March 12 X 12 Challenge Complete!

My March 12 X 12 Challenge draft is complete, and I am pleased with the results. I approached this draft mindful of Tamson Weston ‘s advice from the pitch contest. A PiBoIdMo idea was tempting me, but I forced myself to write the book pitch first. Actually, I wrote several pitches, and they helped focus my ideas for a unique hook. I researched the hook idea, and read 15-20 picture books that had similar elements of style and content. Halfway through my research I was truly itching to get the story on paper -but I resisted! I let dialogue threads, characters and settings roll around in my mind and sort themselves out. Then unexpectedly I woke up at 2:30 AM in mid-March and the first page was as clear as day.  I scurried to my laptop, where I dashed out a first draft.  Although my typos were plentiful, the core of my draft had a solid start.

Another March highlight was appearing as a video guest on No Water River.  My thanks to Renee LaTulippe for the fun invitation, her silly snickerview, and an entomological poem challenge!  Renee is featuring a terrific lineup of poets for April 2012 Poetry Month, so please to check out NWR next month.

My April goal, in addition to producing a new picture book draft, is to encourage you to Light It Up Blue and shine a light on autism awareness.   Light It Up Blue is a global initiative by Autism Speaks to raise awareness about autism. Iconic international landmarks will Light It Up Blue on April 2, 2012 for World Autism Awareness Day.  Please wear a blue shirt, or put a blue bulb in your porch light to support the campaign!


About Cathy Ballou Mealey

Children's book author, repped by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, alumna, autism advocate, book reviewer. Reach me via email at or Twitter @catballoumealey
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16 Responses to March 12 X 12 Challenge Complete!

  1. Cathy, you have gotten so much accomplished. I enjoyed listening to your process and your refraining from writing until you finished your research. I notice you are blogging less and really focusing on your writing. I need to rearrange my priorities. Congratulations.

    I wrote a few sentences about “Light It Up Blue at the end of my PPB on Friday as a heads up. But, plan to do something more on Monday, and have a number of new books I plan to review during the month. Saw the director of Autism Speaks on CBS this morning. Boy, had the CDC got people talking — that’s good.

  2. Hi Pat – Thanks for your nice comment and your support of “Light It Up Blue.” The newly announced CDC rates are indeed alarming: 1 in 88 children, 1 in 54 boys. At that rate of increase the rate will become 1 out of every 4 children in another 10 years – a frightening epidemic for sure.

    Best of luck on your April 12 X 12 draft!

  3. Congratulations on all that you have done! My sister and I will be wearing blue to school on Monday! 🙂

    • That’s terrific Eric – thank you! Our local school will give a special sticker to each student who wears blue tomorrow to support autism awareness. It is a great community building event for everyone!

  4. izatrapani1 says:

    Wow! Good for you, Cathy for being so motivated and productive! May the months ahead be equally inspiring. And I, too, will wear blue!

  5. Cathy, you are so disciplined! I am the queen of, “idea strikes rush to write it down realize it isn’t quite going anywhere put it away for awhile and maybe or maybe not ever get back to it” so I admire your ability to do everything right 🙂

    • Well Susanna, I’m not sure if I have done it ‘right’ but I wanted to try something different to see if I could apply the advice Ms. Weston offered. It was certainly difficult NOT to jot down my ideas. Please note I still haven’t mustered the gumption to submit a pitch to the “Would You Read It” feature on your blog!

  6. Julie says:

    Wearing blue today! So glad you finished your March draft AND that the Tamson Weston pitch contest helped you. It did me too!

  7. Julie – all the 12 X 12 posts have helped me a great deal! Just staying inspired and on track post-PiBoIdMo has been incredible. The pitch post information was new to me and conveniently bite sized for quick consumption. I had to give it a whirl! Thanks for the blue support and for stopping by with a comment!

  8. Joanna says:

    Cathy, I am so impressed that you held off, researched and planned before launching into your manuscript!

    I went blue yesterday, too!

  9. Hannah Holt says:

    I wore blue yesterday, but didn’t read your post ’til now. The recent National Geographic article on identical twins had some new information about autism (or at least new to me). So in identical twin pairs, one twin might have autism while the other may not. However, if one twin has autism, then both are usually somewhere on the spectrum. More research can only help us understand, how environmental factors affect autism.

    I’m also inspired by your thoughtful approach to manuscript drafting. You’re an inspiration!

  10. Hannah – Given your current state of moving households I’m flat-out impressed that you’re able to read blogs! And comment too!

    The NG article was great. So glad they are really digging into environmental and genetic factors.

    Truth be told, I probably have blue jeans on 98% of the time, but yesterday I color coordinated with a blue sweater too ;-D. Whatever you wore blue, that counts for sure. Thanks!

  11. clarbojahn says:

    I’m just now catching up a little on blog reading. I expect my grandson any minute and won’t do any more after that. Or very little.
    It amazes me how much the whole 12X12 community is getting done. I am impressed with your restraint and methodology of writing your draft. I have two tossed in the trash pail and a third I’m researching. There is one I’m giving a second go round with my critique group. But even I know It’s not stellar only good. They all need to be stellar to pass editors and agents these days.

    Good luck with your further endeavors. 🙂

    • Clar – So exciting that a grandchild is arriving. Enjoy! Hope he inspires you as you write and revise your 12 X 12’s. It’s been a terrific group for creative ideas and motivation! Thanks for dropping by bildebok!

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