Welcome to DAY ONE of NAPIBOWRIWEE (National Picture Book Writing Week) 2013! From May 1-7, 2013, we will attempt to write 7 picture books in 7 days. I will be posting a new blog every day by 6 AM (West Coast Time) at https://paulayoo.com/napi
Please post a comment on each day’s blog with any questions or thoughts on today’s blog or about your own NAPIBOWRIWEE 2013 experience. Remember, I will include everyone’s name in a fun contest drawing at the end of this week’s event. Winners will receive fun souvenirs from our store plus autographed books from myself as well as our guest authors! You can also follow me on Twitter @paulayoo and please use the hashtag #NaPiBoWriWee.
PLEASE NOTE: Because I have some work commitments and meetings to attend this week (Augh! Real life gets in the way, LOL!), do not panic if your comments have not been approved for several hours. This just means I’m probably stuck in L.A. traffic. 🙂 I promise to make sure everyone’s comments are approved in a timely manner, but it may not always happen right away. So please bear with me. Just FYI.
For more information and details on this year’s event, please click on this link to a blog I wrote featuring all your FAQs for NAPIBOWRIWEE 2013: https://paulayoo.com/napi/?p=474
The theme for this year’s NAPIBOWRIWEE is going to focus on the FUTURE of picture books. So much has happened in the book world and the publishing industry since I started this event in 2009. In the past five years, we have seen the explosion of e-Book readers (Kindle, Nook, iPad etc.) plus some radical changes in the publishing industry as the Big Six publishers have merged into the Big Four. Self-publishing has become more popular as an alternate path for writers. People are even taking advantage of Kickstarter and other crowdsource funding sites to publish and distribute their own books. Veteran authors are debating the merits of self-publishing versus the traditional route. Agents and editors are finding it more difficult to sell/publish books in a shrinking world. Even more parents are trying to “skip over” picture books by having their children read chapter books instead, not realizing that picture book reading helps develop certain cognitive skills for younger children.
Phew. That’s a lot of changes in just five years. But one thing has remained the same – NAPIBOWRIWEE takes place every year from May 1-7 where both newbie and veteran authors challenge themselves to write 7 picture books in 7 days. The goal is simply to encourage everyone to have FUN, to overcome procrastination, and to develop the skills necessary to write on a DAILY basis. At the end of the week, we will have 7 rough first drafts that we can nurture and revise until at least ONE of these drafts turns into a submission-ready and hopefully publishable book! 🙂
Also, to inspire those of you who are feeling nervous about DAY ONE, here’s some comforting words of advice from Ann Lamott’s famous BIRD BY BIRD book on writing and “s—– first drafts.”
“… S—– first drafts: all good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts. People tend to look at successful writers, writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially, and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars… that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves… and dive in, typing full formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated… Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it. … We all often feel like we are pulling teeth… the right words and sentences do not just come pouring out like ticker tape most of the times. For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really s—– first drafts.
“The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page…. Just get it all down on paper, because there may be something great in those six crazy pages that you would never have gotten toby more rational, grown-up means. There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you’re supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go – but there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and a half pages.” (Ann Lamott, BIRD BY BIRD, pgs. 21-22)
For Day One (May 1, 2013), I am featuring a guest blog from LAURI MEYERS. Lauri has participated in NAPIBOWRIWEE in the past and wanted to share some survival tips. What better way to kick off this year’s NAPIBOWRIWEE with Lauri Meyer’s blog on “7 Simple Steps to Write 7 Picture Books in 7 Days”?
Future guest bloggers for this year’s event will include picture book author/illustrator KATIE DAVIS (May 2), picture book author VARSHA BAJAJ (May 3), YA novelist & debut picture book author MARTHA BROCKENBROUGH (May 4), Ford Street publisher/picture book author/novelist PAUL COLLINS (May 5), novelist and picture book author TANIA MCCARTNEY (May 6), and picture book author/illustrator ERIN EITTER KONO (May 7). Contest winners will be announced on May 8th.
(Please keep reading after the jump for our Day One Guest Blog from Lauri Meyers!)
GUEST BLOG – DAY ONE – LAURI MEYERS
LAURI MEYERS is a children’s book writer who tries to follow the picture book rules, though rhyming gnomes and laughing raindrops keep infiltrating her stories. After a career in corporate finance where she specialized in adding, subtracting, and saying “no,” she is entrusting her two children to retrain her brain to be creative. She has already completed classes in booger picking, glitter sprinkling, and worm squishing under their tutelage. She also blogs about writing and raising messy little girls at http://www.laurimeyers.com You can contact Lauri at LAURIMEYERS at GMAIL dot COM or by leaving a comment on her blog.
7 Simple Steps to Write 7 Picture Books in 7 Days
by Lauri Meyers
My first NaPiBoWriWee was exhilarating, educational, and exhausting. I succeeded in drafting 7 picture books in 7 days, but it was by the skin of my teeth. You can’t start writing before May 1st, but the week will be easier if you have a plan.
*7 Simple Steps to Write 7 Picture Books in 7 Days*
1. Freeze 7 dinners and make the appropriate number of tuna sandwiches for your family. “That seems unnecessary!” you cry. You’re right – it’s completely unnecessary as long as you also find eating unnecessary.
2. Collect 8-10 PB ideas. “But you said 7 PBs!” you cry. Yes, but you’ll be thankful for an extra on the morning you realize the idea you picked stinks like day 7’s tuna sandwich. If you participated in PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month), now is a great time to pull out your 30 ideas.
3. Write each idea on a small piece of paper and put them in a hat. Preferably a funny hat. “That sounds goofy!” you cry. Oh, you’re one of those quiet, serious picture book writing types? Well, you can put your ideas in a fedora if you prefer, but some of us like to have fun. (Funny hat example pictured below…)
4. On the morning of May 1st, pull an idea out of your silly (or serious) hat. Drink coffee and go about your day while the idea runs around with its pants off in your mind. “I’m not really comfortable with nudity in my brain,” you whine. Fine, yours can wear Superman Underroos.
5. Read the guest post for the day which will magically unlock some spark and inspire your draft. “What if it doesn’t?” you whine. Hey, will Thing 1 make a mess while your mother is out? (It will.)
6. Jot down any sentences your naked (or semi-clothed) idea throws at you throughout the day. Sometime before midnight, steal enough writing time to draft the story. Even if it’s only 200 words, just strive for a beginning, climax, and resolution. “What if I don’t have any paper?” you ask. There’s still time to grab a NaPiBoWriWee notebook from the store. (Store link: http://www.cafepress.com/napibowriwee2013)
7. Get up the next day and do it again!
There you have it. 7 simple steps to surviving succeeding at NaPiBoWriWee!
Thanks again to Lauri Meyers for writing our Day One guest blog! I hope her 7 tips inspire you as we begin Day 1!
Tune in tomorrow by 6 AM (West Coast Time) for our Day Two blog featuring picture book author/illustrator KATIE DAVIS (http://katiedavis.com). She’s hosting a fun VIDEO IDIOT BOOK CAMP program that also starts today (May 1st). For more info, check out this link: http://videoidiotbootcamp.com
In the meantime, good luck writing today. Please post any comments below for today’s blog with your thoughts, questions, and writing updates. You can follow me on Twitter @paulayoo. Please feel free to use this HASHTAG – #NaPiBoWriWee
I’m off to write! Until tomorrow’s blog, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