Thursday, 16 October 2014

Getting ready for November   Oh my goodness a year has rolled around and it is time to sign up for all my favourite November challenges.

Last year I signed up for Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo, also known as Picture book idea month, a month to try and generate thirty first draft picture book ideas.
It is my second year and the sixth year since the challenge's inception. Last year I managed to pluck 45 ideas out of the quagmire that is my mind. I also met some fabulous people and learned a whole lot more about the picture book community and the building blocks of making good reading for little people. It is a learning curve I am still on and through the networking of PiBoIdMo I also discovered some amazing people, communities and forums which are helping me polish my craft. I went on to join Julie Hedland's 12 X 12 (12 picture book drafts in 12 months), Christie Wild's 14:14 (fourteen picture book reviews in 14 days, Picture Book Marathon (, Angie Karcher's Rhyming Picture Book Month (, Susanna Leonard Hill's ( many fabulous opportunities for art and writing and so many more amazing people who generously give their knowledge and skills to help others hone their own stories.  The list grows with each successive month as I explore my new writing and illustrating career.

Last year I hit the ground running, scattered, disorganised and flying by the seat of my pants. As the month rolled along I had to get organised in a hurry because I was also involved in three other challenges. SkaDaMo, NaNoWriMo and RWA 50/30. By the end of the month my eyes had ceased working, my ankles were swollen, my eating habits had become akin to 'nerdy computer single man in flat pizza addict' and I had 104000 words, 45 picture book ideas and 30+ sketches. NOT RECOMMENDED! DO NOT DO THIS especially if like me you are also working a day job and have children. I do not believe one skerrick of housework happened last November.
So this year I have planned ahead.
*I have a folder (hard copy) with a nice neat chart in it with space for dates titles and idea descriptions. I also have a running sheet on my computer.
*The folder has a print out of the PiBoIdMo logo for this year in the front pocket. All my folders for different challenges are now labelled like this.
*I have picture book dummy sheets (30) printed out and slipped into each pocket
*I have an idea sheet that has space for a title, a character description, conflict description, a hook, a synopsis and a box for research/bibliography and a sentence about what the character wants.
*I quit my day job and all my kids are old enough to look after themselves next month.
*I plan to warn all family and friends I am unavailable in November for any reason- births, deaths, weddings, funerals, birthdays...fires, floods and rampaging aliens. I DON'T WANT TO KNOW!
*I have pizza on speed dial
*I have a pedal exerciser under the desk
 *I had my eyes checked, bought a book on eye exercises and have reading glasses (four sets so I can find them when I need them)
*most importantly I have BETA readers and critique partners

So the best laid plans of rodents and two legged rodents aside I am ready. I hope. I think I am, maybe I am ready, okay I am planned for readiness and yes I am doing the other three challenges. Good luck everyone in finding fabulous ideas and making them into amazing stories.

Oh I forgot, I did Movember last year to raise money for men's health so I am planning to wear a fake moustache again and get a Movember page happening so if you are interested in supporting a good research cause come find me and donate your spare change.