For today’s Tuesday 12 x 12, meet Cheryl Velasquez, a writer who is getting used to sharing her work and her life – this post is a big step in that direction! I’m sure she’ll inspire you with what she has already done to achieve her goals this year.  Take it away, Cheryl!

Hello from the sunny state of Florida. I’m a 2nd grade teacher working at an inner city elementary school. I love to travel. I am your go to girl if you want to take a trip. I have been to 7 countries and 3 continents. This summer I hope to check off Italy, and Greece.  My family is important to me. I have been happily married for 28 years and have three great kids…well they are grown now, but I still call them my kids. I love to write in rhyme and read historical fiction.

Why did I join 12x12x12?

Having a hard time getting inspired? Or maybe what is rolling around in your head can’t find its way to paper? And when you FINALLY get it down, you think to yourself,”this story sucks!”  Well maybe you have what I had… WDS. You ask, what is WDS…Writer’s Doubt Syndrome. (That’s my own diagnosis)  2011 was not a good year for me. I was stuck in a writing rut. You know the one I’m talking about! I needed a new focus.

So now I know what it is, how do I get rid of it?

WDS can steal your passion. It creeps in between rejection letters and revision-raises it ugly head…sometime to the point of frustration and tears, resulting in “maybe I should stop trying.” People who doubt themselves take fewer chances, and do not reach their full potential. So here is my advice one writer to another.

1)  Celebrate the little things.

2)  Take risks, even if you have to force yourself.

3)  Embrace the 12x12x12 support.

4)  Relax and enjoy the ride.

Celebrate with me my little successes. Since joining the 12x12x12 team, I have a blog, a facebook writer’s page, written 2 picture book drafts, and submitted an entry in the Highlights Fiction Contest. What more could a girl want except 10 more drafts and  a contract!

I am taking my own advice…stepping out of my comfort zone to do this interview. Normally I would NEVER volunteer to do anything like this. Public writing makes me nervous. I do not enjoy being in the spotlight. But every time I push myself, I find a little more of myself. As a writer I have challenged myself to write at least one nonfiction draft this year.  At the end of your comfort zone is where magic begins. So what will you do in 2012 to bring the magic? Put yourself out there. You will be surprised where it can take you. Look at me!

My family and critique buddies (thank you Jennifer Young) have supported me every step of my journey. But now, I have the support of 278 new friends.This does wonders for the self confidence!  I’m very exciting to part of an incredible group of talented writers and illustrators. As a newbie, I find there is so much I have to learn. But I don’t have to look far, because here, right beside me, are all of you. I am inspired by all of the 12x12x12 participants-your blogs, willingness to share your knowledge and especially your encouragement.

So let’s relax, enjoy the ride and see what magic comes in 2012!

Visit Cheryl at her blog, Book Nook, where she writes about the writing life, the path to publication, and shares picture book reviews written by her second graders.

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



  1. Cheryl, it sounds like you have already gained so much and it is only Feb!! Well done on having a go at things you would normally shy away from “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” ~ one of my favourite quotes! It is nice to have greater insight into your journey, and I am sure your 2012 year will make up for your 2011 year…although we all need to have a trough to appreciate the peaks! thank you for sharing with us all 🙂

  2. Great post Cheryl! I am sitting in WDS and IDS (that would be illustrators doubt syndrome) – amazingly I’m not in the PDS (parental doubt syndrome) where I usually sit. I am making a space in my own blog for this very point – how to encourage the discouraged. How to find patience in impatience.

    Your words are wise – and as Julie says – it’s ALL ABOUT THE JOURNEY !!

  3. So well written Cheryl, I can empathise entirely with every word you write. Good on you for getting yourself out there! Like you say, it is so much easier taking this journey with a whole load of people in a similar situation. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  4. So, so wonderful to learn more about you. Great advice! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Cheryl, what a great post! It’s hard to work so hard at writing and realize that’s just a small part of publication in this social media age. Love your blog and the fact that you have so many little “helpers” in learning what makes a great PB. Good luck with all you are doing!

  6. Love this Cheryl. I love to celebrate the little things too and embrace the 12x support. Happy writing!

  7. Nice interview, Cheryl and Julie! It’s great to know you more. I’m excited with you on all the little successes you’ve had so far this year! Congratulations! Best wishes on all your writing!

  8. Pleased to meet you, Cheryl.
    What a great place to meet up.
    I love celebrating with friends. Aren’t we lucky to be on this ride together, and to have this cyber vehicle to travel on together!
    Happy 12×12.

