Thursday, October 23, 2014

What Will PiBoIdMo Do for You?

2014 logo courtesy Vin Vogel

What will PiBoIdMo do for you?

It will push you out of your comfort zone.

As a picture book writer, you have to generate new ideas. When the ideas don't come, you mine your old notebooks for something to write about. You take a walk to clear your head and discover new characters in your neighborhood. You resort to random word generators, writing prompts, memory maps, and old photos. 30 days of brainstorming will drive you to all of these methods, and beyond . . . and that's when the good stuff comes.

It will challenge you to be present.

Life can get in the way of writing. The business of writing can get in the way of writing. Sometimes we're just too busy to notice the ideas around us. The noise of our lives makes it difficult to hear the ideas whispering in our heads. But the subconscious challenge of an idea-a-day will make the listening more urgent. It will spur you to be present, on the lookout for the ideas all around and within.

It will wake you up in the middle of the night.

By about day 16, I am waking up at 3 AM to scribble ideas into my bedside notebook. The ideas which come during the day are usually safe or logical. The ideas that come in the night are often surprisingly fresh. My brain has had time to put together the various pieces of my conscious thought and effortlessly mingled them in my unconscious dreams.

It will give you permission to get messy.

Desperation to reach your goal may drive you to explore untapped idea mines. You may experiment with bathroom humor, talking animals, scientific non-fiction, taboo subjects, or preschool concepts. Or sheer momentum may catapult you past your limits. Idea blossoms into idea, until you find yourself far from the story seed where you began. Either way, sooner or later you'll realize PiBoIdMo is a time to free yourself from the restraints of your inner critic. There are no mistakes in brainstorming, so let your imagination run wild.

It will initiate you into the world's most giving community.

Whether you read Tara's blog posts in the morning and let the suggestions simmer, or you keep in touch on the FaceBook page throughout the day, you'll find writers just like you. Writers who struggle, and fear, and obsess. You'll find tips for the dry spells. You'll see people rally around one another like supporters at a marathon. You'll get a peek at the ordinary hearts of the extraordinary people which make up the kidlit community. And you will belong.

What will PiBoIdMo do for you? It will surprise you, because you will surprise yourself.

What are you waiting for? Sign ups begin October 25th at


  1. Love this quote: "The business of writing can get in the way of writing."
    I have my to do calendar split each day into 3 parts: (1) social/blog (2) business (cover letters, story research, publisher research) and (3) Writing (editing, drafting, plotting, etc) Before I started splitting it I would spend a couple hours on 1 & 2 and then realize I hadn't written a single word that day.

    1. Ugh! I hear you. It's not that I dread marketing or researching, it's just that it takes up so much time! I learned a lot about paperwork organization and time management from Marcie Flinchum Atkins. Check out her blog sometime.


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