Sunday, December 4, 2011

PiBoIdMo Winner...C'est Moi!

What an adventure!  As you can see, this is a travel blog, yet today I'm veering off course...but not really.  I've just taken a wild and crazy ride through the children's literary world via the PiBoIdMo challenge, a.k.a Picture Book Idea Month.  And I haven't arrived at my destination yet, but sometimes the process is as important as the end result.

Although I love adventures, new sights, sounds and destinations, I have found this PB challenge to be an exciting journey of its own.  And best yet, I don't need to leave my comfy chair, or ensure my passport is up to date!

All I needed to do was to come up with 30 picture book ideas for the month of November. Sounds like an impossibility?  Well, I didn't go it alone.  I had help, in the form of other aspiring authors, and those who have lead the way...authors, illustrators and editors.  Each with their own unique point of view.

First, I experienced the wonderful camaraderie of fellow writers who, like me, adore children, and love to read and write for children. It's akin to riding with a tour bus full of people who have the same destination in mind.  We are enjoying the journey together.  No one writes in a vacuum; we need each other!  Fellow PiBoIdMo contestants, critique groups, conferences, books and seminars dedicated to the craft of writing, are all things that help us grow our passion to write children's literature.

At one point during the challenge, I was worried that others would "steal" my ideas...imagine! Not that anyone would purposely do so, of course, but someone could POSSIBLY come up with the same idea.  Diandra Mae, in her post, reminded us not to give in to negativity.  We are a diverse group of writers, with a variety of experiences and backgrounds.  There is an abundance of ideas to gather in God's world, so the chances are slim.  And if what?  I have a mind to conceive many more over the course of my lifetime, and could use a little competition anyway to hone my ideas.  Carolyn Crimi reminded us in her guest post to turn our problems into stories.  "If life gives you lemons..."

I have been stretched in PiBoIdMo to go places I never thought possible. And, I've discovered something along the way....I am a non-fiction writer and reader at heart!  No matter how many times I try to crack open a novel, I end up putting it down, and then move on.  On to a practical topic such as health, decorating, and raw foods, or maybe a historic or spiritual book: the Bible or inspirational biographies.  It must be the teacher or librarian in me.  I'm thankful for Cynthia Levinson who connected us with the Carus group of children's science and history magazines, such as "Cobblestone", using them to ignite our imagination. And Laura Crawford confirmed my passion by sharing her A-Z picture books on Thanksgiving and the American Revolution.

Even so, this challenge has drawn me into the realm of fictional picture play with ideas, words, situations and pictures.  No, to juggle them in my mind, until they land in a delightful way on the page.  I'm finding myself melding the two, fiction and non-fiction, in unique ways.  I like it! Aaron Zenz uses his children's artwork to spark PB ideas, so the idea drove me to the closet to unearth my teens early drawings.  Julian Hector cheered us with his "Tricycle Mouse", and Dianne de Las Casas reminded us that sounds can be a springboard for story writing.

Not only have I been challenged with the daily invention of ideas, but with technology as well.  I can't figure out how to grab my badge and attach it to my blog...or my post, for that matter. Or, type those links that are hidden under a name or title.  Just signing in for a comment during PiBoIdMo was daunting.  So I've come a long way, kiddies! Brenda Reeves Sturgis relieves our fears as she shared links to those who have helped her with technical inadequacies.

There is a child in each of us.  Picture Book Idea Month has expanded my horizons.  Taught me to think more like a child.  It's been fun to read fellow participants comments...upbeat, encouraging, ever the cheerleaders with their, "woots" and "woohoos" and such.  What fun it was to look at the world from a child's point of view with Liz Garton Scanlon!

Every traveler needs a guide, and ours were fabulous!  Whether they were authors, editors, or illustrators, they all led us through the month with their inspiring and informative posts.  Our mentors revealed sources for ideas, helped us navigate the mechanics of writing and gave us hints to develop our writer's platform. Thanks to Linda Ravin Lodding for giving us four creative endings to consider as we polish our manuscripts, and to Becky Levine who urged us to revise again and again until we achieve our best work.

I have been stretched to go places I never thought possible,to connect with others, and to push myself into the world of fiction.  Plugging in to PiBoIdMo has been the highlight of my creative year.  God had a purpose for my journey, and I salute Tara Lazar for hosting this life changing event!

Now on to challenge #2: 12x12 in 2012, hosted by Julie Foster Hedlund.  I can't wait to develop the little nuggets I have picked up, and those seeds I have planted.  May they, and all the others  planted by my fellow PiBoIdMoer's  grow into picture books that will nurture the minds of the generation to come!


  1. That was such a good overview of the whole experience of PiBoIdMo. Thank you, Jarm.

    As for others possibly coming up with the same ideas -- even if five people had the same idea, they would in all likelihood come up with five different stories, because we all have our own ways of thinking, expressing ourselves, and we all write out of our own uniqueness. I've seen that in writing challenges where many people work from the same prompt, and yet the stories that result are amazingly different. So not to worry on that account!

    Looking forward to getting to know you better through 12 x 12!

  2. Thanks for your encouragement, Elizabeth! See you during 12x12!

  3. i think that was a great post, jarm :) Beautifully done :)
    I see you made the links work, now you and i have to get our badges on our blogs... it's been too long for me that i forgot how i did it... sorry for my i's not being caps, my shift on that side of my laptop is being cranky lol
    Denise of ingleside

  4. Thanks, Denise, for your kind words. No worries about the lower case "i's". It makes it look kind of artsy. As I told Donna Martin, we need a "social media" month to learn how to navigate the system!

  5. Indeed,w e have such great mentors and co-writers for our journey. I loved your post. I have been disappointed to discover some of my ideas have already been done!!

    How wonderful that your teens still enjoy being read to, by the way. Actually I still enjoy this as an adult.

    Looking forward to journeying with you, Jar.

  6. Looking forward to chatting along the writer's way, Joanna!


I would love to have you comment...thanks!

Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel