Please welcome author Rebecca Fyfe to the Tuesday 12 x 12 series. Β She manages to write while raising seven children! Β She didn’t stop at the 12 x 12 either – she’s also participating in February’s picture book marathon. Β Whew! Β Excuse me while I go take a nap… πŸ™‚ Β Welcome Rebecca!

I first heard about the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge through my Facebook friend and author Jo Hart. She had joined the challenge and posted about it on Facebook as well as on her blog. Having previously written three children’s stories that were currently sitting on my computer without any idea what to do with them next, I knew that this challenge would be a great one for me.

Being a mom to seven children means that I have read a large amount of picture books (usually to my children as I tuck them into bed). Sometimes, I would make up stories to tell them instead of reading them a book, and often they would plead with me to tell them a β€œmade-up story” because they always loved these stories. As a result, I have a library of ideas in my head for picture books which have never been written down.

With the new year arriving, I re-evaluated my writing goals for the year ahead and decided to set myself monthly writing goals in order to keep myself productive and to circumvent my tendency to procrastinate. Joining the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge seemed like the perfect way to both get those children’s story ideas of mine written down and to give myself a set time frame in order to do so.

After joining, I found out that the 12 x 12 in 2012 group on Facebook had opened up many new connections for me with other picture book writers and the whole community is so helpful and supportive that it has been a wonderful experience so far. I am enjoying reading the many blog posts from the different published and unpublished authors who have joined this challenge along with me.

As I attempt to get my stories out of my head and typed into my computer, I am learning that it is much easier to come up with the idea for a picture book than it is to write it down. Aside from finding the right idea to run with, there are word counts to consider and deciding whether to rhyme or not to rhyme. While it is a challenge paring down my stories to more acceptable word counts, I am enjoying the process and the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a story.

Rebecca Fyfe is a wife and mother to seven children, a writer, blogger and she writes kid-related health and fitness articles for a monthly magazine. She has a BA in English and an AA in Child Development. Born and raised in California, she now resides in the United Kingdom. She is an advocate for raising healthy children and has appeared in several national magazines and has appeared on the UK morning television show Daybreak.

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

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70 Comments

  1. What an inspiration Rebecca, I hope you enjoy 12×12 and have fun writing picture books!

  2. Wow, Rebecca, truly an inspiration for us all. I bet you have a constant flow of ideas for crazy stories in your house! Good luck completing this February marathon and 12×12. Thank you for sharing.

    • lol, Joanna! My kids are definitely a source for inspiration!

      My husband and I recently took our 9 year old with us to the grocery store. She pleaded with us to get her a new toothbrush because hers was “covered in mud.” We are used to things like this happening in our house so didn’t even think twice about what she had said. We just went straight to the aisle with the toothbrushes. Then a lady came over to us saying, “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help but overhear. How does a toothbrush end up covered in mud?” It wasn’t until she asked that we realized how strange some of the stuff that goes on in our house might sound to others! lol!

  3. Wow! Rebecca you are an inspiring writer – “seven children!” my word, and one busy lady. Loved learning more about you, and all the best for the year ahead in 12x12in12.

  4. You’re so right about the idea being the easy (or easier!) part! The inspiration is fun; the work to get it right is hard. And the courage to get it out of the computer and do something with it is even harder. Best wishes–look forward to reading your work, Rebecca.

  5. Elizabeth Stevens Omlor

    Rebecca! So glad to have run into you here online! I would LOVE to have another inspirational post from you regarding time management! With two kids, two cats, and a husband, I think I have to juggle quite a bit…I thought…until I read your post…and now I feel very foolish! Great for you and all of your accomplishments!

    • I grab every free moment I can! We recently moved, but i kept my children in their schools from our former neighborhood. This means I spend 2 hours every morning on the school run (a large part of it on the bus) and then again in the afternoon going to pick them up. I bring a notebook with me and write down notes with ideas or work on whichever picture book I am currently trying to finish while I am on the bus. I use my youngest son’s naptime to exercise, and I do most of my writing in the evenings after the kids go to bed. When I need a break, I do the laundry or wash the dishes. I end up staying up too late at night though, so I am probably not managing my time as well as I could be. And my house is pretty cluttered and dusty. I let the housework slip in favor of other things, at least until the weekends. I’ve also not been adding much to my on-line shops lately (which is my work-from-home work).

  6. I’m impressed! You have seven children children and your photo could be on the cover of any magazine. Wow! It was so nice to hear your story. Doing both 12 x 12 in 2012 and the marathon is quite an undertaking. Good luck with it all and thanks for sharing with us.

    • LOL, Penny! That photo wasn’t on the cover of a magazine, but it was inside one. Actually, it’s been used in a few magazines. Slimming World magazine gave me a makeover and a photo shoot when they featured me in their magazine due to my weight loss (145+ lbs).I assure you that my day-to-day look is decidedly more casual and a bit frumpy. I wish I could keep their hair and make-up artist with me at all times!

