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Picture Book Idea Month… or PiBoIdMo (Pee-Bow-Id-Mow) as most affectionately know it… is one of my favorite challenges OF THE YEAR.

Maybe of my life.

Well, parenting has been a fun challenge too.

Anyway… every year for the past two years (this will be my third) I have participated in PiBoIdMo, hosted by none other than Tara Lazar (one of the most inspirational and coolest women and writers I know). Truly. Get to know her. You’ll feel normal.

There are quite a few reasons that I take the challenge, share the challenge, and keep writing.

PiBoIdMo is an entire month (November) dedicated to the art and craft of writing for children… with a guest post daily from someone in the kidlit field: other authors, agents, editors, illustrators. These posts have been inspirational. They’ve sharpened and given great directions to my own writing.

Real life people sharing real life stuff about the real life grueling work of writing.

I end each post motivated to keep on keeping on… because everyone with some level of success has been just where I am. And I know it because they spend every day of November reminding me.

And I love it.

Not only that, but if you’ve been in children’s writing at all you’ll know what a tight-knit, supportive community we have with one another. PiBoIdMo, I find, brings out such a spirit of camaraderie and support from everyone who gets involved… whether it’s conversations on Twitter, Facebook, or the comment sections of the various blogs. I’ve walked away from this event with more than just ideas… new friends!

PiBoIdMo feels like a digital home for me. Familiar faces. Friends and “Family” – getting together for a family reunion of the best kind… where we all leave better artists, writers, and people.

Then there is the challenge itself… come up with a new picture book idea every single day. I’ve never failed. Some are really crummy. Many are pretty darn awesome (if I don’t say so myself)… and my currently completed, critiqued, and home-less manuscripts (searching desperately for a home) have all been ideas spawned during this month of idea-forming intentionality. Which also goes to say that my first official traditionally published book will likely be an PiBoIdMo idea.

How simple! One idea a day! Some days I have a bunch… and some days I’m asking my kids for a good idea (hence numbers 15 and 27 on my PiBoIdMo idea list from last year).

I hope, one day, that I can be the same kind of encouragement that Tara and her crew are to so many people… a writer with a little bit of experience who can say, “Guess what, y’all! You’re normal! Keep at it!” To be the motivation at the end of a day that spurs another artist to go one more day, week, month, year without dumping their hard work and precious stories in the bin with all the rejection letters.

That being said, in the spirit of the generosity and resourcefulness of PiBoIdMo (which starts November 1st, with sign ups on October 24th) I have included links to the past three years of PiBoIdMo guest posts. There is such GREAT information in each post, each November… that you could probably put it all in a book and have a very handy “How to Keep Writing” manual… (idea Tara?) So in your free time (ha!) feel free to go back to those years and see what it’s all about! And if you’d like to jump in to this year’s challenge, go to taralazar.com/piboidmo and sign up on October 24th!

PiBoIdMo- November 2009 

PiBoIdMo- November 2010

PiBoIdMo- November 2011

PiBoIdMo- November 2012

You can also view my list of PiBoIdMo participants on Twitter!