Today it is my pleasure to introduce a Tuesday 12 x 12 author who has been a follower of my blog (and vice versa) since before 12 x 12 in 2012 — Diane Tulloch. Diane’s kindness and generosity in our community is ever-present, and we are all fortunate she decided to take this leap of faith with us. She shares her world and her experience freely in her work and in the online community, and is always ready to support a writer in need of help. She is as determined to learn and grow as anyone I’ve met in this business, which I admire and which in turn inspires me. I will always think of Diane as her blog name — Patient Dreamer. For isn’t that what all writers are?
Believe in yourself – is a phase that I have heard many times.
As a shy seventeen year old learning to drive, a patient driving instructor took me for my test, ignoring my pleas that I felt I wasn’t ready. I passed of course, but his words of…”I have more faith in you than you have in yourself. Believe in yourself and you can achieve …” have followed me everywhere. As a child with parents going through a tough divorce I buried my head in books of adventure, friendship, courtships and happy-ever-afters. I loved art, was always creative and arty but never thought of writing as a career. A private secretary was what my parents had in mind for me, so I learnt shorthand and touch typing.
Six years ago, moving comments by a well-known star prompted me to write, putting thoughts and pent up feelings of my childhood onto paper. Wondering if someone could tell me if it was any good, I found an editor online to send it to. I still remember my email which finished with “…. If you think I am wasting your time and mine then please throw it in the bin.” I had never heard of critique groups, or cover or inquiry letters. You can’t imagine my shock when she insisted I continue with it. For the next year life took a front seat, writing was put on hold. When I did return to the critique she had done, I found I was totally lost. What did “having a voice” mean or “show not tell.” I realised as I tried to work my way through it that I needed proper guidance from someone. Enter Emma Walton Hamilton, and her picture book course “Just Write for Kids.” I hesitated taking her course, but an email from her convinced me to give it a go. I can’t express enough how much I learned from Emma and the course. The “Children’s Book Hub” with its wonderful resources and Teleseminars, followed and in early 2011 I started my blog, unsure where it would take me.
A trip to the 2011 LA SCBWI Summer Conference was mind-blowing. I loved the meeting of other like-minded and creative people there. Being home here miles away in a different time zone, one can feel isolated. I realised very early on I needed a writing partner, to elbow me out of procrastination, a buddy to nut ideas out, look over my work, someone I could trust, to be both gentle and direct in giving me guidance and feedback. Where-ever I looked I felt overwhelmed by the experience everyone appeared to have. Scary stuff!
After PiBoldMo (Picture Book Idea Month) in 2011, I joined 12 x 12 in 2012; again, I was frightened of the expertise around me and wondered if I would fit in. When my laptop was stolen earlier this year I was overcome with the love and support from this wonderful 12×12 family and realised I had to get over my fear and take a leap of faith. I was always afraid to ask for help and hoped someone would just extend a hand. The challenge of producing a draft, a rough draft each month keeps me honest and connected, (even with a very busy full time job). Thanks to 12×12, an inspiring writer gently, over time, nudged and encouraged me into sharing my work. Boy, am I grateful! Then another 12x12er asked me to join her, so I took that leap of faith, and I now have a wonderful critique group. It’s true, I feel I am racing to catch up, still learning new things, but I am forever grateful to you, Julie, and the 12x12ers.
Thanks to this amazing online family, I have met some wonderful people, through their inspiring blogs, and fun ones, such as Susanna’s Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday series. The amazing surprise is finding a couple of 12x12ers here in my own country. So I don’t feel so isolated, and my confidence has grown. Most of all, I am believing in myself and have goals to achieve. I sent a manuscript to Rate Your Story and entered a competition which is drawn next March. I’ve drafted a novel I hope will be submission ready by end of next year. 2013 will be an interesting year, with hopes, dreams, hard-work and changes, knowing I have a wonderful online writing family behind me.
In our last SCBWI meeting here in NZ we were all asked to introduce ourselves and explain where we were at to our guest speaker. My comment of, “I am a pre-published writer,” garnered cheers of “like that” and “yay.”
Born and living in Auckland, New Zealand, married 34 years, Diane and her husband love travelling to interesting places, such as the palaces of Russia to the jungle of Sumatra, enjoying various cultures and meeting interesting people. The love of sharing her travel stories fuels her passion of writing, picture book, middle grade and YA. She is an advocate for Big Brother and belongs to various local writing groups including SCBWI, Australia/NZ SCBWI, Children’s Book Hub, BiPoldMo, WriteOnCon,
12x12in12, Writers and Illustrators. Diane can be reached via her blog, on Facebook, and Twitter.