Finally! A Tuesday 12 x 12 author who loves sleep as much as I do! I always thought I was the only one who was rabid about getting enough sleep. Meet Teresa Robeson, who has brought so much humor and heart to the 12 x 12 challenge (AND a recipe for vodka creamsicles!). Just read her bio at the end of this post and you’ll have a good sense of how lucky we 12 x 12 folks are to get to steep in her enthusiasm and energy every day. Please welcome Teresa!
Once upon a time, a young girl loved writing and drawing so much that her mother urged her to take creative writing or fine arts at university. But like any cranky kid, she didn’t listen to her mom and tried to do a science degree instead.
Fast forward a few years – while panicking about turning 30, the girl decided to get serious about writing. So she took a writing-for-children course and wrote what she thought was a nice picture book based on autobiographical material. Turns out it was more of a short-story, and while Ladybug Magazine published it, the girl thought she was a failure as a picture book writer and moved on.
You might think this was the end of the story, but fast forward again a bunch more years, and this girl, now no longer young, had her interest in writing PBs renewed when she came across Paula Yoo’s NaPiBoWriWee. Sometime thereafter, she “met” Julie Hedlund at Write-On Con and Verla Kay, and the rest is 12×12 history! The end.
Kidding. But I’ll stop talking about myself in the third person.
I joined 12×12 because it sounded like what I needed after doing NaPiBoWriWee. So far, 12×12 has exceeded my expectations. Through it, I have become a part of the most amazing critique group (love you ladies – Kristen, Elaine, Victoria, Yvonne, Renee, and Sylvia!), written 3 drafts and polished a couple of old ones, submitted to the three scheduled agents, and made friends with a bunch of supportive and talented writers.
I usually don’t feel qualified to give people advice, but you’re probably here to read some and not just to see me ramble on about myself. LOL! Three things have worked well for me in my so-called writing career. I want to share them with my fellow PB-Padawans:
1) Get thee to a critique group. I can’t believe I wrote (on and off) for 20 years without one. Now I have three and they are my guiding lights, my partners in crime, and my cheerleaders extraordinaire! I was invited to join these critique groups by invitation via a Gotham Writer’s Workshop class, the local SCBWI chapter, and the 12×12 Challenge. Whether you’re already part of one or need to start one yourself, I recommend the book “The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide” by Becky Levine to help guide you.
2) Don’t believe the lies and excuses you tell yourself about why you can’t spend more time writing. I love my sleep. I used to joke that the top three things I love most are my family, food, and sleep, not necessarily in that order. I claimed that I couldn’t give up sleep to write like professional writers urged us to do. This year, with the big Five-Oh breathing down my neck, I decided that it was time to stop making excuses. I started getting up 1.5 hours earlier than I used to and, holy cow, I got so much more writing in! It’s apparently decent writing too because I’ve won two contests since and was a finalist in a third.
3) Never stop learning. I’ve taken classes at the Institute of Children’s Literature, Gotham Writer’s Workshop, and Indiana University Continuing Education, and am currently taking Picture Book Academy and will be taking Making Picture Book Magic in June, taught by the fabulous and talented Mira Reisberg and Susanna Hill, respectively. And, of course, read voraciously about the craft and all books in general.
Teresa grew up in Hong Kong and Vancouver but, these days, find herself in the middle of nowhere Midwest as a homeschooling mom and a wannabe-homesteader. Baking is her preferred method of procrastination but she also enjoys knitting, sewing, crocheting, making cheese and yogurt, and will soon start spinning and weaving. She was raised by Star Trek and Chinese fairy tales, and writes speculative fiction for adults and YA in addition to picture books. She has a degree in Speech Science/Linguistics that she never uses, and still wants to be an astrophysicist or opera singer when she grows up. You can find out more than you ever wanted to know about her at her webite, teresarobeson.com, or blog, Growing, Writing, and Creating.
Categories: 12 x 12, 12 x 12 Featured Author, Authors, Books, Children's Books, Goals, Guest Blogging, NaPiBoWriWee, Picture Books, SCBWI, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12, Author, Authors, Children's Books, Critique Groups, Goals, Guest Blogging, Julie Hedlund, NaPiBoWriWee, Picture Books, SCBWI, Teresa Robeson, Tuesday 12 x 12, Writing