Here’s Beth with our friend Phyllis the Groundhog as part of her world tour!

Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself that I’m doing too much, I think about today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author — Beth Stilborn.  She is everywhere, on every platform, providing support and encouragement to other writers.  She is passionate about all forms of art and music and sharing those with children.  She writes in multiple genres, but we’re fortunate to have her as part of our picture book community. Please welcome Beth!

“Value Added.” That’s the phrase that comes to mind when I think of 12×12 in 2012.

When Julie first suggested 12×12 near the end of PiBoIdMo in November 2011, I wasn’t going to participate. I didn’t think I would have time to do this on top of my “real” writing.

I decided to take the plunge, but still hedged my bets a bit, constantly stating that all we were being asked to do was one rough draft per month. I thought, “jot down a quick rough draft, be done with it for the month, and get on to my ‘real’ writing.”

How wrong-headed my thinking was! 12×12 has enhanced my writing. It is my “real” writing, at least in part. It has truly added immeasurable value to my writing life.

There is measurable value as well. My January manuscript has been sent for manuscript evaluation. That not-just-a-rough-draft will be one of the picture books in a series I’m writing. I will be submitting my February not-just-a-rough-draft to a magazine. April’s and May’s drafts will take their place in the picture book series eventually.

I have learned so much from the guest posts on Julie’s blog, and from my fellow writers. There are some incredibly talented people in this group, and I am amazed and delighted by how open to sharing and teaching those people have proven to be. Learning is a value added experience I hadn’t fully expected.

I joined one of the 12×12 critique groups – and have benefited greatly both from their feedback on my manuscripts, and from the exercise of providing feedback for theirs. This is an added value I could not have anticipated when I joined 12×12.

The friendship, encouragement and support of the 12×12 community have been and continue to be a powerful force in my life. Seeing and feeling the way we cheer each other on for large accomplishments and small; the way we encourage each other through the down times, the times when the ideas just won’t flow; this has been a priceless added value to my writing life and my life in general.

So much value added in just over four months! It is astonishing, really. Imagine what we as a group will accomplish by the end of the year!

Thank you, Julie, and thank you 12×12 community. You are, indeed, Value Added.

Beth Stilborn is very much a product of the Canadian prairies where she was born, loving wide-open thinking as much as the wide-open prairie. In her fifties, Beth finally found what she wanted to be when she grew up – a writer – and after spending most of her adult life working in university offices, now has the opportunity to make the dream a viable reality. 12×12 is helping that dream move forward, as are other writer connections. When not writing, Beth can be found looking for resources for the Children’s Book Hub Facebook Group, building connections in the online theatre/film/writing world, working on her blog, or trying to tame the beast that is home organization. You can find Beth on her blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Beth is also Co-admin with Emma Walton Hamilton of the Children’s Book Hub Facebook Group. If you are a children’s writer, illustrator or editor interested in becoming a part of the Children’s Book Hub Facebook Group, please go to and request to join. Please be sure we can tell from your publicly viewable Facebook profile that you are indeed connected with the world of children’s literature. We look forward to interacting with you there!

Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , ,



  1. I have to agree with you there Beth, 12x12x12 is certainly “value added”. I don’t think I ever envisioned garnering so much information, prompts, encouragements and learned so much, nor meeting so many wonderful people, (and blogs), when I first joined. You are very much an inspiring part of 12x12x12, and one busy lady. Lovely post thankyou both, Beth and Julie.

    • Thanks, Diane. The community that has built through 12 x 12 is truly an amazing and inspirational one. Julie deserves all the kudos we can heap on her for organizing this and keeping us going.

  2. Nice interview and photo, Beth! I learn more about you each time. That’s awesome you already have plans for each ms from the 12×12! Has your series been accepted somewhere already?

    • Thank you, Tina! How I wish I could say “yes” to your question asking if my series has been accepted — so far I’m just building the series, with hope and faith (two of my boon companions).