  9. “At the end of your comfort zone is where magic begins.”

    Truer words were never spoken. Good for you, Cheryl, for making that important discovery and embracing it!

  10. Nice to meet you Cheryl. It will be fun to all take little risks together and see what happens. Wishing you a great year ahead!

  11. Enjoyed this post, Cheryl!

    LOL! I’ve taken a mental snapshot of the gal peering outside the box.
    When I’m stuck, she’s going to be my reminder what I need to do :~])

  12. Thanks for sharing Cheryl. You have achieved so much already. Wishing you a continued inspirational year.

  13. Well, I definitely have WDS – thanks for putting a name to it 🙂 Sounds like you’ve accomplished so much already this year! I agree, it’s great to be part of such a supportive community. Thanks for sharing – you did great stepping outside your comfort zone! 🙂

  14. Cheryl, I love your blog and enthusiasm for picture books and the kids you teach. I’m so with you on celebrating the little things! I am so glad we are on this journey all together. Thanks for stepping out and doing this interview!

  15. What a lovely post, Cheryl! Why you ever were nervous about doing this interview I will never know because I think you did a FABULOUS job!

  16. Thanks, Cheryl, for this post. WDS is a very real malady, whether you are published or not and your remedies are just the way to combat it.
    On another note: I taught second grade for 5 years and love the honesty and silliness of the age group!

  17. What a beautiful interview and a lovely time I had with you. Thank you. I see loads more interviews on the horizon for you too. WDS? Yep. I have it. All the time. (Taking your advice) 🙂

  18. Cheryl, your post came at such a perfect time for me!!! With 2 sick kids, school vacation, and a recent rejection letter – I’m suffering WDS! Now that I’ve identified it, I’ll work on curing it too. Thanks for some great inspiration, and keep on writing! 😀

  19. Cheryl, you did well.
    It seems to me that for a person who loves to travel and visit other countries when possible, writing should be much the same idea. We keep journeying into new places, gaining more wealth of the adventure and expanding our worlds. Inspiration is all around us!
    Thanks for sharing.

  20. Yes, let’s celebrate! CHEERS and congrats on your progress this year. I felt the same way last year because of the wds. Love your advice. Thanks for sharing your journey with us Cheryl.

  21. Thanks, Cheryl – this is just the kick in the butt I need to move out of my comfort zone. I’ve been avoiding FB for years – but hey, if you can do it, so can I. Maybe. oops – I feel WDS creeping in – help! need chocolate….

  22. Wise words, Cheryl. Thank you. I’ve been in this business a very long time, with many published books and plays behind me AND a contract in hand, but WDS remains an on-going plague and really hit hard last year. Like you, I find blasting open my comfort zone is the best cure. I’m one draft away from completing the 26-drafts-in-29-days Picture Book Marathon and look forward to spending the rest of the year with 12×12. Envigorating! And the company is great. Kudos to Julie and all aboard!

  23. I love reading about how much you have already done in the short two months since 12x12in2012 PB Challenge was offered. You encourage me to keep trying at my own personal path into children’s books.
    Wishing you continued growth, fun and rewards!

  24. Way to go Cheryl! You have come such a long way in such a short period of time, it’s truly inspiring. Thank you for pointing out how each of us are important to you. It made me want to keep trying. I am having a difficult time keeping up already, but you lifted me up! :o)

  25. Julie, thanks for letting us learn more about Cheryl. Cheryl, I have not doubt 2012 is going to be a monumental year for you. You work so hard. Crossing fingers for 10 more drafts and a contract!

  26. I find you exciting too Cheryl! What energy! Your interview inspires awe!

  27. Greetings to a fellow traveler, Cheryl! Thanks for reminding us to take risks, for when we do so, we grow…

  28. Gosh, do we EVER get over Writer’s Doubt Syndrome? 😉 (I seem to “relapse” pretty frequently!)

  29. Way to go! Great post, Cheryl! Love that ‘comfort zone’ comment. Keep up the great work,

  30. Sounds like you already at a winner Chreyl! I really enjoyed learning about you. You are inspiring! Good luck with your writing!

  31. Cheryl, your post is extremely well-written! Thanks for sharing your experience and inspiring insights!! 🙂

  32. Well I have a second-grader right now, so tremendous respect from me for the way you pour your life out for those kids. It is a job that I could not do! I wish I could say that after a contract the WDS goes away, but alas, it does not. It is so important to continue to put ourselves out there in spite of the WDS, so thank you for the reminder!

