If I had to choose a phrase to describe today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author Carrie Charley Brown, it would be “Newbie No More!” Her excitement and dedication to writing and this community is contagious and inspiring. She’s grabbed her passion for writing with both hands and clearly is not going to let go! And while I ordinarily wouldn’t suggest writing while driving, I had to both laugh and give a thumbs up in Carrie’s case. You go, girl! Please welcome Carrie!
How do you Spell Newbie?
Nervous, Excited, Worried, Busy, Inquisitive, Eager.
That’s enough going on inside one head to explode! So, how do you spell relief?
12 x 12, of course!
My journey from teacher to author began in the form of a little spark in 1991. It ignited into a picture book manuscript. That flame was rather snuffed spending nineteen years on the back burner, so that a teaching career, marriage, kids, and life could happen. My husband and I assumed reversed roles when an unexpected lay-off terminated his career. Back to teaching I went! I have always wondered why that flame chose to lash out at such an inopportune time.
I vividly remember being half asleep, pumping myself with coffee, and then yelling some not-so-nice words at some guy who cut me off in traffic. I took one look at the surprised expressions on my kids’ faces in the backseat, and a fire started to roar through my mind. I grabbed a crumpled up napkin, and started writing furiously as we blazed down the expressway. (Yikes!) When I ran out of room, I snatched a wrinkled receipt and scribbled more. I was bursting! But, with such a busy schedule, I had to stuff the ideas into a notebook for a later date. I was so eager to get into my writing, but my mind was only on break during my morning drives.
My husband finally found work and we reversed our roles again. I joined the SCBWI in the fall of 2012, and finally completed the two manuscripts that had burned themselves into my driving time in 2010. I felt free, and very, very green! I read everything I could get my hands on, started a critique group, and researched agents. I completed four additional manuscripts and a handful of short stories. I received my first big rejection during a professional critique with a big time editor at a SCBWI event in October. My flame didn’t feel so bright anymore. After trying to revise my manuscript in every thinkable way, it went in the drawer.
Enter: PiBoIdMo 2012. Yes! All I needed was more ideas! Sparks were everywhere! From there, I heard about 12 x 12 and became a Gold Member in January.
12 x 12 spells relief:
Nervous? I am meeting so many awesome writers from all over the world! Connecting lead me to my critique groups, an amazing critique partner, and collaborations. It makes me feel comfortable when my new colleagues offer suggestions, and recommend trusted sources for education, information, and professional services.
Excited! With a special mixture of PiBoIdMo ideas and a bunch of new ones, I am writing my little heart out! I love “reporting in” at the end of each month and daily to my critique partner.
Worried? It is comforting to have people all around me that know exactly what I am going through. 12 x 12 is like a big hug! Each and every person I have interacted with in this process has strengthened me as a professional and a person. I am learning that differences are good, and this business is truly subjective.
Busy! The First 250, Query Corner, and Pitch Perfect all allow me to critique the work of other writers. I enjoy helping, and feel a knack for editing. It has helped me become better at revising my own work, too.
Inquisitive? I found support in the 12 x 12 Facebook Group when I needed to know if I was “normal.” Many of my questions are answered by reading the posts of others.
Eager! 12 x 12 has motivated me to produce 7 new manuscripts since January! I am actively submitting and received my first three requests! Everyone has to start somewhere, and 12 x 12 is the perfect place for a Newbie!
Carrie Charley Brown has been inspiring children with the magic of picture books ever since her first teaching job. After 10 years of teaching and an equal amount of years as a full-time mom, she opened a new chapter of her life as a writer in 2012. Her current writing projects include picture books, adult humor, and middle grade fiction. She lives in Mansfield, Texas with her husband Richard, and their three children. Not surprisingly, her children all love to read and write. You can follow her on Twitter at @carriebrowntx or her new blog websites, Carrie On… Together! or Carrie On.Categories: 12 x 12, Authors, Books, Children's Books, Creativity, Guest Blogging, PiBoIdMo, Picture Book Month, Picture Books, Queries, SCBWI, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12, Authors, Carrie Charley Brown, Children's Books, Creativity, Goals, Guest Blogging, Julie Hedlund, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Queries, SCBWI, Tuesday 12 x 12, Works in Progress, Writing