We could all take lessons in tenacity from today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author, Donna Martin. She blogged almost every day for a whole year before giving herself a much-deserved break. She has faced obstacles this year that would have caused many of us to call it quits and do something easier for a living. Instead, she has continued to write and to inspire and support others in the process. I think of her when I feel my conviction flagging. Please welcome Donna!

Too Blessed To Be Stressed

I blinked and Halloween raced right by me.  Just where did October go?

Now I’m knee deep in fall activities like Thanksgiving, my second attempt at NaNoWriMo where I try to write a novel in 30 days, and my second year participating in Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo where I will challenge myself to come up with 30 picture book ideas in just 30 days.  Then next month will bring Christmas shopping and tree decorating and family get togethers to plan for…a million and one things to excite and stress me so maybe what I need to do before this month gets away from me, is to take a moment and follow Julie Hedlund’s lead about having an attitude of gratitude.  Here are some of the people and things I am grateful for from this past year:

  1. Family…my son supports my efforts, but he still doesn’t quite get my obsession with writing. My sister, on the other hand, is my biggest fan and harshest critic. I spent many years listening to negative reasons why I shouldn’t try to become a writer and wasted much time denying the NEED to write. Fortunately I came to my senses a couple of years ago and have been on a wonderfully crazy writing escapade ever since. If a new writer were to ever ask me what one bit of “wisdom” I could share, it would be to BELIEVE in yourself. Believe the voice inside you and do everything you can to encourage it to come out and play…
  1. Friends…I never knew this writing community existed before November, 2011.  I spent an entire year bumping into walls in the dark, not knowing where I was headed, until I stumbled across PiBoIdMo last year and took a leap of faith. I didn’t know what I was doing but I immediately felt a warm and caring writing community open its arms and welcome me like family. I met new friends, was encouraged to search for those sometimes elusive picture book ideas, and at the end of the challenge I walked away with 45 nuggets to start polishing into stories.
  1. Colleagues…I interacted and learned from a wide array of mentors in this writing community. Editors, Agents, and Publishers who invest an enormous amount of time generously giving back to the very people who seek their approval and blessing of their work. I have grown both as a writer and as a person by applying their wisdom to my own writing projects.  If it weren’t for the critiques, articles, blog posts, webinars, teleconferences, online workshops, and other resources available to writers, I would not have felt ready to submit my work to the world.  And the fact Chicken Soup for the Soul editors picked up one of my stories for their Angels Among Us book release in January, 2013, is a direct result of their personal and professional influence on me as a writer.
  1. Rate Your Story…I was lucky enough to stumble upon this free picture book rating service early in my writing career and I eagerly took advantage of the expertise offered by Miranda Paul and her group of volunteer judges.  With each story I submitted, I received a free rating (10 being the lowest and 1 being the highest) of how strong a story my judge felt I had created.  That rating, along with the helpful critiques and comments provided, allowed me to improve my writing skills until my resubmitted picture book Oh No, Moe! received not one, but two number 1 ratings from two different judges!
  1. 12 X 12 in 2012…January 2012 came along and Julie Hedlund challenged all of us to take those lovely PiBoIdMo ideas and actually DO something with them.  Twelve months to produce twelve first draft picture books.  I took up the challenge and have managed to complete nine of the eleven months so far and the other two drafts are almost complete.  Life dealt me a couple of hard knocks recently, but I refuse to give in to my promise to myself and now I look forward to another exciting year of creation in 2013!

There are days when I look around my study and I’m amazed at how far I’ve come as a writer over these past twelve months.  My bookshelves are crammed with books on the craft of writing.  My files are crammed with research notes and character profiles and other tidbits.  And I don’t think my poor old Mac laptop can hardly hold another first draft of the picture books, middle grade novels, or young adult novels I am currently working on.  Life had been very good to me and I can honestly say I am too blessed to be stressed over the upcoming holiday events.  I think maybe I’ll just kick back and put on some Alvin and The Chipmunks to celebrate the season while I revise another story…

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Donna L Martin has spent many years hanging out with her cat, Tommy, and perfecting the worlds in her imagination. She writes engaging children’s books, middle grade adventures, and young adult novels. When Donna is not training for her Master Fifth Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo or helping run her martial arts school in Tennessee, she is working on her latest writing project. Donna is an active member of SCBWI Midsouth and participates in a variety of online writing communities including 12 X 12 in 2012, PiBoIdMo, WANAtribe, Linkedin, and Children’s Book Hub Facebook groups.

Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Children's Books, Goals, Guest Blogging, Holidays, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Queries, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. Donna,
    There are so many and so much to be thankful for in the world of kid lit.
    Thank you!

  2. It is amazing what you have done in this last year, Donna…and with all the twists and turns of life! You are an example to us all.

  3. Nice post, Donna. This is so YOU! Always looking at the lighter side while dealing with the rest. Keep it up.

    • Thanks, Genevieve, for your kind words. I figure I have two ways to go through life…with my head held high so I can see all the goods things out there waiting for me…or with my head down where there is the high possibility of running into things! Lol…

      Donna L Martin

  4. Donna, with all the setbacks you have had this year, a lot of people would have given up—enormous kudos to you, my friend, for all you have accomplished despite all else! You ROCK!

  5. Donna, inspiring post. So many things we are blessed with and your post reminds us all to view the stresses of the season thru those good things. Thanks dear, and write on.

  6. You certainly have accomplished a lot this year Donna and inspite of some challenges. I enjoyed getting to know you better. Glad you found community here with this great group.

