While much of the U.S. is focusing on the next election cycle in November, many writers are preparing for our own grueling test: National Novel Writing Month (NaNo). I join another set of writers in a different challenge: Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo).
Picture book writer Tara Lazar (author of the upcoming THE MONSTORE, I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK, and LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD) started PiBoIdMo on her own in 2008 and launched it publicly in 2009. Now involving more than 600 participants, the event includes an impressive slate of guest bloggers and a slew of prizes -- critiques, art, and more The challenge is the same: Generate 30 new picture book ideas in 30 days.
I took part last year, and although I fell short with only 14 ideas, I count it as the turning point for me in writing picture books. I had written two previously (one of which I'm happy will never see the light of day), and wanted to try more, but I had been waiting for ideas to hit me in the head. PiBoIdMo helped me realize that if I want ideas, I have to chase them down instead of waiting.
Idea generation is a muscle -- you have to use it, and once you do, you get stronger.
Only one of my ideas last year turned into a finished manuscript, but I have written several others from new ideas in that time.
I'm confident that I'll do better this year -- my goal is focused on higher concept, more commercial ideas. But getting ready for PiBoIdMo is a bit different than gearing up for NaNo -- with NaNo, it's all about the preparation. With PiBoIdMo, once you start thinking about it, the ideas themselves start flowing.
Are you getting ready for NaNo? Interested in trying PiBoIdMo? If you participated in the past, what results did you get -- ideas, a draft, a finished manuscript, a polished or published book?