  33. “Relax and enjoy the ride…” is something that I remind myself daily. Thanks for the reminder Cheryl! 🙂

  34. Love this post! I echo the sentiments above, you are an example to all of us struggling to get our picture book voices heard. You go, girl!

  35. Nice to see you so current with your Blogs! Love the weekly interview idea! Now, you have to help me get my Gravatar picture in the right place on wordpress. It’s loaded but appears on the side instead of in the middle? Also, adding hyperlinks as you write your Blog – do you just hit insert and paste on the line? Thanks so much@

  36. Great Post! You’ve echoed what many new writers feel. How wonderful it is to push through. I too like Renee, love the line, “At the end of your comfort zone is where magic begins.” Wow! nothing else to be said after that. Is that on your heading? It should be. Again, WONDERFUL!

  37. Nice to meet you, Cheryl! Congratulations on your accomplishments, and good luck to you with the 12×12 challenge 😀

  38. You mean there are others who doubt their own ability???? LOL. I guess it must be contagious……but so who all the encouragement from 12x12x12!!! Love your post, Cheryl—and no doubt we are all equally equipped for the challenge this year–we’ve got each other! Thanks again Julie!

  39. Cheryl, I’m glad you took the interview leap. When you get published, I’m sure you’ll be doing many more. Since you like to write in rhyme, can you do anything with peanut butter and jelly on sweet potato spaghetti? (It’s my latest food concoction and I like the sound of it.). 😉

  40. This post is brimming over with good advice and enthusiasm. nd the diagnosis and treatment for WDS (I like your name for it)–priceless! Thank you, Cheryl.

  41. The words I’ll take away from this great post are “put yourself out there” as it’s so scary but otherwise, who will ever read what I’ve written! Thanks for the encouragement.

  42. Cheryl…thanks so much for sharing. What big the target for me in your interview was this: “But every time I push myself I find a little more of myself.” That’s so true. I have had much the same result from joining 12x12in12 and like you, I’m excited about what being in this community of writers will bring about in me.

  43. Thank you for this, Cheryl! Sounds as though you’re well on your way to working out of your WDS. Good for you for doing what you needed to do to move out of your comfort zone and into the place where magic can happen. All the best to you!

  44. WOW! All I can say is Wow! Thank you everyone for all the kind words.:) Thank you for being a part of my journey!

  45. You are awesome! I was once told that if I want to be successful then I need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I think it’s great that you are taking risks!

  46. Cheryl, A reminder that it’s about the journey is always a good thing, The reminder that we have so many supporting us through this journey is priceless.

    Thank you Cheryl!

  47. Cheryl, I love that you celebrate the “little things.” It sounds like you already have lots of “little things” to celebrate. Way to go!

    If it means anything…I was surprised to hear that you are a little uncomfortable with “publicly writing” and “being in the spotlight”. You are very active within this group, on your blog and always have insightful things to offer. I think you are a pro!

  48. **waves** at her 12X fellow critique group member

    Great job! Love reading the book reviews by 2nd graders. So much wisdom there!

  49. Lori Grusin Degman

    Fantastic post, Cheryl – way to put yourself out there! I can personally attest to your writing talent – when you’ve got it – flaunt it!

  50. Great post Ms. Hedlund and Ms. Velasquez! I really like your advice on how to handle the WDS!

  51. Great job Cheryl! I admire you for stepping out of your comfort zone. I like your tip on celebrating the little things! I will try to practice that more. Thank you!

  52. Well done Cheryl, great post! Putting yourself out there, it’s scary in any context. I’m also glad I signed up for 12×12 and so far, so good – 2 drafts down and 10 to go! I, myself would never take something on like this normally, it’s a marathon and I often struggle just to get out of bed! lol. The last few months though have really been about growth and stretching myself, as you say the more you do the more your realise you CAN do. 😀

  53. Well done, Cheryl. I thought you were talking about me with the WDS. 🙂 I recently went through the same experience and I know it won’t be the last either. It really helps to have the support during these moments, to help break through those boxes at times. Thank you.

  54. Great post. I love 12 X 12. It really does battle WDS (I’m glad your diagnosis…I wasn’t sure what to call it 🙂
    The support of this group is unbelievable. A real blessing for writers.
    Thanks for your words.

  55. Thanks for the great advice, Cheryl. Now I just need figure out how to relax and enjoy the ride, LOL. Celebrating the little things does help to keep my WDS at bay.

  56. Great post, Cheryl! Good luck with your journey, every step of the way.

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