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:
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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: 12 x 12 in 2012, Author, Children's Books, Goals, Guest Blog, Holidays, Julie Hedlund, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Tuesday 12 x 12, Works, Writing