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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. Carrie, I agree with Julie! You definitely not a newbie! I can’t wait to see some of your books in print!

  2. I’m so glad you submitted your post to Tuesday 12×12, Carrie! I know you to be a sweet, lovely, wonderful person on 12×12’s FB page, but I’ve always wanted to get to know you better. This was the perfect opportunity (without my having to ask nosy questions…LOL!). I love the N.E.W.B.I.E. acronym and really enjoyed reading this!

  3. Your energy is contagious, Carrie – thanks for this post!

  4. What an encouraging post! Your writing journey sounds very similar to mine…one manuscript written way back when…put up on shelf as I did job (teaching, like you) and family. I actually started writing seriously in the fall of 2010. But besides the dates…similar. Many other things are similar, too, and your NERVOUS sums it up so nicely! Nice to get to know you a little better, Carrie, and thanks for sharing your experiences with us! (I love reading about others’ journeys..just love it!)

  5. Oh that is so exciting, what a wonderful journey with as many twists and turns as a picture book!

  6. Thanks for the great post, Carrie. Good for you for returning to your long held dreams; I am sure you will succeed in your goals.

  7. Thanks for the support, everyone! This community holds you up!

  8. Kathleen Cornell Berman

    Congratulations on receiving three requests Carrie! Pretty good for a newbie. Thanks for sharing your journey and good luck!

  9. What a lovely post, Carrie! I loved reading about your journey, and you don’t sound like a newbie at all. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  10. Great post Carrie! I can relate to your travels in writing picture books, both figuratively and literally 🙂

  11. Three requests…. OH. MY. GODDESS. That is sooooo fantastic, congratulations. Your journey sounds like mine [minus the requests] and I agree totally that 12×12 spells relief, it also spells inspiration, education and friendship.
    Proud to be a witness to your journey.

  12. Hello Carrie…so nice to meet you…Although it’s true that 12×12 is an amazing pathway to writing, submitting and publishing picture books…it’s equally true that it provides us all with an inspired and inspiring community of like-minded souls.

    I loved reading your story…I taught for many years as well…and always wanted to write picture books. Until 12×12, those drafts and dummies collected dust. I’m thrilled to join you in this exciting journey. 🙂

    And the moral of the story is…always keep a clean napkin handy because you never know when the spark ignites. 🙂

  13. What a fantastic, enthusiastic, encouraging post! So good to get to know you better, Carrie. You are doing amazingly well — I’m with Julie, you’re a Newbie-no-more! Thanks for this post.

  14. What a clever way to share your experiences with us, Carrie. With all your efforts, you are sure to find a publisher for one of your manuscripts soon!

  15. LOVE this post, Carrie!

  16. Love your post, Carrie – never give up on your dreams!

  17. Stacy S. Jensen

    Glad all the pieces of the puzzle are fitting for your writing! I’m guessing many of the best stories began on crumpled receipts. Happy Writing!

  18. WOW! Super post, Carrie. It is lovely to meet you. I thought as I read your post about, plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is! Thanks for sharing your journey with us! We’re ll in this together. 🙂

  19. I like your NEWBIE acronym! Congratulations on your 3 requests! Wow!

  20. Ideas in the car are so painful. Ideas while someone is talking to you – just plain embarrassing! So nice to be able to share all the quirks. All the very best to you Carrie!

  21. You MUST be Ms. Amazing! Are you ambidextrous?

  22. Carrie, thanks for sharing your journey! I’ve been writing seriously about in the same time frame as you, and still all the elements of your acronym are there! It’s great being a ‘NEWBIE’ every day! There’s always hope and encouragement and learning and celebration in this community! Congrats on the requests!

  23. Melanie Ellsworth

    Carrie – my best ideas also seem to happen in the car, or in the middle of a long walk with my dog. Inevitably, I have nothing on which to jot my ideas down, so I have to play memory games. Thanks for your post and enthusiasm about all kinds of writing!

  24. I bet you are a great teacher! I’m so inspired after reading your post. It might just pull me out of the lull I’m in right now. This is such a great group. Thanks for sharing your journey with us all.

  25. Oh my goodness! How did I miss all of these incredibly kind words of support from everyone? Thank you for your support! I love being part of this community! It feels like a family, and I can’t wait to get to know everyone more as the years go by!

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