    • Hi, Patricia, and thanks for commenting on today’s post. I wish more newbie writers would find their way to this community so they could feel the love…;~)

      Donna L Martin

  7. Very nice grateful list that summed up what I think a lot of us are feeling about the wonderful writing community we have become a part of. You are a consistent contributor….thanks, Donna

    • Thanks, Penny, for stopping by today’s post. Sometimes it’s hard for me to express how much I appreciate all the people who have come into my life this past year through this writing community!

      Donna L Martin

  8. Julie,

    Thank you so much for allowing me to guest post on your blog today. You have paved the way for so many new and established writers to be able to create new picture book stories within a loving, supportive group. Thanks for all you do for the writing community!

    Donna L Martin

  9. Donna, you definitely inspire me to keep at me writing. Congrats on your future publication with Chicken Soup for the Soul – how wonderful!!!
    Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Thanks, Jennifer, for your kind words. Funny, but I don’t really see myself as an inspiration to anyone…just a gal trying to let the words in her head come out…;~)

      Donna L Martin

  10. Great post – inspires me to keep going. Good luck in your studies to fifth don.

    • Thanks, Sue, for taking the time to comment. I have three more years to prepare for my Master testing…three years to see how far I can take my dream of writing to a higher level. Oh what fun I’m having in both arenas…;~)

      Donna L Martin

  11. Donna, my dear Friend, you have been such an inspiration to us all. Through everything you have shown us your strength and dedication. I am grateful for knowing you, and thank YOU! This was a beautiful post.

    • Diane, you have become a very special friend over this past year. I can’t wait to do the happy dance in your honor when you become published…;~)

      Donna L Martin

  12. You are an inspiration Donna! Keep up the great work and I hope all kinds of good things are coming your way! Good luck with NaNoWriMo! 🙂

    • Thank you, Susanna, for your kind words! I am finding that my mental dedication to PiBo FAR EXCEEDS my mental dedication to NaNo…lol…is that a hint where my true love lies?

      Donna L Martin

  13. Love all your optimism, Donna, your persistence and enthusiasm has been a great inspiration to many of us this year. rock on!

    • Thanks Joanna for taking the time to comment on this post! I am surprised that people have been inspired by my journey and feeling quite humbled right now…;~)

      Donna L Martin

  14. So glad for you that you have such a sister; I think your son will ‘come ’round’ when he discovers a creative outlet himself – hope it’s soon! And that you have so many reasons to be so grateful this year – looks like you have surely earned that inner joy! Happy Holidays to you too!

  15. You are an inspiration Donna, and I love your attitude to this busy season. Good luck with NaNo!

  16. This is great, Donna! You go, girl. So encouraging.

    • Thanks Carter for taking the time to comment. I was hoping my post would resonate with some people but I’m surprised by all the lovely comments…it has made my day!

      Donna L Martin

  17. I can’t say that I have been waiting patiently for you to return to your blog. But I have been WAITING! That tap tap tap is my foot.

  18. Donna, it is so wonderful to know you. Thank you for sharing with us. And a karate expert. Wow! Good luck with NaNo. I know you’ll do well. *waving*

  19. You’re awesome, Donna! What an inspiring post! Go, crack NaNoWriMo!

  20. Donna, You are an inspiration to us all! Congratulations on all your achievements! May God continue to bless your writing!

    • Hi Tina! Thank you for your kind words. I do feel as if God has blessed me this year and look forward to the upcoming year. If I am lucky, Iyjis might be the year of my agent!

      Donna L Martin

  21. Thanks Donna! I always look forward to reading your posts! You’re a Black Belt in TaeKwonDo? Wow!! Impressive!!

  22. Donna, I hope to meet you one day and give you a high five. You are one of those folks in 12×12 I find myself always cheering for. Up, up, and away! 🙂

    • Hi Brenda and thanks for taking the time to comment, I am honored to have you cheering for me! I feel good about this upcoming year so maybe we both will have things to celebrate in 2013!

      Donna L Martin

  23. You are such an inspiration Donna! Thanks so much for sharing more about yourself. I can’t wait to buy your books someday! =) xoxo

  24. Congratulations on a great year, Donna. You’ve got a very impressive list there. Good luck with all your future endeavors!

  25. Great post Ms. Martin! Glad to see you back on the blogosphere!

  26. Gratitude is wonderful and I am so grateful to have *met* you. I love this post and wish you great things in your endeavors. I think you will go far. You are an inspiration to me. Thanks so much. 🙂

    • Thank you, Clar, for taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate your kind words and am honored that you think anything I say might be inspirational, Here’s to another fabulous year for the both of us!

      Donna L Martin

  27. Hi Julie! Yeah, I don’t know what I would do without my sister…she’s a great sounding board for ideas and revisions but she will tell me when something isn’t working for her from a reader’s viewpoint. My son LOVES to read but HATES to write so he really can’t imagine spending as much time writing as I seem to do every day…lol…

    Donna L Martin

  28. Hi Robyn! Thanks for commenting here and becoming one of my newest followers of my blog! Lol…don’t know if I would consider myself an “expert” in TaeKwonDo (even though my Master ranking I hope to get one day indicates a certain level of expertise) but it was nice of you to say it any way…;~)

    Donna L Martin

  29. Hi Julie .. what a great post by Donna – uplifting for so many going through challenging times. Keep on going and write, write, write …

    The blogosphere is a great place to be … and so supportive and encouraging … I’m so pleased friends were there for Donna .. you’re right to highlight her talents .. thanks – Hilary

    • Thanks, Hilary, for your kind words! It’s in my nature to nurture and what better place to feed off the wonderfully positive energy than right here in this writing community?

      Donna L Martin

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