It is November 12th and I'm still alive. This is the first time that I'm doing both NaNoWriMo and PiBoldMo. I've done NaNo but I'm a newb with the picture book marathon. So how am I doing? Let me tell you.
NaNo can be difficult. The beginning commences and I'm all pumped up, filled with ideas, characters, lines of dialogue and more. As the days stretch out, the reach for the finish line can become a bumpy ride. Or a roller coaster ride with its highs and lows, ups and downs and everything in-between. Somewhere along the midway point my exuberance begins to peter out or slow down. Sometimes an idea for something else pops up begging to be heard (like the short short story I typed up yesterday) and paid attention to. Gosh, stories can sound like my kids at times.
The surprise for me this month has been the amount of fun I'm having coming up with ideas for picture books. At the beginning of the month I searched for the places I'd jotted down earlier ideas and put them in my PiBoldMo notebook. I even chose an orange notebook out of my kid's school supplies so it matched the logo. Hey, whatever works to keep my muse content, I'll gladly do.
I think what Tara Lazar has created with the entire PiBoldMo concept is fantastic. I've written four picture books in two years and want to start querying in the new year. What this PiBoldMo concept has done is inspired me to create, improve, and want to follow-up afterwards with the submissions process. I'm also inspired by reading about other author's success stories and learning about the roads they traveled upon towards publication.
I read the PiBoldMo guest posts every day and learn something new. What I'm really enjoying is the way I now look at things--with clearer eyes, more innocent eyes, newer eyes. The eyes of a child. Just before November began, I'd become excited by three picture book ideas I woke up with on two separate nights. I wrote them down and would find them popping up throughout the days. Then PiBoldMo started and every thing began to come together.
What do I mean by that? What came together? Every thing. The ideas. The inspiration. The research. The words. The stories. How? I believe by participating, by reading the posts, by hearing writers make it, by appreciating and nurturing my muse, in return the writing process, the machine, is working. I have story ideas, partial drafts and a finsihed draft. And it all feels GOOD!
I find myself staring outside, at nature, at the clouds, at the wild animals, at the act of a leaf falling down. Why? For inspiration I suppose, but also for energy, to feel a connection to the very things I would be concentrating on in my new stories. And I try doing it with newer eyes. I listen to kids on line inside stores, at the library, anywhere. I hear the cadence of the little voices, the questions and the funny things they say. Remembering how my kids reacted to things or things they've said also helps. I also continue to take picture books out of the library, always keeping an eye out for a new title (even if it's an older book, it may be new to me). So many picture books make me smile, make me feel, and it's these very feelings I want to capture in my own prose. This month's challenge is helping me achieve that very need (at least I hope I can) and the others as well.
There are still eighteen more days to go. I hope to have completed my NaNoWriMo project by then but there is one thing I know for certain: my PiBoldMo notebook will have thirty pages of ideas written down on them (and probably a bunch more). This may be my first year but I get it. I GET IT. And as I type this post and look out into my backyard another idea has taken root. Okay, gotta go and grab my orange notebook...