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12 x 12 picture book writing challenge

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I was thinking of joining the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge next year. Has anyone tried this recently - what was your experience?
#1 - September 01, 2017, 10:15 AM
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 10:18 AM by Starfish »
Anita N. Amin

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This was my third year doing the 12x12 challenge, and I can absolutely say I would not be where I am without it. I am very deadline-oriented, and having an external goal helped motivate me. I also found many great critique partners, and I love the support of the Facebook group to pop in and ask questions. It's also nice to have found a community of other picture book writers so we can connect and chat about issues specific to picture books. You definitely get out of it what you put into it, but I'm a big fan!
#2 - September 01, 2017, 03:58 PM
Lisa Katzenberger
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I joined 12x12 in its inaugural year, and found my fantastic critique group through the challenge (still together after all these years).

Though I don't really keep up with the monthly challenge itself these days, I missed the camaraderie the  one year I didn't participate. So I came back for the Webinars and the friendship.

Honestly for those just starting out, it's a fabulous place to learn about the craft.

Kirsten



#3 - September 01, 2017, 04:18 PM
Kirsten W. Larson

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I absolutely agree with what Lisa and Kirsten say - it's a GREAT resource and a great challenge, especially if you are starting out writing PBs. I did it for 3 years a few years ago.

A couple of things to consider:
I don't think you can get GOLD right away. And the GOLD level is awesome with the submitting to agents option, but don't spend the $ on GOLD assuming you'll get an agent. Yes, some people do. But obviously, it still comes down to the writing, so if the agents don't connect to what you are writing, you might not hear back from them. (I know that is probably an obvious statement, but I do think some people go in with rainbow blinders on and get frustrated if they don't get responses from the agents.)

You'll get out what you put in. It's been a few years since I was there, but there was a great forum where you can network with other writers, get critiques on your first hundred words, find critique groups, and ask any question or find any answer you want. And I found the motivation to click that checkbox every month that I wrote a draft very helpful. At the time I was in, it was a Rafflecoptor and each month you had a chance to win some sort of prize. I don't know if that is the case anymore.

The three years I was a part of it, I LOVED it! Why am I no longer a part of it? After a point, when I no longer felt like a "beginner" but I wanted to take some more classes or attend retreats, I decided I could use the $ I spent on membership in other ways to improve my craft. But as Kirsten noted, I did, and still do miss the 12x12 community. And it was certainly $ well spent when I was in it. Did I get my agent through it? NO. But as Lisa said, I wouldn't be the writer I am today if 12x12 didn't help me at the point in my writing career that I needed it!

Hope that helps!
#4 - September 01, 2017, 05:08 PM

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I have been a part of 12x12 since it's inaugural year, so six years now. I agree with Debra that you get what you put into it. When I was a beginner, I found all the links people shared on craft and business really helpful along with the camaraderie. Now that I am further along in my craft and agented (though not thru 12x12), I mainly use it for popping in to get brainstorming help now and then and to share information. I do it for the camaraderie. I do watch all the webinars which I find highly valuable and are great for writers at all stages. If you are in the beginning phases I definitely recommend it. If you are further along, then it's still nice to have but if budget is a reason then probably evaluate your needs.
#5 - September 02, 2017, 04:13 PM
Flowering Minds - Children's Book Review Site
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Thank you, Lisa, Kirsten, Debra, and Darshana! I think I will look into it based on your feedback.

I will be finishing up my ICL course in the next 6 months or so, so I will definitely need a way to keep myself on a disciplined writing schedule. And I will need to find a critique group. It sounds as if 12 x 12 will help me with both of those issues.

On the other hand, I am concerned about the commitment to write one picture book a month. With twin 5-year-olds that will be hard for me. I do have a sizeable block of writing time most days now that they are in school, but one a month still sounds like a lot. Or maybe I'm just a slow writer. Is keeping up with the monthly challenge a requirement?
#6 - September 03, 2017, 06:27 AM
Anita N. Amin

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No, it's not a requirement. It's just a motivational aspect of the challenge, something to keep you motivated to squeeze in some writing every month. When I was a part of it, on the last day of the month, there was a place you could "check in" and a chance to win a prize of sorts (a critique or a book) if you wrote a rough draft that month. But no one checks up on you or kicks you out of the challenge if you don't complete it.  ;)

#7 - September 03, 2017, 08:16 AM

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Oh, then I think I will try it in 2018! Thank you!
#8 - September 06, 2017, 03:49 PM
Anita N. Amin

Angie Royce, Aspiring Children's Author
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It looks like you've already made your decision, but I'd like to chime in as a newbie!  I joined last year and I would have to agree with all of the statements above!  I've found the monthly challenge very motivating.  I have learned a bunch from the webinars about craft...truly.  The connection to other writers in various stages of work and at various levels of experience makes this forum especially valuable.  I usually stop into 12x12 first to see if others have asked the same kinds of questions.  Great resources in posts and comments and very valuable feedback, too.
#9 - Today at 12:30 PM

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Thanks, Angie! Can't wait til the beginning of the year, when I can register!
#10 - Today at 02:42 PM
Anita N. Amin

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