  3. Go Beth! Wow, she’s really working those rough drafts. What a blessing our gruop is.

    • Thanks, Brenda. It’s so good to be getting so very much more than merely “rough drafts” from this venture. I’m sure some of them will turn out to be rougher than others, but I’m hoping that there will continue to be some gems among them.

  4. We are indeed fortunate to have Beth and all her encouragement and wisdom in our group. I can’t wait for Beth’s picture book series to hit the shelves. Thank you for all the time you commit to the 12×12 and Hub groups, Beth!

  5. Julie, thanks for another great 12×12 interview, and Beth, we are so lucky to have you in 12×12! Whenever I don’t know something or can’t find something, you always has the answer 🙂 You are a tireless contributor to all the children’s books groups! And I agree wholeheartedly about the value added – this community is a wonderful one where we all become greater than ourselves. I know it’s only a matter of time before we see your books on real and online shelves, and I for one can’t wait! 🙂 (BTW, I LOVE that picture – Phyllis says thank you for including her and how is her friend the big greene deere and have your neighbors forgiven you yet for her practicing marching in your kitchen?)

    • Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support, Susanna. It means so much to me. I just had to include Phyllis, as one of the 12×12 friends I’ve “met” in person! I suspect her friend the big greene deere is getting himself ready for seeding these days. He’s got a lot of work ahead of him! And I *think* the neighbors have forgiven me… so much so that I’d be delighted to have Phyllis visit again. Who knows what mischief she and I could get up to next time!

  6. “Value added” indeed. Everything – from the enforced goal (a manuscript each month) to the great community of writers participating to the support to the inspiring posts. Thanks, Beth, for adding your voice of inspiration.

  7. Elizabeth Stevens Omlor

    Beth, I admire your wisdom and passion so much. It has been wonderful getting to know you through the hub and 12×12. I am so glad you decided to participate in the year long challenge and wish you the best of luck with your manuscripts! (Although it seems as though you won’t need it! :))

    • Thanks so much, Elizabeth. And I’m sure I need all the luck and good wishes, very much so. There’ll be some banana peels along the way, no doubt!

  8. Well said Ms. Stilborn! It is “value added”. What is a “manuscript evaluation”? I read a lot that people send in manuscript evaluations and I wonder where they send it to.

    • Thanks Erik — I so appreciate your contribution to the group. A “manuscript evaluation” is done by a freelance editor, like, for example Ms. Emma Walton Hamilton who does mine. (And Ms. Hedlund is now doing them, too!)

      A freelance editor is someone who has a lot of experience with writing and editing, and works on a fee basis to help writers do their best work. Writers hire that person for a set fee to read their picture book manuscript and send back a list of ways it could be made better. That’s a basic description of a manuscript evaluation. Hope that helped!

  9. Beth, It has been a pleasure to get to know through 12 x 12 and the Hub. I have bookmarked many of the items you have shared! Thank you for being our curator of kidlit information!

  10. I love how busy you are Beth. I can’t keep up, but appreciate all you do! I agree on the value added part and would add for you too. Thanks ladies.

    • Oh, goodness — I couldn’t keep up with all the things you do, Stacy. I don’t have a family at home to focus my time and energy on, and I no longer work outside the home. That makes an enormous difference! Thank you for your words. I love what I do.

  11. It’s so nice to get to know you a little better Beth, I love your phrase “added value” it describes how I feel about 12 x 12 perfectly. Wonderful post ladies.

    • Thanks, Jennifer. I so appreciate Julie giving us this opportunity to connect on a more personal level with so many of the members of the 12×12 community. Thanks, Julie!

  12. My goodness, Beth is one busy woman. well done – but I’d expect nothing less from a Canadian prairie woman. well done, ladies

    • Oh, Louise — I love that “I’d expect nothing less from a Canadian prairie woman!” When I think about all that my grandmother and great-grandmother did, with the resources that were available to them then, I feel I’m hardly doing anything! But it is so wonderful to have such examples to follow.

