Saturday, January 21, 2012

Writing Challenges for Picture Book Writers

Are you a picture book writer who is having trouble staying motivated?  Sometime we just need a little outside push to keep us working.  Having something to share with my critique group helps keep my but in the chair and keeps me writing. BUT…a good critique group can be hard to find and  a poor fit can cause more harm than good.  If you don’t have a critique group that works for you but need some outside motivation to keep you working, consider joining one of the following picture book challenges.

  • 12 x 12 in2012 Challenge  - Write one new picture book each month in 2012.  You don’t have to come up with a final draft…but what good start.  To officially participate you need to join by January 29th.
  • Picture bookmarathon – Write 26 picture books in the month of February.   This is for someone who wants some serious butt kicking in February.   
  • The annual Kidlit Picture Book Dummy Challenge has already begun, but you can still jump in.  The point of this challenge is to prepare one picture dummy for submission by July 1st.   This is a great challenge for the writer-illustrator.  
Many of these challenges are structured with community support through either emails or Facebook.  You can join the community or just work on your own.  The idea is not to necessarily end up with perfect manuscripts but to get you started working on the process of developing your story.  For other suggestions for children’s authors check out Starting a Career as a Children’s Writer by Annie from WOM.

Happy Writing!

Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life strategist.  She helps clients push through their blocks, envision their path and take the necessary action to live their True North.

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Karen Cioffi said...

Mary Jo, these are great challenges for picture book writers to jump on. I'm tempted to join the Kidlit one, but need to focus and finish my MG WIP.

This has been one of my drawbacks - not focusing. It's not wise to have your hand in too many pots - nothing ever seems to get done that way. :)

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

I considered doing the picture book marathon, but decided against it for that reason. I have joined the 12 x 12. For me that seemed more manageable and if I actually only come up with 6, I'll be okay with it.

Dallas said...

I love the picture-book marathon idea for February! What a great challenge! Thanks for the article Mary Jo!

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Good Luck Dallas. Let me know how you do. It takes real commitment, but can change your writing habits for the rest of the year.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Wow! Can people really write picture books that fast? Seems to me it would be more akin to writing a poem and to get the images right, the rhythm, the line length, etc...well, it just doesn't go that fast. At least not for me.

I love critique groups, too, Mary Jo!


T. Forehand said...

I think these are great ways to get disciplined, not certainly to produce perfect drafts but a good way to get material and get ideas down on paper. February sounds like a challenge I have to try.

Magdalena Ball said...

Those are some hefty challenges. The 12x12 one sounds almost too much, but I'm all for writing challenges, and setting some externally driven objectives really helps with writing - I often will pick a comp and write towards it.

Shirley Corder said...

This is like a NaNoWriMo in picture format! All the best!

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

If they are like me the answer would be yes and no. Maybe a first draft can be written that fast, but most of my picture books go through about 50+ revisions. AND I'm not exaggerating.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Good Luck on the February challenge. I'm passing this year, though it is on my radar for the future.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

I agree with that approach. I have joined challenges and modified my own goal. I joined the 12 x 12 this year, I'll be happy with 6 x 12.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

My guess is that NaNoWriMo was the impetus for many of these challenges.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Gosh Mary Jo, Didn't realize there were so many of these challenges about. Exhausted just sipping my post-prandial glass of wine and thinking about them. I did consider trying at least one of these but like Karen decided I should focus on finishing the everlasting WIP. (not Karen's, mine.LOL)
Thanks for the mention--lovely of you.

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