It’s National Picture Book Writing Week! NaPiBoWriWee was created by Paula Yoo four years ago as a way to motivate herself and to help market a new book she had coming out. The concept is to challenge yourself to write 7 picture books in 7 days. You “sign up” by visiting Paula’s blog and sharing comments with others who have committed to being productive this week. This is NOT about writing a polished, publishable manuscript. That would be impossible. What’s encouraged is to try to get seven manuscripts down onto the page; ideas you can then spend the rest of the year revising and polishing. So far I’m “one for one,” and am looking forward to seeing what happens on days 2-7!
I met a woman a few years ago who had an idea for a picture book but never wrote it down. When I asked her why, she said frankly that it was because she was afraid this was her one and only idea, and she was nervous that once she let this one idea go, (by writing it down), she’d be lost.
What I have found, however, is the more time I allow myself to be creative, the more my brain gets ‘in that mode’ and starts cranking things out. Sometimes I’d actually like to shut the idea machine off, so I can get a good night’s rest, for example, or drive from point A to point B without having to speak into my voice recorder. My nightstand used to be littered with scraps of paper, until I finally had the bright idea to just leave a notebook there. Sometimes jotting down a few words will quiet the machine, sometimes I have to fully wake up and write for awhile before the brain settles down.
In preparation for NaPiBoWriWee, you can take notes, make outlines, and otherwise prepare for the task. Last week, I sat down with a long thin piece of scrap paper and before I even had a chance to filter them, four topics spilled onto the page. I’ve been so focused on revision lately that I didn’t realize how anxious my brain was to get those ideas out. This week is like a little mini-vacation from what I consider the hardest work of writing (revision). I’ll enjoy allowing myself time to focus on the fun part – starting a story and letting the fingers fly!
If you are reading this and you’ve always had an idea for a picture book, or any book, this is your time! Use NaPiBoWriWee as an excuse to stop making excuses! Write it down! But be careful – you may wake up the idea machine. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.