On January 16 of this year I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 in 2016. The goal for members is to write a picture book draft each month so that by the end of this year we will each have twelve completed drafts or manuscripts, hence, twelve by twelve. There’s no penalty if we don’t manage it but there is a huge amount and variety of encouragement to help us get there. I’m happy I did this for myself.
I participated when Julie first concocted the idea and made it public for 2012, the year she decided she needed accountability writing friends who would join her in this challenge she had set for herself to push forward with the ideas she had come up with during Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo. 12×12 (twelve by twelve) has grown into an amazing program during the years since, with hundreds of participants, and I am very glad I signed on for 2016. Three weeks in and I’ve learned a lot already. I’m among a group of writers who encourage and learn from one another (as well as learning from professionals who join in at certain times), plus – I might be in a small critique group soon.
There is still a little time left should anyone else want to join 12×12 for this year before the door is closed. I can’t recall exactly when that is but I think you have at least another week if you’re interested.
Now I want to share with you a quote someone in 12 x 12 brought to our attention for encouragement. Do you know Ira Glass? Well, he said the following – and I have it written exactly as he said it:
“Nobody tells people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me … is that all of us who do creative work, like y’know we get into it and we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there’s a gap. That for the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good, okay? It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, your taste is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. Y’know what I mean? A lot of people never get past that phase and a lot of people at that point they quit. And the thing I would just like to say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. It didn’t have the special thing that we wanted it to have and the thing what to do is … Everybody goes through that. And for you to go through it, going through it right now, if you’re just getting out of that phase you’ve got to know it’s totally normal and the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you’re going to finish one story. Because it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you’re actually going to catch up and close that gap. And your work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions. In my case, like I took longer to figure out how to do this than anybody I’ve ever met. It takes awhile. It’s going to take you awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. And you just have to fight your way through that. Okay?” – Ira Glass
What do you think of this advice? What has been your experience?
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