I'm Crashing the 12 x 12 Party

My fellow members of the 12x12 in 2012 challenge (the goal is to write 12 picture books in 12 months in 2012) are checking in and joining the rollicking half-way point blog party. I'm crashing this party, because I haven't completed my six manuscripts. I'm over half way through the half way goal, so that counts for something, right?

Here are some excuses. The past six months, I've been busy:

  • Doing other creative work (illustrations for the picture book I've been working on for ages, monthly comics for AltDaily.com, and paintings for two art shows); 
  • Doing paid work (a commission or two, including an infographic on oil prices); 
  • Volunteering (organizing a used book sale and reading kids books at a homeless shelter each month)
  • Parenting (and housekeeping, yard work, etc.); 
  • Blogging; and 
  • OK, having fun (women's surf camp, some travel, catching up on Season 1 of Downton Abbey).
But ultimately, I don't have any excuses. Every day we make choices about what to do with our time. I can't honestly say that every hour of each day was filled with productive or necessary activities.* If something is a priority, people make the time to do it. For example, my law school roommate Christina Meldrum wrote an amazing YA novel, Madapple, while she was a full-time corporate attorney, by writing in the pre-dawn hours. She did well enough that she is now a full-time author with a second novel published, Amaryllis in Blueberry (also excellent).

So I'm using this post to remind myself that I can and will make the choice to spend just 10 or 20 minutes a day on a picture book manuscript. Though I like having long uninterrupted times to create, my life doesn't work that way. So I'll snatch a few minutes here and there and hopefully I can report back at the end of the year that I have completed all 12 manuscripts.

Cheers to all 12 x 12'ers, whether you are on track or not!

*(P.S. I'm not advocating that we should fill every minute of the day with productive or necessary activities. I'm a firm believer in the importance of idleness and downtime as a fount of creativity. The New York Times recently had a great article about how much of our "busyness" is self-imposed and counterproductive.)