A while back, I had the honor of being interviewed on Sandi Hershenson’s blog, so I am thrilled to return the favor today and have Sandi for our Tuesday 12 x 12 in 2012 author this week. Sandi is a very generous member of our community, and we’ve enjoyed watching her blaze the trail for us in digital publishing. She has not one, but TWO ebooks published with uTales. She’s also shared her experience visiting schools with digital books. Please give Sandi a warm welcome!

I am thrilled to be a guest author on Julie’s blog!  Julie has been quite an inspiration to writers all over the world, myself included.  Thank you Julie for this opportunity!

12 x 12 has been quite a journey for me.  I began the year with the motivation of a rocket ship going into space.  I had more ideas than I could keep up with, and I was writing every single day . . . ALL DAY.  I loved the fact that I had finally found other people in the world like me–those who have stories to share and enjoy the process of sharing them.

Around May, however, things began to change for me.  I started to become frustrated with my writing.  The ideas that I thought were so fantastic back in February felt dry and lifeless—not story worthy.  I was forcing myself to sit at the computer to write, and I was not happy with what I was writing.  On one hand, I knew that I needed a break, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to back out on my commitment to 12 x 12.

Taking a break won out.  As a writer I believe that taking a break is important.  Our brains need time to reenergize.  For myself, if I am not happy with what I am writing it becomes a chore—just like folding the laundry that I so much hate to do.  I end up writing words that lack umph and meaning.  To me, that is counter productive, and I know that I have to be in the mindset to truly write work that I can be proud of.

This post is the first thing that I have written since May.  The click of the keys beneath my fingers sounds comforting.  Maybe this post will be the impetus for me to pull out one of those ideas that felt so drab in May and to bring it to life.  The great part about 12 x 12 is that I know when I am ready to return, I have a huge group of people who will be there to cheer me on.

I wish all of the 12 x 12ers the best as you continue writing in 2012 and beyond.  I look forward to seeing all of your names on the shelves someday!

Sandi Hershenson lives in suburban Los Angeles with her husband and four daughters.  Sandi is the author of both Annie and Me, and The Boy Who Cried Shmutz (both titles can be found at www.utales.com), as well as the blog, The Write Stuff (http://thewritestuff-sandi.blogspot.com/). 

Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, ebooks, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,



  1. Hi Sandi! I think you’re totally allowed to take a break when you spend the first months of the year writing like a rocket. Also when it becomes a chore. (And, um, also when all of your kids are suddenly out of school!)

  2. Sandi- I can totally identify. I’m going through the doldrums, too. I think we need to just tie ourselves to the mast, fortify with chocolate and keep the faith that when the winds freshen, our pens (or keyboards) will be ready.

  3. Sandi! It’s so great to see you — I confess I’ve missed you. I can thoroughly understand the need for a break, though. There’s no point forcing yourself to write and frustrating yourself in the process. When the time is right, you’ll find fresh ideas and fresh energy to write about them! All the best to you!

    • Sandi Hershenson

      Thank you Beth. I have missed it too, but I am finding that right now I am being a better parent by taking the time to refocus. Parenting always has to be the #1 priority. I’ll be back. . . don’t worry. Once a writer, always a writer!

  4. Writing should never be a chore. I’m glad that you were able to take a break and not beat yourself up over it.

  5. Sandi…wonderful post. I totally agree with you, when you need a break you must take one. Writing should flow out of you not be forced. Best wishes with the rest of the 12 x 12 challenge. 🙂

  6. It’s good to know all writers struggle with dryness, Sandi. I’m almost fearful of putting it aside for a short time, in case I lose the momentum. I can see how it would bring new life into our craft. Thanks for the encouragement,

  7. Sandi Hershenson

    You are welcome Jarm. As long as the ideas are flowing and you feel like you are producing work that you can be proud of. . . go for it! If you do lose that momentum, take some time for you and you will have new experiences to inspire new stories.

  8. Sandi, glad you can take a summer break and get refreshed. Sometimes my writing comes in spurts as well. Keep reading inspiring posts and testimonials and that will help lift your spirit!

  9. Hi Sandi! What a great post. I’m like you — I just can’t sit down and force myself to write. I know a lot of books give the advice to “write every day” but I really need an idea that I love and believe in. I hope your period of rest brings you back with renewed energy.

  10. Sandi, the break had to be invigorating! It’s always good to have one when you feel you need it. I love to write every day, but I know some folks cannot live by that motto. I know you’ll have lots of fun stories inside your head now. Yippee!!!! Good luck with the rest of 12 x 12. *waves peace sign*

  11. Great post! I usually write at the beginning and end of each month for 12×12, but I write whenever I feel like writing (which I doing right now!).

  12. Hi Sandi, I too felt a bit that way in May. I wrote poetry all month for the April challenge and had a little writer’s block. I think it’s good to take breaks like you said. Best of luck turning your May ideas into work you love.

  13. Sandi, thanks for such an honest assessment. I think 12 x 12 has provided has provided so many of us with new opportunities and successes, even if they aren’t picture books. (Note: No July draft is in the works.) I agree that the community, networking and encouragement are key.

  14. I am glad to hear this may have given you the jump start that you needed! Congrats on your books!

  15. I am the president of the Break-Taking Club. That’s because I write for an hour a day. One hour. Sixty minutes. At the end of the time (and yes, I set a timer), I stop, even if I’m in the middle of a word. That way, I always know I can sit down again tomorrow and pick up where I left off.

  16. It’s important to know your “writer” self and not force things. I think it was smart of you to do what was best for you. Breaks are part of the process too. Good luck with whatever you decide to do next, Sandi! 🙂

  17. I’m always wishing I had “more” time to write…because there are so many other things that need to be done in each day. But I really appreciate you sharing your need to take a break, Sandi…and I applaud you for doing it. Thank you for a great interview, Julie…it is really helpful to hear how other writers handle the obstacles they encounter on this journey.:)

  18. Sandi, congratulations on your uTales success. Two ebooks is a wonderful accomplishment! As far as taking a break, I know what you mean. Sometimes those creative juices just dry up! I am appreciate of your post. It helps to know that other writers are going through the same struggles that I am. Thank goodness for our connections through 12 x 12….they inspire me to be in the writing community even when I’m not at the top of my personal writing game. It is thrilling to hear of other’s successes…finding an agent, selling a book, debuting a book! It’s just plain fun.
    Thanks again to Julie for creating this amazing group for us.

  19. I understand the need to just take a break. I don’t write as often as I would like, or should, but life has its demands and it’s hard to be creative when caregiving, then home a week to “rest” but not really … (and this week home I’m fighting an upper respiratory something)

    I have not written a draft every month either, missed one, and the idea I have for this month simply has not found its way into words to put down on paper. I’m actually beginning to think I should accept having pulled together five drafts and leave it at that for the year. But that feels like quitting … and I don’t believe writers can truly quit and be happy inside. Can they?

    Sandi, thanks for this honest post. I believe you will pick up momentum again soon. 🙂

  20. Thanks, Sandi. I think many 12x12ers are taking some kind of break this summer. You have to feed the soul as well as the page. I hope you find (and feel) many exciting things to write about in the coming months.

  21. Sandi, your post made me think of my garden in this ravaging heat…started out so well in the spring, which was mild and green here, but then the heat and dryness of June and July were terrible. Dry spells are natural, and come…but will cease. Hope your renewed motivation brings a productive time of writing. – Damon Dean

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