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:
- Answers to at least 100 questions
- Success stories
- A heart full of hope
- Resources I never knew were available
- 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: 12 x 12 in 2012, Author, Beth Thaler, Friendship, Goals, Guest Blog, Julie Hedlund, Parenting, Picture Books, Tuesday 12 x 12, Works in Progress, Writing