Folks, I have come to the bittersweet moment of welcoming the last Tuesday 12 x 12 author of the year. BUT, the moment is made more sweet than bitter because today’s guest — Beth Thaler — is one of my in-person critique group partners here in Boulder. Beth pours her whole heart into her writing, and this year I’ve seen her not only grow and blossom as a writer, but also in confidence. Her confidence is well justified. I’ve read a great deal of her writing, and (you heard it here first!) she WILL be published. I’m love her writing almost as much as I love her spirit. She is a bright shining light. She once left me a voicemail of encouragement that I STILL keep and listen to whenever I’m feeling dumpy (that’s a combination of grumpy and down in the dumps). So please give a warm welcome to Beth!*

Almost a year ago I made a life-changing decision.  My family and I gathered around the kitchen table to make our New Year’s resolutions.  We shared our goals and an eggnog toast.  The challenge I chose was to participate in the 12×12 in 2012, created by a member of my picture book critique group, none other than the lovely Julie Hedlund.  Cheers!

I’ve always loved any excuse to write, but up to this point it seemed like a luxury.  For a very long time I’d put this love of mine aside, waiting for things to settle down.  I wondered how I would balance the 12×12 commitment with my already overflowing life.

I knew my first priority would always be my family.  At the beginning of this year we were dealing with some significant setbacks regarding my oldest son’s ADHD symptoms and medication.  My youngest son was going through extensive testing to determine the cause and potential solution for hearing and speech issues.  I was also determined not to let my daughter, our middle child, slip through the cracks of our attention as we invested heaps of time into the boys.

I’m also a working mom.  I was a third grade teacher in my former life (before kids).  Over the past 10 years I’ve developed a flourishing tutoring business, working with students in the afternoons and evenings.  Tutoring allows me to continue teaching while being home during the day with my own little ones. Additionally, I take care of several children throughout the week and run a kid’s camp on the professional development days in our school district.  These jobs are not only sources of income, but an opportunity for me to spend time with my favorite people in the world…children.  They are a constant source of wonder, love, and joy.  Not to mention potential picture book material.

Despite the obstacles and time constraints, the allure of 12×12 was powerful.   Quite simply, I wanted to succeed.  I knew if I worked at it, I could end the year with 12 new picture book manuscripts and a chance to make my writing dreams of come true.

The recipe for victory looked like this:

  • Begin with passion and a vision
  • Blend together:
    • Generous amounts of family support
    • A plethora of picture book experts (ahem, children)
    • A dash of dive-in mentality
    • A cup of creativity
    • Plenty of incentives
    • 4 treasured critique group members
    • 12 firm deadlines

Viola!  The result is an only slightly-frazzled, pretty-darn-proud, pre-published, celebrating author.

I began 2012 with an empty notebook, 2 mediocre picture book manuscripts, and a dream.  So much has changed for me.  I’m ringing in 2013 with 14 picture book manuscripts, a brand new blog, a Facebook author’s page, a professional critique with Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and 57 ideas in my writer’s notebook.

I am also sincerely thankful for each of you and what you’ve shared with me:

  • Motivation
  • Bravery
  • Inspiration
  • Answers to at least 100 questions
  • Patience
  • Success stories
  • A heart full of hope
  • Resources I never knew were available
  • Growth
  • Encouragement
  • A better understanding of what makes a timeless, engaging, well-loved picture book

This is just the beginning, my friends.  I’m excited to continue the adventure with all of you in 2013.  I have so much more to learn!  I wish for you a new year full of magic, motivation, and manuscripts that open the doors to your dreams.

Beth loves to read, write, take pictures, bake, and hike with her family.  She attended the University of Colorado, where she earned her degree in Business-Marketing with an Elementary Education certificate.  Beth lives just outside of Boulder, CO with her husband, 3 kids, and 2 cats.  Her slight coffee and chocolate addiction allows her to burn the midnight oil more often than she should.  Beth has cultivated a passion for writing since third grade.  She is developing a new-found ability to write anywhere, anytime, with any writing utensil, even the occasional crayon or lip liner.  You can follow Beth on Facebook, twitter (@ThalerBeth), and on her new blog:  www.beththaler.com

*The Tuesday 12 x 12 pre-published author series will re-commence in February, 2013 and/or as soon as registration has calmed down enough to make it possible. Thanks!

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

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20 Comments

  1. Thanks for your recipe for victory, Beth. I’ll be mixing up a batch on New Year’s Eve :-) Congratulations on your 2012 accomplishments.

  2. Love your recipe. Tastes so fine! :-) Thank you Beth and thank you Julie. Merry Christmas and ONWARD HO to 2013.

  3. Great “recipe” for success, from one Beth to another! :D Thanks for a great inspirational post, and here’s to a new year of creativity and success! Happy holidays to Beth, Julie, and to all the 12 X12ers.

  4. You’ve done incredibly well these last twelve months, Beth. I can’t believe you’ve accomplished all you have with so much else on your plate! Kudos to you for putting your family first.

  5. Another Beth chiming in with admiration and gratitude. Good for you for doing all that while, um, doing all that! And great recipe. I’m looking forward to making up a batch myself! All the best to you as you head into 2013.

    Happy holidays to all the wonderful 12x12ers and especially our wonderful Julie, who brought us all together in the first place.

  6. Way to go, Beth. I stopped by your blog (I’m a new blogger too!) and it is, sadly, so topical and relevant. I wish you much success.

  7. We’re so lucky to have you, Beth! What a wonderful post you wrote, so honest, heartfelt and inspiring. I hope that when you gather around the table with eggnog this year, you bring goals just as lofty for 2013. What you set your mind to, you will reach, no doubt!

  8. Lita Van Wagenen

    Fabulous on every front! Great post Beth! Julie, thanks for featuring this wonderful writer. This year, I’m thankful to you both :)
    Cheers to the New Year.

  9. That’s a pretty full year of accomplishments, amid a pretty full year of responsibilities! Nice work. I have a feeling you won’t be pre-published for long!

  10. Glad I got the chance to meet you at the regional conference, and one of your PB mss! From the sound of this post, I think we should all be seriously frightened if you didn’t have as much to do! What a list of accomplishments! Best of luck submitting in 2013!

  11. Beth, isn’t success tasty, huh? Your recipe was right on, and I’m sure many versions of the same basic plan were cooked up among this fun group this year. What a potluck we could have!!! Thanks for sharing, thanks Julie for hosting Beth and all others who have ‘fed’ us inspiration this year.

  12. Nice to meet you, Beth! 14 PB mss and 57 ideas- that is outstanding! 2013 is looking bright for you.

  13. This is like the end of an era! Nice to meet you, Beth!

  14. Happy Tuesday Twelver Time! ;) Great post!

  15. So nice to read more about you, Beth. Congratulations on 14 manuscripts and all your other accomplishments this year!

  16. I like recipes and yours sounds sweet. You must be one busy lady with all you pack into a day. Great job finishing the challenge and thanks for helping to send 12×12 into the New Year.

  17. You sound so so busy! It’s fab you have time to write too! I love Rebecca’s poetry you are lucky!

  18. Wow!! 14 manuscripts!! That’s wonderful, Beth. Love the recipe! Good luck with your writing.

  19. Thank you all so much for your very kind words of encouragement and support. I am grateful for each and every one of you on this journey. Wishing you all the best in 2013. We’re going to ROCK IT! I just know it. :)
    Beth Thaler

  20. A wonderfully inspiring post. I’m a beginner but so glad I joined, just to meet you and your enthusiasm, perseverance and obvious talent. Thanks. Ria

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