Last year at this time I signed up for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. It was a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012. You may have noticed the cool badge on my side bar all year long –
I started out with my ideas from doing Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo last year in November (I did it this year too – it’s VERY fun and if you haven’t done it, try it next year :) ). My goal was to write one picture book manuscript. I never wrote a whole picture book before and didn’t really know where to start (other than having my ideas from PiBoIdMo) and I didn’t know how much I’d be able to do. I am happy to say I wrote 3 whole manuscripts and I have a bunch of ones that I have started that I’d like to get back to. I’ve learned a lot this year and I thought I would come up with my top ten things I learned. Here it goes –
10. Be organized. Having a work area and a notebook (only ONE notebook in my case because I tend to lose things) that holds your ideas helps.
9. Set deadlines for yourself. Even if you don’t make them, it gives you a goal.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.
7. Don’t be afraid to write down a draft that isn’t particularly good the first time. Get it down and then go back later and fix it (I have a lot of unfinished ideas like this).
6. The idea you think is the best isn’t always the one that you can write a whole book about.
5. Listen to people who want to help you. There are a lot of great people who have helped and encouraged me.
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t meet a goal. Keep trying!
3. Don’t get discouraged if you find out someone has already wrote the book you are thinking of! That just means you like that idea too!
2. Do try to have fun while writing. If it is making you frustrated, stop for a while.
and the number one thing I’ve learned from 12×12 in 2012 is…
WRITING PICTURE BOOKS IS HARD AND RHYMING IS EVEN HARDER!!! Those people out there who think it is so easy should give it a try (like that turtle-neck guy ;) [Debbie Ohi’s PiBoIdMo Post])!
Thank you to everyone in 12×12 in 2012 and ESPECIALLY to Julie Hedlund for hosting it! If you haven’t seen Ms. Hedlund’s awesome dance party video, you HAVE to hop over to her blog and check it out. Her air guitar is AMAZING! Click HERE to go there!