons for joining 12×12. Best of luck to you as you continue on your picture book journey!

  5. So happy to be getting to know you better, Christine! You are a wonderful supporter too!

  6. I’m glad you joined 12×12… Another online writing friend to support and cheer on.

  7. All the best, Christine, as each adventure enriches your journey toward your goal!

  8. Great summary of why you joined 12×12, Christine. I’d say DITTO for me too!

  9. Christine, your reasons resonate with my 12×12 experience. It seems from the comments to date that others agree. THAT is the element of this community that is so valuable, so rich, so enthusiasm-able: shared experience. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Great job setting your goal to publish picture books! 12 x 12 is so amazing! We are happy to have you here with us!

  11. interesting story, Christine! I wish you success!

  12. So nice to get to know more about you Christine! Sounds like you are very committed. I wish you the best.

  13. Nice post! Good luck on your dream!

  14. Glad you’ve found many opportunities within the 12×12 community!

  15. All the best to you and your dreams, Christine.

  16. Congratulations on your accomplishments, Christine! And all those future possibilities. Your clarity and commitment to your heart’s desires is beautiful.

  17. Melanie Ellsworth

    It’s great to read about your writing journey, Christine! Nice to hear that 12 x12 has gotten you inspired to revisit your blog and motivated you to keep going with picture book writing. Congratulations on all that you’ve already accomplished.

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