  7. I think that is why 12 x 12 in 2012 PB Challenge has helped me so much. It is like having a goal each month and I no longer procrastinate but actually am producing books! I love it.
    I find it amazing that you do all this with seven children.
    Wishing you continued inspiration and every success.
    Best Wishes and thanks for sharing with us.

  8. *waving* Six boys and one girl here. The idea is definitely the easy part of the process. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your inspiring post. Good luck with the marathon. I am doing it too. Though, things have been crazy here, so I have not completed as many for the marathon as last year. *sigh* Good luck, Rebecca! (((hugs)))

    • *waves back at Robyn* My youngest two are my boys, and, going by the energy the two of them have, I think I’d be pulling my hair out if I had six of them! Then again, girls bring a whole host of other issues (and joys). It’s nice to be reminded that I am not the only mother of seven (and more) around. πŸ™‚

  9. Wow – seven children! You are a star! It is so lovely to get to know you a little more, after ‘meeting’ you online since the start of 12x12in12! Looking forward to travelling this journey with you too! Good luck with your writing, and fitting it in with such a busy family!

  10. Beautiful photo, Rebecca! How do you find time to write? I’m impressed with all you’ve done so far! Best wishes on all your stories!

    • Thanks, Tina! πŸ™‚ The photo is from a photo shoot for a magazine. I had a make-up artist, hair stylist and fashion consultant, so I look decidedly more glam than normal in it!

  11. The 12X12 Challenge is a nice way to connect and keep focused on those Picture Book writing goals! I’m with Elizabeth on the time management post πŸ™‚ Good Luck!

  12. Great to meet you Rebecca. I also thought that three kids was plenty to manage until you mentioned your seven- but what better inspiration for picture book content!
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

  13. How wonderful that you make up stories to tell your kids. Those are fun for everyone, because you know your children’s character.

  14. I just finished reading a lovely post from Margot Finke on Clar’s blog about how she used to make up stories for schoolchildren. When she forgot the story ending, the children would remind her how the story ended that last time she told it. Finally the teacher urged her to write the stories down, and voila – Books! So there is good precedent for getting those precious tales from the head to the paper ASAP!

    Thank you for sharing your 12 X 12 experience!

  15. you’re right – it is easier to think up ideas than get them on the page! it’s all about the process…. thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

  16. I must echo all of the “wows!” first of all! It is so impressive that you can get so much done with so much to do! I agree, the 12 X 12 is so helpful by keeping us all motivated, and discovering from each other what works. Btw, Robert Munsch who wrote The Paperbag Princess used to work with kids, and his stories came from the ones that he made up for them! Happy Writing!

  17. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Rebecca. I’m among the impressed and amazed. I share your feeling about 12 x 12 — it is so helpful to have this goal to work toward every month. Looking forward to getting to know you better as the year progresses!

  18. I agree that raising children provides wonderful inspiration for writing. I swear I constantly have holds on all kinds of PBs at the library. Still, I do find it tough to squeeze in the time to write with little ones underfoot. Rebecca, I have great admiration for you! Thanks for letting us meet her, Julie.

    • Thanks, Kirsten! I do most of my writing after the kids are in bed. It’s much more difficult to write while they are up asking me to read to them, break up fights, find lost objects, get them drinks, etc.

  19. I’ve been kinda proud of myself for taking on both the 12 x 12 and Picture Book Marathon challenges this year, but I’m not raising 7 children at the same time! Rebecca, whatever the prize is, you win! Still, between the two of us — you at the beginning of your career and me many years into mine — we’re proof that it’s never too early and never too late to get to work on making our writing dreams come true.

    • “we’re proof that it’s never too early and never too late to get to work on making our writing dreams come true.” <-Absolutely!

      Thanks, Sandy! πŸ™‚

  20. Julie Rowan-Zoch

    Guess I need the link to “How a Woman Keeps Her Sanity and Beauty While Writing, and Raising a Swarm of Seven!”

  21. Could you please email me ASAP and tell me HOW YOU DO IT? πŸ™‚ The hours slip through my fingers like wet spaghetti and I only have two kids.

    Seriously, good for you to carve out a corner of your life to follow your dream.

    Lovely post, lovely you.

    • “The hours slip through my fingers like wet spaghetti.” <- You have a way with words! That is such a great description of how it feels!

      I think my husbad thinks i spend too much time at this. He'd probably be more understanding if the hose weren't falling down around us! lol! I think he has delusions of being one of those "house proud" people, but in this house at this time of our life – so no gonna happen!

