Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winning - Picture Book Writer Style





December is the finale for the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge. 

When I sat down in January with my notebook of 2011 PiBoIdMo Ideas (Thanks, Tara!), the challenge seemed like a gimme. A picture book should be no more than 1,000 words (preferably under 500) so that works out to 6,000 to 12,000 words—in a year. The NaMoWriMo folks would bust a gut thinking anyone could be stymied by word counts like this.

But it wasn’t so easy. Wholly apart from the demands of home and hearth, part of the problem for me was that I don’t just write picture books. I write middle grade novels and nonfiction. Carving out time to really focus on twelve new picture books was—a challenge.

The great thing was, amazing writers posted their own stories of success and words of encouragement on Julie’s website. These mental nudges were a gentle reminder of what I wanted to do. The dust bunnies and weedy garden could wait. Other writers revved my creative engine and brought me back to my own picture book stories. 

I love picture books and I’m glad I completed the challenge even though all twelve aren’t shiny works of art yet. I love thinking about the way words and art play off each other in good picture books. I love the sudoku-like challenge of completing a story arc in 28-30 pages.  And maybe I shouldn’t admit it, but I love the way new picture books smell.

One unexpected bonus of the 12 x 12 challenge is I finally started this blog! On the same day that Julie posted a December 12th date for the end of year success party, a critique friend talked about choosing the perfect website moniker. What was I waiting for? I put my jets in gear. Photos are yet to come, but the process has begun. I’m way out at the beginning of the learning curve, so I’d be grateful if you’d leave your comments and suggestions about the blog/website experience. 

Thanks for visiting!


43 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your manuscripts and on starting your blog! I started one this year, too, and it's been fun although definitely a commitment. I try to make it part of what I am doing and thinking about anyway (reading and recommending books, talking about writing, etc.) and that helps make it feel like a natural extension, not an added burden. Good luck with it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to know other people are just starting their blogs, Carrie. I felt like I was the only one!

      Delete
  2. Yippee!!!!!!!!! You started your blog, completed the challenge and now is the time to make them all sparkly. (I write picture books and MG novels.) So I definitely get this post. CONGRADS WOMAN!

    I'm kinda burned out on the blog thing. I love the peeps and all the lovely writers I have found. But it was hacked in the summer. Really hacked. So I am preparing to switch to WP. Which Kristen Lamb says WP is the writers choice anywho. So right now the experience is kinda cruddy, just because of the time it takes to log in. Pshaw on those hackers! And I have no assistance. (No customer service with Google) *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My son is currently my "assistance" when I don't know what to do webwise. My Twitter account got hacked earlier this year so I know what you mean. Don't those folks have better things to do?

      Delete
  3. Congratulations on your new blog and manuscripts. What a great way to begin, with a party!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the way new picture books smell, too. Congrats on a a great year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Picture book ink, it's the writers' pheremone.

      Delete
  5. Yay! I hope you enjoy blogging - and what a way to start!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far, so good. Glad to meet so many great folks!

      Delete
  6. Congratulations on your drafts and your blog! Quite a bit to be proud of from 2012!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is good to remind ourselves of our achievements sometimes! Let's go 2013.

      Delete
  7. I'm so honored that the 12 x 12 was the push you needed to get your blog up and running! AND you wrote all 12 manuscripts. That's an amazing achievement. Also, remember that just because the word count is much less than a novel, it doesn't make picture books any easier to write! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are amazing, Julie! I don't know how you do all that you do.

      Delete
  8. You have lots to celebrate, Wendy. Kuddos to you for starting your blog this year. That is a big leap. I love how you compared writing PB to playing Sudoku! I love Sudoku and yes, I agree that writing PB is much like that. It's a puzzle with logic and creativity, for sure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The good thing about Sudoku is there is a "right" answer. Not so much for picture books...

      Delete
  9. Welcome to the blogging world, Wendy! So glad you've joined us in cyber-reality.

    I, too, write in other genres besides picture books, so your post certainly resonated with me. It's great to have the group around us to keep us working away at those PBs, isn't it?

    I shall sign up to follow Noodling forthwith.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Beth. Glad to be trading thoughts.

      Delete
  10. Congratulations! I agree with you on the smell of new Picture Books. Welcome to the world of blogs. It has been a very enjoyable experience for me, and I hope you will find it just as rewarding. I love your blog name! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If intimidating is a synonym for rewarding, I'm there. JK. It's great to find another way to connect with other writers!

      Delete
  11. I agree, you are absolutely right when you say the other writers help bring out your creative side. I feel that way too. Big congratulations to you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sending a big fuzzy virtual writer's hug your way.

      Delete
  12. Congratulations on taking the plunge into the world of picture book writing and the world of blogging! Good luck with editing and polishing your drafts in the coming year and good luck with continuing on your blogging journey!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jo. 12 x 12 is a great community of support!

      Delete
  13. The dust bunnies and weedy garden will always be there. Glad you opted to write instead. Congratulations on starting a blog and completing the challenge, on top of the other writing you already do. May you have the opportunity in 2013 to make some of those drafts into the shiny works of art that you mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm polishing, trying to find the real gems amidst the polished glass. Thanks for visiting my new site!

      Delete
  14. Glad to read your new blog. I enjoyed your "about me" section. Happy 12x12!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tina. Publishing on the web, without revision or a critique group's input is intimidating. It's been amazing to visit all the other writers' blogs on the link list from the 12x12 community this week.

      Delete
  15. Congrats, Wendy, on your new blog! You are off to a great start. Hope to see you in 2013...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Back at you, Jarm. I'm planning on it.

      Delete
  16. Congrats, Wendy! I love the name of your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like it. It was hard to choose something that was "new" and still felt like me. That's the advantage of starting a blog early, I guess. First dibs on names!

      Delete
  17. Congratulations on your manuscripts and your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Melissa. I love a party so it was a good incentive!

      Delete
  18. Congrats on your new blog! Looking forward to reading more posts by you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm planning on posting once a week, to start. Hope to see you again!

      Delete
  19. Congratulations on 12 x 12 and your new blog! I saw your comment on Robyn's site and clicked over here. I wasn't in the 12 x 12 last year, but will probably join this year. I love picture books, in fact I'm posting about a different Christmas PB each day this month over on my blog. Good luck with your writing and your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Janet. I'll Hop over your way soon!

      Delete
  20. Woooohooo.... this is a lovely blog. So fresh and clean...lol. Love the name. So glad you took the plunge, Wendy, and joined us in this crazy blogging world. You have much to be proud of with all those drafts. I'm joining up to follow you right away. Looking forward to our journey through 2013, together. Yaaay!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Way to go, Wendy! I'm a nonfiction gal too, so it's nice to find myself in such good company. Congrats on your 12 x 12 successes.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yay, Wendy! You're here, you're here!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Big congrats on putting yourself (and your words) out there! And I love the smell of PB's, too. ;-)

    (And half the fun of making a website/blog is noodling around with it. Just have fun--and remember that you can always change it!) ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Wendy...lovely to connect with you via 12x12!
    Congrats on doing the challenge AND starting your blog...takes a lot of courage...love your name. ;)
    Best of luck in 2013...with the supportive community of generous kit lit people, it will be a GREAT one!

    ReplyDelete