January 2012. It seems like ages ago. However, I vividly remember sitting down and bringing to life my first manuscript for the 12x12 Challenge. Since then that manuscript has evolved through critiques at Gotham Writers Workshop, revisions suggested by my Critique Group, suggestions made at WriteOnCon and it has been submitted to an agent. It to this date is one of my favorites.
Fast forward almost a year and I have 11 total (I haven't gotten around to my 12th) manuscripts! Now some of them were first drafts that will probably never see life outside of a file folder on my laptop. Others are great concepts that need some more TLC before they are considered anything. One is better suited for a wordless picture book (don't ask! I don't illustrate!). But each manuscript represents a step on my creative journey.
In addition to the manuscripts, I have gathered such a wonderful circle of friends on this journey...some of whom I was able to meet in person (all I can say is next time I see Julie we TOTALLY need to go to a karaoke bar!) I have seen my blog grow from a hand-full of Followers to 128! And I have even launched my new business creating Teacher's Guides for Picture Books!
So, as I look to 2013 I might not have 12 totally polished masterpieces. I might not have an agent. I might not be in Publisher's Marketplace. But I have grown and I owe a lot of that growth to 12x12 and its amazing community.
Thank you for the memories, but thank you also for the encouragement, confidence and support that will surely help me take even more steps in the year to come!
Speaking of memories, Twyla's Chapter 4: Harness Your Memory, has some wonderful exercises to help you do just that. Enjoy!
- Name that muse. Associate a series of objects with something you are familiar and with similar meaning,e.g. Urania sounds like Uranus, hence associated with astronomy. I often use this method to remember a list of facts.
- Trust your muscle memory. Learn to train your muscle memory, your ability to retain and repeat motion. Does "butt in chair" count here?
- Mining your memory in a photograph. Take a family picture, any picture, and study it. What do you see in it that is indisputably similar to your life today, to the person you’ve become? What is vaguely similar? What bears no resemblance or suggests nothing memorable? The goal is to connect with something old so it becomes new. Look and imagine.