November: A Month of Writing Challenges and Literacy

Sunday, October 29, 2017
Yesterday, Sioux posted about NaNoWriMo. Yes, I can manage to write 5 minutes a day on my novel when I’m meeting another deadline. But I’ve never succeeded at NaNoWriMo. As Sioux pointed out, size matters. Because I write for children and teens, my work tends to run short in the world of novel writing. Fortunately there are other challenges out there. As should surprise no one, I’m putting them together to create my own.

My personal favorite was Picture Book Idea Month or PiBoIdMo. It used to be in November but organizer Tara Lazar moved it to January and changed the name. StoryStorm is now in January. Instead of focusing on picture books, it focuses on story ideas in general. I kept going after the challenge ended and at this point I have 251.

Not bad, but I want to challenge myself to focus on picture books during November. Why? Because I’m going to be researching and writing a new picture book. I’m also meeting a deadline for teen nonfiction so I’m going to need all the help I can get to also think about picture books. Thus my own personal PiBoIdMo challenge. Will I be able to come up with 30 picture book ideas? I think I can! (Get it? Picture book humor!)

Unless you are writing a young adult novel, challenging yourself to write 50,000 words in a month is a bit ludicrous. A really long picture book is a 1000 words. The sweet spot is somewhere between 200 and 500 words. Do the math and NaNoWriMo comes out to somewhere between 50 really long picture books and 250 really short ones. Fortunately Debbie Ridpath Ohi, a writer and illustrator of picture books, created the DailyWords Challenge.

Debbie is a wise woman and she knows that we need a challenge that meshes with our writing style. Do you need a specific number of words a day? Pick 100 words, 250 words or 1000 words. Or maybe, like me, you do better with a set amount of time. Debbie has badges for times from 15 to 60 minutes a day. I’ve chosen 15 minutes since I can always chose to work for a longer period of time.

But I'd like a little help to focus on picture books during this 15 minutes a day.  Fortunately November is Picture Book Month. This is an international literacy initiative. Throughout the month movers and shakers in the picture book community post about what makes picture books so essential to world literacy. They have scheduled posts by author/illustrators, editors and librarians. Teachers and school librarians are invited to make use of the lesson plans, coloring pages and other items posted on the site.

So, no, I won’t be writing a novel. My middle grade novel is resting for a month.

Instead, I will be drafting a new picture book. To do that, I need to focus on this special form. I’ll do that by brainstorming ideas, reading inspirational posts by people in the know, and working on my book at least 15 minutes a day. Anyone care to join me?



Sioux Roslawski said...

Sue--This sounds like a perfect challenge for you. You've inspired me to reexamine a picture book project of mine. It's too texty for a traditional picture book so perhaps I can pare it down and still maintain the heart of the tale.

However, I won't be doing this in November... ;)

Thanks for the nudge. And good luck with your picture book.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Great post, Sue! I love that you're creating your own PiBoIdMo. I had no idea Tara changed the name. Also, thanks for turning me on to Debbie's DailyWords Challenge. That's definitely doable! I think I'll either shoot for 60 min a day or 1k words a day. Hmmm....

Beverley Baird said...

I've taken part in PiBpIdMo for many years and I actually miss taking part in November. I planned to do it this Nov. as well. We'll have to cheer each other on. All the best.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I know I am definitely ready to go. This picture book idea is bouncing around in my head, but it is nonfiction. Fingers crossed that I can find the information that I need. Who knows - the form may have to change but I will definitely start working on Tuesday.

Beverley - I wonder if anyone else will join us?


Mary Horner said...

I think your message is important, that we need to find what works best for us! Trying to maintain a pace that we can't sustain only leads to frustration.

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top