November: A Month of Writing Challenges

First of all, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Aside from pumpkins, costumes, and too much candy, how was your October? Mine started off with a bang. I graduated from Dr. Mira Reisbergs Picture Book Academy, I finalized two of my favorite picture book manuscripts and sent them off to agents, and I wrote a magazine article that is currently looking for a home.

But something happened during the second half of October. First, I received four rejections in one day (Ouch!). Then I checked out a stack full of Halloween picture books from the library to read to my kids. A couple of the books were delightful, but I was disappointed with the majority of them. Really disappointed. I couldnt help but wonder, how did these books get published while my clearly brilliant manuscripts are collecting dust in the recycling bin? I felt the fire within me start to fizzle out. Maybe I am not cut out for this. Maybe I really dont know what Im doing. Maybe I should just give up.

Thankfully, I found a match (actually two) to relight my writing flame.  I will be participating in two challenges in the month of November: NaNoWriMo and PiBoIdMo.

Lets start with NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days. That breaks down to about 1,667 words a day. Im extremely nervous because Ive never written a novel. But Im also extremely excited because Ive always wanted to write a novel. Ive been gearing up for this one for a while now. I have a Young Adult mystery/thriller novel in my head which I have roughly outlined on my computer. It involves a teenage girl at a prestigious summer riding academy. It involves a ghost story, a missing woman, a creepy barn hand, a cute boy, and plenty of horses. I was going to call my novel Ghost Rider, but after doing a quick search on Amazon I discovered there are approximately 27 other published books with the same title. Back to the drawing board on that one . . .

The second challenge, exclusively for picture book writers, is Tara Lazars PiBoIdMo or Picture Book Idea Month.  The challenge here is to come up with one idea for a picture book every day so by the end of the month you have thirty ideas for books you can write in the coming year.  I have to admit, Im probably going to cheat a little on this one because I am constantly thinking of ideas for picture books.  If you dont believe me, look at my white board.  It looks like a crazy person lives here.  Ive been saving up my ideas for the last couple weeks, so I think I have my first 10 days covered already.  Sshhhh!  Dont tell anyone.

Now, both of these challenges are on the honor system.  I have no responsibility to report my actual productivity to anyone, but I am going to keep my faithful blog followers updated on my progress.  Ill post one update mid-month and Ill check in again on November 30th to let you know if I completed the challenges.  Hopefully, Ill have finished a first draft of a novel at the end of this.  Note, I didnt say it would be a GOOD novel.  So, are any of you joining me?  Please let me know!  We can cheer each other on!