Here’s a little article I wrote as a Picture Book Idea Month (now STORYSTORM) success story.
Challenges Can Be Good
I don’t like NaNoWriMo. There. I said it. National Novel Writing Month is not for me. It did, however, lead me to the perfect challenges.
Discouraged after failing NaNoWriMo—miserably—twice, I came to the realization that the stress of cranking out 50,000 words during one of the busiest months of the year sours me on writing. It’s as torturous as dragging sandpaper across your sunburned belly.
In October 2010, many of my writing friends were brainstorming over their upcoming NaNoWriMo projects. Feeling left out, I decided to explore other options. That’s how I stumbled upon Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). Creating 30 picture book ideas over the 30 days of November seemed daunting, but I gave it a shot and I made it. Now, what was I going to do with those 30 ideas?
Thankfully, there is National Picture Book Writing Week (NaPiBoWriWee), an annual event the first week of May where you endeavor to write 7 picture books in 7 days. When I participated in May 2011, I developed an idea from PiBoIdMo that would become my third published book, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving (Guardian Angel Publishing, Nov 2016).
Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving shows ten-year-old Macy using quick thinking and ingenuity to save dinner when the dog swipes the turkey off the table. Without PiBoIdMo, this book may never have existed. It’s not the warm, message-driven story that I usually write. There is a set of fighting twins, a frazzled mom, and a turkey-stealing dog. Not so sweet. Pushing my boundaries to win this challenge allowed me to explore a fun and zany side I don’t often indulge.
Satisfied with my first dabble into PiBoIdMo, I participated again in 2012. Guardian Angel Publishing has Amos Faces His Bully under contract. This story was my first idea for PiBoIdMo in 2012. I can’t wait to see it published.
Just like you need to find a good writing spot and develop a writing routine, finding the right challenge for you can lead to greater success. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself. The rewards can be great.
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, and Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com