Friday, December 9, 2011

Chugging along with PiBoIdMo

Sketch made in a café for PiBoIdMo Day 26. Who knows where it will go?

This past November was a busy one. I took part in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo created by Tara Lazar) and as ARA for SCBWI France worked on its Regional Conference set for December 2nd and 3rd. I wrapped up PiBoIdMo and headed off to Paris on the very fast train (TGV) from Brest at 6:42 am in the pitch black— a rather lonely time of day at the train station.

I stared out the window at the dark landscape speeding by and thought back on my 30 ideas and could not remember one single distinct idea. I decided that they must really stink if I’d already forgotten them. It was a little sad but somewhat typical of me so I took out my PiBoIdMo notebook and a printout of the December 1st Post-PiBoIdMo blogpost "Pat Miller Follows Through" to change my mindset. Pat advised this newly graduated class of 2011 PiBoIdMo’ers to turn back to our ideas (oh boy! I was already one step ahead) and look them over each day, adding to each one— plot points, characters, conflicts.

Reading the idea from Day 1 I remembered that very day— out in the sunshine taking a walk with my daughter to get to know this new place where we’d recently moved. We checked out the neighborhoods, found the local library (only to see a poster announcing that it had just closed for renovations), kept walking and came upon a row of semi-detached houses. This reminded me of a trip to Ireland where I met my Great-Uncle Willie Green and he proudly showed me a mural of the town when they lived in rows of thatched roof cottages. Then I got the day’s idea.

The train chugged on. I continued to plow through my ideas still feeling sleepy and still thinking the ideas were a bit stinky (not stench-level stinky but lacking). I kept reading, started to add a bit here and there, to really think. The time passed as the TGV zipped along. I looked up and the sun was rising. And that’s all it took to feel better about my ideas— reading, thinking, adding, a little sunrise and VOILA! I will keep going.

I think that’s what I like best about PiBoIdMo— every time I think I won’t have another idea, I do. Then I think I won’t have another good idea and I keep trying, making better. All the support and solid advice PiBoIdMo provides makes it so much easier.

I hope to carry what I’ve learned with me all year long and bit by bit turn a few of these ideas into something more.

Thanks to everyone (especially Tara)!