  13. So glad you took the plunge Beth and let the ‘beast’ wear itself out while you weren’t busy taming it! Because busy you certainly are! I admire your energy; there is always an fb comment from Beth to smile about! Thanks Beth and Julie, you both add value to my day!

    • Thanks, Julie. It is so good to be involved in this unbelievably supportive community. I also appreciate the freedom of the retired life which allows me to be as involved as I am. I’m glad I bring a smile to your days! It’s so good to get to know you, and the other 12x12ers.

  14. Beth you always amaze me with how busy — and helpful — you are. You have really inspired me this year. Julie, thanks for sharing Beth’s story!

    • Every time a young mother says they admire how busy I am, I just step back in open-mouthed amazement. The wonderful things you do with your kids, the dedication to their expanding worlds, has me in awe all the time. I don’t know how you manage to write, on top of all the other things you do. People like you — and so many in this group — inspire me daily. Thank you!

  15. Beth, I’m not as active with 12×12 as I’d hoped I’d be, but often the comments you’ve posted have provided info and inspired me, and obviously to others. I’m glad you decided to join the group.

    • Thank you so much, Carol. I’m so glad I’ve been able to help you through my comments. Even though you’re not able to be as active as you’d like, it’s good you’re as active as you are, and that the group is benefiting you. I’m glad you’re a part of the group, too!

  16. I got it Julie! Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *waving to Beth* You are bodaciously awesome! And very much added value to our writing lives. Loved getting to know you better. I know I’ll be reading this picture book series soon! (((hugs)))

    • I love your boundless enthusiasm, Robyn! “Bodaciously awesome” — wow. Thank you so much! And thanks for becoming a member of the Children’s Book Hub FB Group! You’re pretty awesome yourself! (((hugs back)))

  17. It’s been so nice getting to know you through the 12X12, Beth. You are such a tireless supporter of the group. You definitely ADD VALUE! Good luck with all your writing!

    • Thank you so much, Dana. It’s great to get to know you and all the members of the group — isn’t it amazing how widely across the globe this group stretches, and yet how close we’ve become?

  18. I agree, Beth, you are true “value added.” I am amazed at how active you are and how you seem to be everywhere! It is wonderful to have your input and encouragement.
    Julie, thanks for another interview that challenges each of us to stay committed to the 12 x 12 Challenge. Hearing about Beth’s progress is inspirational!

    • Wow. Thanks, Penny! I so appreciate this group — and I also appreciate the wonders of the internet that allows a person to “be everywhere” while sitting in a chair at a desk!

  19. Yay Beth!! You are an inspiration. May all your projects find the perfect home and your series soar!

    • Thanks so much Pierr. I particularly appreciate your use of the word “soar” as soaring is what I feel I’ve been doing in this phase of my life. May we all find wings to soar!

  20. Great interview ladies. Enjoyed your comment “value added,” in regards to 12×12. Your liffe is certainly full with what you love best — writing and interacting with others. I have known you since the beginning of the Hub, and I have delighted in watching how you’ve spread your wings. You’re an inspiration!

    • Wow, thanks Pat. I think we all are part of each others’ soaring — like a huge flock of birds rising to the heights, the uplift from our wings helping the one next to us. Thank you for flying alongside me, my friend.

  21. Patricia Nozell

    Beth, As a member of that 12×12 critique group, I am truly grateful for the insightful comments & encouragement you give. Like you, I wasn’t sure what to expect or whether I could complete the required 12 drafts this year. I was nervous, make that super nervous, about joining a critique group – even virtually. Third of the way through the year & I marvel at the progress I see being achieved. Thank you, Beth & Julie!

    • Patricia, I’m so glad you’re part of our critique group! And I thought I was the only one nervous about getting into a critique group.Thank you! It’s good to have others to travel this road with.

  22. Very good interview! I was tired after just reading all you do Beth. I know that I have learned so much from the children’s Hub FB page since I found it and joined. You are like a little reference machine I can (and do!) refer to on a regular basis. Hope you keep up the fantastic work you do and that we will be seeing your series in stores super soon!

