Wednesday, October 31, 2012

PiBoIdMo 2012

The big challenge begins tomorrow!  Sign up here if you are interested in generating 30 picture book ideas (PiBoIdMo) for the month of November.  I found it the perfect motivation to jumpstart my children's book writer's career, and you will too.  The fellowship with likeminded writers is will be glad you participated!

Below is a blog post I wrote after last year's PiBoIdMo.  It will give you a picture of what the challenge entails, and why I loved it so much:

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.

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", hoping we could catch a few sparks for the imagination. Laura Crawford confirmed my passion by sharing her A-Z picture books on Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims.

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, and it drove me to the closet to unearth my teens early drawings. Julian Hecters cheered us with his "mousecycles", 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 for giving us four 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 go places I never thought connect with 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 the seeds I have planted.  Note:  A year later, looking back on 12x12, I have completed 10 of the 12 manuscripts, and plan to complete the challenge.  I have developed tremendously during this challenge, and have had magazine articles published and have send two manuscripts off to editors because of it.  You, too, can join 12x12 in 2013 HERE.


  1. Sounds like a great challenge. I'll be doing Nanowrimo, so I'll be with you in spirit!


    1. Yours is a daunting task, Debbie! Enjoy!

  2. Hope you come up with 30+ wonderful ideas this month! I'm in PiBoIdMo again, too.

    1. Thanks, Tina! I'm getting a slow start, but, I'm not worried. Good to be part of this together...keep up the momentum. Blessings!


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