This post from today’s 12 x 12 author Vivian Kirkfield took my breath away! Look how much she has accomplished over the past year! I am both honored and humbled that 12 x 12 was among sparks that lit her creative bonfire. Vivian’s experience epitomizes everything I aim and hope for with 12 x 12 — that people find a safe place to learn, become part of a caring community and stretch themselves as writers. I hope you enjoy her story as much as I did. Welcome Vivian!
I love books! As a young child, I was small in stature and people would stare at what looked like a walking stack of books when I left the library. This obsession love for books of any genre continued throughout my life. To be perfectly honest though, picture books had me from the first page turn.
As a kindergarten and Head Start teacher, I read picture books with my students. When I became a mom, my children might not have had all of the newest and most popular toys…but they ALWAYS had lots of picture books. And I enjoyed scribbling stories for them as we waited at the doctor’s office or sat in the car on long road trips. Sadly, most of those stories were lost during our many moves…and not one of those stories was ever submitted.
Fast forward to 2012…through a stroke of luck/karma/destiny…I connected with Julie Hedlund…discovered 12×12…and embarked on a year of sheer bliss and happiness. And 12×12 in 2013 is even more supercalifragilisticexpealidocious!
For me, there is a magical quality surrounding 12×12. Miraculous things occur:
- DIRECTION AND GUIDANCE: I now know where I am headed (most of the time…and my husband might disagree). I write every day (picture book stories in addition to checks to pay the bills). This year, as a Golden Level Member, I’m able to submit to agents without the angst and anxiety of finding them myself…although now, because of 12×12, I know I can do that.
- COMMUNITY AND RESOURCES: Being part of this group is like coming home…there is support and encouragement from other members. I can honestly say I’ve never been part of a more generous group of people. I even found my amazing online international critique group here (big wave to Hannah, Tina, Diane, Carrie and Allie). The 12×12 Facebook page is a treasure trove of information about query letters and agent submission and contests and everything writing picture books. If you have a question, ask it…someone will provide an answer. If you have a problem…post it…someone will offer a solution. And everyone really CARES…about each other…and everyone is genuinely happy when success comes knocking at someone’s door/mailbox. There is a sharing of knowledge, expertise and LOVE that shines through each comment.
In September of 2010, I published a book to help parents and teachers. I wanted to get it ‘out there’ in social media-land even though I always shrank (and being so small, I have no inches to spare) from technology. I set up an author website. I started a parenting blog. I got active on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Pinterest…and I’m still hobbling along learning every day.
In 2012, because of 12×12, I wrote twelve picture book drafts, entered several writing challenges and contests, did PiBoIdMo and won Emma Walton Hamilton’s Just Write For Kids online picture book writing course (thank you, Julie and Emma!). Best of all, I connected with amazing people and will be speaking at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore this May…because of one of those connections.
So, what does 12×12 have in store for me this year? I’ve already written two picture book drafts. I submitted my first-ever picture book query in January and clicked ‘send’ for my first-ever picture book manuscript submission in February. I also submitted a story for the Highlights Fiction Contest. I’m polishing up a new picture book story and will be submitting it to agent Tricia Lawrence later this month, as well as to the SCBWI Barbara Karlin Grant competition.
The best thing is that I am having so much fun. When I retired this past December, my younger son told me, “Mom, you are turning to the next page in the book of your life.” 12×12 is definitely a very important chapter in that book!
Vivian Kirkfield is an educator and mom. Her mission: help children become lovers of books and reading and empower parents with tools and tactics that make the difficult job of parenting a little easier and a lot more fun. She believes that one of the most important tasks of parenthood is to read with children. When she is not hiking and fly-fishing in the Colorado Rockies with her husband of 45 years, Vivian is reading, crafting and cooking with local kindergarten classes…and writing picture book stories, of course.Categories: 12 x 12, Authors, Books, Friendship, Guest Blogging, Parenting, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Queries, SCBWI, Social Media, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12, Authors, Books, Children's Books, Friendship, Goals, Guest Blogging, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Queries, SCBWI, Social Media, Works in Progress, Writing