For many writers, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a month-long commitment to creativity wherein writers turn off their inner critics and pound out a complete 50,000-word novel in 30 days. I’ve seen the results, and it’s nothing short of amazing. A self-imposed deadline can be very motivating, especially when shared with others!
Alas, how could picture-book writers join in the fun and enthusiasm? I suppose you could try to hammer out 100 500-word picture books in a month, but writing 100 different stories, even if they’re short, is a very different beast than writing just one long one. It may not take long to write the first draft of a picture book, but it can take a very long time to find one really great picture-book idea (and we won’t even talk about revisions!).
Last February, I participated in a month-long picture-book writing marathon, where we challenged ourselves to write 26 picture books in 28 days, and it was a fantastic experience. In fact, two manuscripts from that experience are very close to being final drafts ready for submission. Of course, that means there were 24 that weren’t so great, ranging from “might be worth working on” to “total stinkers” (lots more in that category, to be sure), but still, I feel it was well worth the time–and a ton of fun!
Perhaps an even better idea, and certainly less intimidating now that I’ve done the picture-book marathon, is Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). Sign up starts today, right here!
If you’ve ever even thought about writing picture books, I urge you to try this challenge! So far, almost 300 people have signed up, so there will be camaraderie. Tara will feature daily inspiration and guest bloggers to help keep us going. And, as if that wasn’t enough, there will be PRIZES: signed books, picture-book manuscript critiques, original art by picture-book illustrators, book jewelry, hand-made journals, vintage children’s books, and feedback from one of three literary agents!
I’ll hope you’ll join me, Tara, and hundreds of other picture books writers for this year’s PiBoIdMo. Please let me know in the comments if you’re participating!