    • Thanks Sharon! And I often think how much more I could do if I’d just get off my duff and DO things! Interesting how others perceive me. I’m so glad that our Children’s Book Hub FB group is such a benefit to you. It’s truly a labor of love for me. Thanks for the encouragement! To your success!

  23. Value Added – what a wonderful perspective! And from an illustrator’s viewpoint, there are endless color values….just by mixing deeper tones, or lighter hues…the value possibilities are endless…and that is certainly what the 12 x 12 ers are all about. Thank you, Beth for reminding us that it is the group as a whole who contributes to the experience as well as the individual who makes the difference. You are such a wonderful encourager. (You can’t ever change your FB picture. If I did not see your smiling face and red shirt when I open up FB my day would not be the same.) Thanks, Julie for inviting Beth to your blog.

    • Oh, Laura — that illustrator’s interpretation is the sort that sends tingles up the spine. That is so well put. Thank you!

      How did you know I’m thinking of updating my FB picture? If/when I do, I’ll try to ensure it’s still bright and cheery! (Perhaps I can run the possibilities past you if/when the time comes?)

  24. Beth Stilborn – a woman who sprinkles her inner sparkle fairydust o’er all of Children’s Book Hub Facebook land and beyond!

    * * * ^ * * * B * E * T * H* * * * ^ * * *

    Thanks for a fun and inspiring interview!

  25. Hi Beth, wonderful interview. We are all very lucky to have your positive, caring, and energetic spirit. I completely agree that the word for this group is “value added”. Good Luck with your submissions and picture book series.

  26. I’m glad 12×12 is making such a huge difference for so many. I certainly am thinking more about writing than I used to, and I’m actually writing more when I can. It’s become a commitment more than ever before. I am not on FB so miss out on the group there, but I very much appreciate everyone’s input in this format .. Thanks, Julie, for making it possible.

    Beth, it looks as if you are one who is rising up into what she is destined to be. Thank you for your encouraging post. I wish you publishing success.

    A fellow Canadian in Nova Scotia…
    Lynn A. Davidson

  27. Beth, I’m not sure if you know this, but you are my “go to” person in this group. You are always cheering someone on, or posting valuable information. We are blessed to know you. Great interview, Ladies! Much, Much success to you Lady Beth!

    • That’s so sweet — thank you so much, Pam! I’m glad I can be of help. As my Mum used to say, “That’s what we’re put here for.” To your success, as well!

  28. Jarm Del Boccio

    I so appreciate your contributions, Beth…you are always sharing a helpful link of one kind or another, and cheering us on as we write through 2012. It’s an honor to be a part of 12×12 in 2012…and you are one of the reasons!

  29. You are amazing Beth and a valued member of the writing community! Thanks for all you do!

  30. Fantastic post Beth! Like the others have said, you are such a wonderful contributor to the children’s literature community. I always look forward to your posts and reading your words of wisdom in the comments.

    • Thanks so much, Loni! The best part of doing this post has been reading everyone’s comments, just like the best part of being in 12 x 12 is the fantastic people I’ve connected with.

  31. I agree with Dana and Penny… you have added value to this group, Beth. From your tireless research, ongoing cheer leading, and positive attitude is an inspiration. Thanks for this post and all you do.

  32. 12X12 is wonderful. I’m glad that you joined Beth or I may have never learned about hymn writing or the children’s book hub!

  33. How did I miss this post?? Beth, it was wonderful hearing more about one of THE MOST SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE in all of 12×12-dom. I often marvel at your focus and commitment not only to the Hub and 12×12 groups, but to your own writing endeavors as well. I wish I had your tenacity! Thanks for all you do!

  34. You bet, Beth! This is value added and multiplied as well.
    I have only recently begun writing seriously, and I can hardly believe the richness of the encouragement, the craft teaching, the sharing, the insight and free experience that we have here. Thanks for sharing, Beth, and thanks for this priceless concept, Julie.

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