Wednesday, May 8, 2013

National Picture Book Writing Week

So this past week was National Picture Book Writing Week. Otherwise known as NaPiBoWriWee, created by picture book author, Paula Yoo. 

The challenge for NaPiBoWriWee is to draft seven picture books in seven days. As anyone who has ever attempted to write a picture book knows, this is an incredibly intense challenge.

And this year I decided to give it a try!

While I never officially signed up, this year I decided that I was going to participate in NaPiBoWriWee. Late on the eve of the first day, I realized I had not yet begun writing.

So I opened up my computer and stared at my screen. What should I write about? I wondered.

Then I remembered an idea that had popped up earlier in the week. (Of course, I could have done some idea planning in advance of the week, but my participation was pretty spontaneous.)

So I typed that idea as my title and began drafting.  And drafting and drafting and drafting.

Well, seven days later, I have to admit, I don't have seven drafts. But I do have one draft I spent the whole week working on. And I'm pretty excited about that!

That draft wouldn't have happened without NaPiBoWriWee.  This wonderful challenge got me writing, and, once it got me writing, I couldn't stop.

As Paula put it in the event faq: "I’m happy if you even write 7 sentences in 7 days. The purpose of this event is to just challenge everyone to write 7 picture books in 7 days as way to fight off procrastination and insecurity."

For me, the challenge certainly worked!  Thank you, Paula!

What kinds of challenges (if any) work for you?


  1. What a nice blog! Thank you for your kind words. I'm excited to hear that you worked all 7 days on ONE draft - that is fantastic! You wrote every single day - that was what I was hoping would happen for everyone! YAY! Congrats and honored to have you in our group! Happy Writing! xo P.

  2. The only challenges I take on are the sort that are between me and myself- to accomplish a certain amount of work in a certain amount of time. I haven't discovered the charm of the national challenges yet. Glad it worked well for you.

  3. Setting a deadline is a challenge for me, but the best thing to keep me writing. My critique group and conferences (especially if I schedule a meeting with an agent or editor) are very effective sources. I love the idea of the national challenge, although for me, the more personally hooked to the deadline, the better 'behaved' I am. I tend to let myself off the hook if I don't have to look someone in the eye (as in on-line challenges). So glad it worked for you Brianna!

  4. Thanks for the thoughtful comments, guys!

    Paula-- Thanks so much-- for NaNoPiWriWee and for the encouraging comment! It was really a fun challenge and I am so glad I participated!

    Mirka-- That is so awesome that you can challenge yourself to accomplish a certain amount in a certain time! I wish I could do that!

    Julie-- I definitely love the challenge of a deadline! It is one of the things I miss about our awesome critique group. Knowing I would be submitting to our group on a certain date was an awesome motivator! And knowing an editor or agent is expecting to see my work definitely gets me moving!

  5. Excellent! Feel proud of yourself, you deserve it. I participated once, and did okay, but I was way too busy this year ;).

  6. 7 sentences in 7 sounds like a Zen exercise!

  7. KatieC-- Thanks! I do feel proud! And I totally understand about the too busy thing. That's why I never did the challenge in previous years. :o)

    Ariel-- I would love to feel a bit more Zen! (Actually though, I ended up producing more than 850 words which is pretty long for a picture book. But, in this case I am hoping long just might work. Otherwise it's off to cutting I go. :o) )

  8. Honestly it is very impressive! And I always think it's better to have material to cut than have to pad something.

  9. Congrats on the week's work. I think you made the right choice - one PB fleshed out, not a series of snippet ideas.

  10. I'm glad I found this site- I'm always on the look out for good pic books for my son. Well...& for me! ;)

  11. Ariel-- I agree, it is usually easier for me to cut than to add. (Recently I had the rather odd experience of writing a too short picture book. The agent who gave me a critique at a conference said she almost never says this, but I needed to add. :o) )

    Gale-- For me, fleshing out one picture book certainly worked. Probably because I got so very attached to that first idea. I have a friend, though, who got 6 picture books drafted in 6 days. She found the process enormously freeing. I am interested to see how it goes for me next year. Will I do one draft again or many?

    Leandra-- So glad you found our blog! This is certainly a good place for people who like picture books (and all genres of kidlit)! And I definitely understand about being on the lookout for good picture books for your son and for yourself. I'm the exact same way! :o)