      Thanks, Renee! πŸ™‚

  22. Wow. You must be an expert juggler. Congrats on the many successes. I hope 12×12 brings you plenty more. πŸ™‚

  23. What an inspiration you are Rebecca! I’m at the same spot in my writing as you are, although I’m not raising SEVEN children. No more excuses for me. If you are making time to get those ideas out of your head and onto the page then I can do it too! Afterall, I only have three children πŸ™‚

    • LOL! That’s the same thing I use to inspire people to lose weight. If I can do it with my seven kids… lol!

      I am not organized and your house probably looks way neater than mine does, so there is definitely some things that have to be sacrificed to find the time.

      Thanks, Lisa! πŸ™‚

  24. You’re definitely an inspiration Rebecca! I agree with you, it’s so much easier to come up with the ideas then write them down.

  25. Rebecca — Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I think it is remarkable that you are writing while raising 7 children. Good luck in the 12 x 12 this year!

  26. Wow!! So great to learn more about you! So encouraging.

  27. I don’t even have kids and my days just fly by! I admire that you are able to accomplish so much while raising a large family.

  28. Wow, Rebecca! And I thought I was busy πŸ™‚ You are an inspiration – and starting the chapter book challenge on top of everything else! Good luck with your stories!

  29. Wow — totallly inspiring Rebecca! Can’t imagaine how you find time. Wish you the best of everything in the challenge. Agree, it’s easier to come up with the ideas, as opposed to getting them written down in a draft.

  30. I agree on the idea part. The challenge has given me an opportunity to test some ideas and myself. Thanks for sharing your story Rebecca. I agree – this is a very supportive group.

  31. Great to get to know you a bit more Rebecca πŸ™‚

  32. Since you’ve already read about 20 comments marveling over your time management skills, I won’t say how flabbergasted I am that you can do all that. πŸ™‚
    I think this line “As I attempt to get my stories out of my head and typed into my computer, I am learning that it is much easier to come up with the idea for a picture book than it is to write it down.” speaks volumes. You are so right, Rebecca. I hope the 12X12 helps us all get those ideas written up! Good luck!

  33. Rebecca, you sound like me… I steal as many moments as I can for writing, and I stay up too late stealing those extra ones, esp when you are on a roll. I like to take a break to do laundry or dishes too and I think of the story and where I’m stuck at while I do those chores πŸ™‚ It really works and you don’t feel guilty for not getting those chores done too… added bonus πŸ˜‰

    I enter the challenges to push myself too… must have the challenge or I just can’t get things done. It keeps me motivated πŸ™‚

    I’ve always wanted 8 children, but am thankful I was able to get my 4 πŸ™‚ What blessings <3

    Love,
    Denise of Ingleside, PEI

  34. Rebecca, do you wear a cape? Because you ARE Wonder Woman! I’m so impressed by all that you do. And if your own kids enjoy your stories, I’m sure plenty of other kids will enjoy them too. Good luck with the challenge!

  35. Great interview. We’ll just call you Wonder Woman!

  36. Rebecca, ditto on what has been said before … about your houseful of children, about the stories you tell that have to find (with difficulty) their place on the page, and time management.
    We brought up four daughters and now I am living my life between home with my husband one week, and living at my father’s house as his caregiver the next – back and forth. But I’m trying to write, and 12×12 in 2012 is helping me to keep at it.
    Life will always throw challenges at us. I believe that if we find our peace of mind in writing, then we must find a way to nurture that creative part of us.
    I am not on Facebook and realize I am probably missing out on the community that could be encouragement I need, especially since I don’t have local writing friends, but I’m plodding along. Reading stories like yours helps. πŸ™‚

    Thanks Rebecca, and Julie, and I wish you much success as 12×12 progresses.

  37. Julie, thank you so much for this awesome guest post!
    Rebecca…so nice to meet you. πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing some of your journey with us. Julie’s 12 x 12 has been a wonderful tool for many of us who needed that disciplined direction…although with 7 children, I’m sure you have mastered that already! When my children were little, I also made up stories…I did write some of them down and put them away in boxes or closets. Now, because of 12 x 12 (after a 30 year hiatus) I’m writing them all down…and then some…and plan to take them to the next level. πŸ™‚
    Look forward to visiting with you on your blog!

  38. Quote – “it is much easier to come up with the idea for a picture book than it is to write it down. ” Wow. Rebecca, you are telling my tale as well. I have told countless stories to children, nephews, nieces, and fifth-graders; invented numberless characters, who are roaming in my head still. They long to escape, and appear on paper (and screen). Setting goals is the only way, and underneath THAT first step is attaching yourself to accountability partners. That’s the beauty of 12 x 12 in 2012 and other similar group challenges like forums and contests. Thanks for the affirmation.

  39. Great post Ms. Hedlund and Ms. Fyfe! I think what you said is true – it’s easier to get an idea than to actually write it out.
    WOW! Seven kids! I think having one sister is enough! πŸ˜‰
    Erik

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