Thursday, December 1, 2016

Have You Ever Wanted to Write for Kids? Try Tara Lazar's Picture Book Challenge in January

The former PiBoIdMo has its new name!
As of December 27, 2016, it is now "Storystorm,"
taking place in January!
You know NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). But did you discover PiBoIdMo? It took place in November up until 2016 when it was bumped to January 2017. (Tweet that!) Organizers promise this event will be given a new name, but as of this writing, that new name has not been announced yet. (Once announced, I just might edit this post and add a new image...whenever that info is released. But I want to post this info in December so you'll have it if you want to participate come January.

I discovered PiBoIdMo last year. (That's Pie-Bo-IDE-Mo.) It's short for Picture Book Idea Month.

If you've ever had an interest in writing picture books for children or writing other books for kids, or if you're looking for something new and interesting to put your creative energy into, or if you just need a brain-break, you might look into participating in this challenge. (Tweet that!It's free to participate, of course.

I learned about PiBoIdMo last year, in 2015, when my author friend, Karen Whiting, mentioned it in an email loop for writers. I participated on a whim and had a great time with it. I had many projects going and wanted a break. Plus, secretly, I've had a number of children's books in mind to write for a long time. I hoped it would help me make headway on them. (Tweet that!)

Creator Tara Lazar says, "Tired of watching novelists have all the fun in November with NaNoWriMo, I created PiBoIdMo as a 30-day challenge for picture book writers."

Previously held in November alongside NaNoWriMo,
starting in 2017 Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo has moved to
January and will have a new name -- unknown 
at the time of this post!
The original idea for PiBoIdMo was for writers and illustrators to simply jot down one concept for a picture book each day.  (Tweet that!) Thirty days later participants would have "30 bright & shiny new ideas" to spur them to create new books for kids. To "win," participants end the month with at least 30 new picture book ideas and sign the PiBo-Pledge confirming they completed the challenge.

The founder, Tara Lazar, posts daily during the event with guest posts from successful children's authors, illustrators, and editors. I found these guest bloggers very helpful and inspiring. I learned a lot about the children's book industry through them. Tara Lazar also offers give-away prizes.

What does it mean to "win"? This if from the FAQs:

Simply end the month of November with at least 30 new picture book ideas! Then you can sign the PiBo-Pledge... confirming you have completed the challenge. Those who register AND sign the pledge are eligible for prizes, including a consultation with a literary agent, a professional picture book critique, original signed art, plus much more!

PiBoIdMo Participant, Author Karen Whiting:

I mentioned above that I learned about PiBoIdMo from my author friend Karen Whiting. I thought it would be fun to do a quick interview with her about her experiences with the challenge:
Karen's new Christmas book!

BAW: Were any of  your published children's books inspired during PiBoIdMo? 

Karen: The One Year My Princess Devotions was inspired at that time quite a few years ago. It released in 2013,

BAW: Any struggles to participating in PiBoIdMo?

Karen: Wile doing the PiBoIdMo I received a few contacts different years, including Christmas is Coming, Waiting is Hard!, which released September 2016. That cut short my completing the challenge as I needed to get writing.

BAW: Do you recommend eating more pie during PiBoIdMo?

Karen: I would avoid pie at that time because it’s so close to all the holidays -- in fact for me doing it helps keep me away from food! A good diet plan is to focus on creating new ideas and chatting with friends about their ideas.

BAW: What inspires you? Any inspirational tools you'd like to share?

Karen: What inspires me? I like to look at calendar dates at Brownielocks (any month) like Elephant Day in September and others. I just look at random days on their calendar. Those spark my imagination. (Tweet that!)

And the SCBWI group in Maryland where I lived until this spring has a celebration outing at the end of the month that adds to the fun as we get together and laugh about lame titles and encourage one another on the fresh ideas.

BAW: Thank you, Karen, for sharing your inspirations!

More PiBoIdMo Info:

  • Is there a registration?
In previous years registration in on Tara Lazar's site beginning late in the month previous to the event and continuing a few days into the event month. Watch her site for dates and instructions.
  • Any prizes?
Those who register are eligible for prizes.
  • Must participants tell their title ideas to win?
No. It's on the honor system. If you say you have thirty new ideas, they believe you.

Look for them on Facebook here:

For me, sometimes I just need a brain-break. So I'm thinking I'll participate again next month, which will my second time.  (Tweet that!)

I'm planning to schedule time at the bookstore perusing picture books for inspiration.

And I want to make a goal to read thirty picture books during January. That's one per day. I have some here at home which I haven't read yet. The rest I'll get from a library so I don't go broke. (Tweet that!)

What about you? Do you plan to take part in PiMoBiMo ... or whatever it's going to be called now?

Related Resources: