Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Heart Picture Books

I promised you guys a post on PiBoIdMo today, so I'm here to deliver.

I signed up for PiBoIdMo thinking, just like with NaNo, that I'd coast through it if I kept my notepad on me at all times and scribbled down every idea I had. NOT SO. (See how stupidly arrogant I can sometimes be? When will I LEARN?)

Picture books are hard to do, guys. The picture book author is truly a lover of books and of words, because there is no way that anyone would just do picture books for kicks or because they had a gap in between projects. They're hard to write, they're hard to revise, and they're super hard to get right. Because you have to work to a 32-page format, they're actually very technical. And coming up with new ideas was HARD. Just when I thought I had a great idea, I'd realize it had been done. And maybe you're really good at taking repeat ideas and putting a fresh spin on them - in fact, I bet you are - but I'm not. It was humbling.

So, like with NaNo, I squeaked by. I came up with exactly 30 ideas, and my 30th idea came at 10pm on November 30th. But if I do say so, some of these ideas totally kick butt.

What PiBo did for me was force me beyond the usual, old-hat, done a million ways from Sunday ideas and into the really unusual, out-of-my-comfort-zone ideas. It made me look at the world with different eyes, and it made me really listen, to myself and to my surroundings. And since PiBo, I've actually continued coming up with ideas, which kind of rocks. So it forced me into a new habit, which I hope will continue.

The other thing that PiBo and NaNo both did was show me that I can meet a deadline. I used to freak out about that element of being a "published author" - that I'd suddenly have deadlines, and wouldn't be able to meet them. But after completing both these challenges, I know I can.

Now, over to you guys: Did you do PiBoIdMo? How about NaNoWriMo? What did the experience teach you? I think as long as we all learned something, everyone came out a winner.


  1. Congrats on PiBoMo! I love picture books too. I have about ten ideas of pbs that I someday want to do.
    I didn't do PiBo or Nano. But I did finish my rough draft of my ms so I am happy about that. Still reading through it, picking it apart before I send to readers!

  2. This is cool. I've never even heard of PiBo, but it's really fun to get a look at another side of the process/industry/craft.

  3. I just started hearing about the picture book one.
    Completed Nano. Learned that yes, I really can write a sequel to my book! I was beginning to doubt...

  4. I did both and it was hard but rewarding too. I've only recently started to explore the world of PBs and in many ways they seem to be harder than novels for YA and adults.

  5. Wow, go you for completing BOTH challenges! I believe you on the difficulty of picture books. There is a real art to brevity and feeling, kind of like poetry really. :)

    I did NaNo and didn't make it to 50,000 words. I was actually only slightly ahead of your word count on Nov. 22, but YOU managed to churn the rest of the word count out by Nov. 30th. I did not. Haha. I'm not too broken up about it. I did better than last year, and also wrote the last bit with a cold. So yay!

    Congrats again and welcome back to blogging!

  6. Wow, you did both? That's impressive! It was easy for me to come up with 30, but that's because I jot down every idea that comes into my head with no censorship. If I had to put down only "good" ideas or fully thought out ideas, then..I'd have about two. Three tops!