12 x 12 in 2012: Picture Book Writer’s Party!

julie hedlund, vivian kirkfield

Have any of you read “The Celestine Prophecy”?  Author James Redfield talks about ‘synchronicity’…a term first used in the 1920’s by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.  Redfield explains that coincidences have a meaning personal to those who experience them.

Late last year, one of my blogging buddies, Nancy over at Spirit Lights the Way, suggested I check out a Friday linky of Picture Book Reviews.  I hurried over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday…and I’ve happily been there every Friday since then!  Susanna also hosts writing contests and writing prompts that encourage us to express our creativity.

Connecting with an amazing kid-lit community that followed Susanna’s blog, I met dozens of wonderful writers (one of whom has a birthday today…Happy Birthday, Beth!!!!), illustrators, librarians, teachers, moms…one of those was Julie Hedlund.  It turns out that Julie had just organized a challenge called 12×12 in 2012…write a picture book draft every month of the coming year.

My love affair with picture books began over sixty years ago, but I had put away my picture book writing when I started working on my book for parents and teachers, “Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.   Heart beating like a rock-band drummer, I immediately signed up.

And now the year is almost over…so it is definitely party-time!  I know WE are all ready!

I have completed twelve picture book drafts…twelve more than I would have had if not for Julie Hedlund!  Two or three have been critiqued and polished (hopefully enough) and will be submitted to publishers/editors shortly.

  1. Caroline’s Flower-Sprigged Hat
  2. Whom Do I Love?
  3. The Boots of Dylan McGee
  4. The Tomato Turner
  5. No Brother for My Birthday
  6. Grandma’s Visit
  7. Confessions of the Tomato Turner
  8. Hugs Are Not For Sale
  9. How Can I Learn How to Snow
  10. The Witches of Fairy Top Hill
  11. Where Is Buddy?
  12. Further Adventures of The Tomato Turner

Julie’s blog also provides guest posts by writers, illustrators, editors and others who love children and books…each sharing a journey that motivates and teaches.  I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that we couldn’t have done it without her.

I also have thirty picture book ideas, generated during Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo…an amazing challenge in November that I recommend to anyone who has ever thought of writing a picture book or to anyone who has dozens of published picture books…the information and inspiration gained by reading the guest posts is invaluable!

This year has been a joyous one for me…due, in large part, to my immersion in Julie’s picture book writing challenge.  It’s kind of like a picture book party where I am always dancing around, scribbling story titles, character names and plot ideas…what fun!

I will be retiring from my ‘day’ job on December 31…lots more time for picture book writing, I’m sure!  I’ll be hopping aboard the 12×12 in 2013 train…I’m looking forward to continuing this picture book writing journey…with Julie Hedlund as the engineer!

60 thoughts on “12 x 12 in 2012: Picture Book Writer’s Party!

    • Jarm…thank you for your lovely wishes!  I know this is the right decision for me…sometimes we put things like this off, thinking we will work a little more, a little more, a little more…and all of a sudden, we are much older and not able to do the things we need to do…I don’t want that to happen to me. 😉


  1. Wow, I just loved reading those tantalizing title, Vivian. I am so excited about all the extra time you will have to write once you retire! Very glad to be on this path with you.


  2. I hope I was allowed to laugh – love the titles you shared, esp. The Tomato Turner, and then…The Confessions of! I hope we get to meet sometime soon – may just have to make it down to the Springs so I can hang with you and Stacey! I feel so lucky that we’ve been in this together – her’s to 2013!


  3. What an amazing year you have had, Vivian! I love all your titles! Caroline’s Flower-Sprigged Hat and The Witches Of Fairy Top Hill (which I’ve read at least a version of if not the final or complete!) sound especially enticing to me! I’m so very glad you stopped by PPBF that day! It has been a joy getting to know you! 🙂


    • Right back at you, Susanna!  I know if it hadn’t been for your blog…and Julie’s…I would not have been on this amazing path.:)  Caroline’s Flower-Sprigged Hat is a story about my daughter (Caroline) and an adventure she (or should I say, her hat) had when she was about 5 years old.Hope Beth’s birthday hunt was successful. 🙂


  4. Oh, it sounds like 2013 will be a great year for you. I’m so glad we connected through 12×12. I’m intrigued by Further Adventures of the Tomato Turner. Looking forward to more great things from you.


    • I’m so happy we have connected also, Hannah! There were too many years during which I knew a lot of very nice people…but they weren’t picture book writers.:) Now I feel like I am surrounded by the ‘warm fuzzies’ of people who are on a similar path…and who encourage each other. 🙂
      In the ‘Further Adventures of the Tomato Turner’…Peter’s big wheels is destroyed by the garbage truck (because he forgot to put it away) and he had to find a way to earn money to pay for a new bike. 🙂


    • Romelle…when it is ready for ‘critiquing’…I’d be happy to let you look at it to let me know what you think. 🙂 I appreciate you stopping by…I am going to enjoy having more time…maybe I can get back to reading the blogs of others that I love (like yours). 🙂


    • It’s funny, Jennifer…I read posts from others all about books they are publishing/submitting and events/causes/forums they participate in…and I question the import of what I have done. But then, when I make a list of the year’s accomplishments, I feel a lot better. 🙂
      I can’t decide if I should submit the Tomato Turner series to a magazine like Highlights (it seems to me very much what they print)…or to an editor/publisher as 3 picture books. 🙂 Each book spotlights an important life lesson.


  5. Great idea to post the titles! And the fact that you have two polished and ready to go–super impressive. I’m a new blogger so I’m glad I found you on the 12×12 linky links.


    • Thanks so much, Carrie!  I thought I’d have part of today to read everyone’s 12×12 post…but my husband ended up in the ER this morning…so my plans went out the window.  Fortunately, everything is ok…but now I am behind again…can’t wait to be able to call those 4 days of work my own. 🙂    


  6. Rock band drummer?? You need to be in my video next year! 🙂

    Seriously, Vivian, you are so generous of spirit and support. It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know you this year. I’m glad we Internet-connected our way to each other. I also LOVE the titles for your manuscripts. I am terrible with titles, so I may have to consult you on a few of mine.

    Here’s to another great writing year in 2013!


    • It’s been a year of bliss for me, Julie…and you have been such a large part of that. 🙂  Glad you like the titles…I’m excited for 2013…it looks like it is going to be quite an exciting year for all of us!   


  7. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us this year, Vivian. I’m still undecided about joining in the 12x12x13 because I just didn’t get that many ideas what with my brother dying and all that. but to see how the kidlit community is so understanding and supportive just brings me to tears with it’s goodness. How could I not be a part of it. I missed out last year.

    Congrats on all your drafts and on your retirement starting in Dec 31st to write full time. I know you won’t regret your decision. I am so glad I was one of your connections you made from following Susanna’s blog. 🙂


    • 12×12 has been a joy…in large part because of all of the amazing people like YOU, Clar! Sadness and tragedy are, unfortunately, a large part of life…I’m so sorry for your loss.  We all benefited from your participation.:)  


    • Oh my, Courtney…those are big shoes I will have to fill, I think.  The ‘great’ Vivian…sounds like a mind-control illusionist. 🙂  The best thing for me has been to connect with all of you. 🙂  


  8. Pingback: I’m on board the 12×12 writing locomotive! « Mum-Mum's the Word

  9. Pingback: JULIE HEDLUND TELLS THE TRUTH! « artblog4you

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