Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 24 - Packing...

I've been busy doing critiques and reading TONS of picture books in preparation for the Picture Book Boot Camp that starts tomorrow.  I read a huge stack by Lisa Wheeler and can I just say, she is brilliant.  There are so many of hers that I had to read over again to analyze how she does it.  I just can't wait to learn more from her this weekend.  Should be amazing.  I met her almost 10 years ago at a conference in Detroit and she was hilarious and so talented. 

I also got my manuscript done for the day.  A silly idea that ended up combining two old ideas.  I'll have to find my old notes on those to compare.  I really hope that I still like these ideas next month.  After reading all of Lisa's books, well... can't wait for her wisdom. 

Probably won't blog the next few days while I'm out of town but will catch up when I return. Off to pack.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 23 - Only 5 days left!

I just can't believe that there are only 5 days left of the marathon.  Another benefit of participating - no time for anyone to have the "winter blahs".  You stay so super busy that the month is over before you know it!  :-) 

Got my manuscript done for today.  And I was so happy to find that because there were two days when I wrote more than one manuscript, I have 23 new picture book files.  (Even though I did use my two days off.)  Hooray! 

I can't wait to see what happens in March when I get to take stories these further.  Is there anyone out there that has done this before that has any insight?  Is it easy to keep the momentum?  Or do people fall off the wagon?  Do the rough drafts that seemed like good ideas in Feb, still seem good in March and after?  It will be very interesting.  No matter what happens, I am really glad that I did this!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 22 - Good News Always Helps!

So much to do before I leave again this Friday for Lisa Wheeler's Picture Book Boot Camp.  I've been feeling a little overwhelmed that I only have two days this week with the kids at school - then I got today's mail.  A wonderful contract arrived from Children's Better Health Institiute.  Almost two years ago they wanted to buy my poem "Pinata" and now it will appear in their May/June issue of Humpty Dumpty magazine.  Can't wait to see the illustration.  Hooray!  That really gave me a boost with my writing for today.  Less than a week left.  I just can't believe that. 

Keep writing fellow marathoners - we're almost there!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 21 - Back on track...

So the weekend show choir trip was great... action packed every minute of the day and into the wee hours of the morning.  On Saturday I don't hink we got to bed until 3:00 in trhe morning.  All of the kids - and adults - are still exhausted.  So glad that I saved up my "off days" because I did need to use them on Friday and Saturday.  There was just no time to write but I did get a idea for a new angle on a story I've been working on.  Love when those triggers happen at unexpected times. 

One of the many wonderful side effects of doing the marathon is that I really feel terrible for taking any time off at all - it feels so disappointing.  (And we're allowed two days off this month.)  But this is great because, let's face it, life gets busy and sometimes we can't fit it in.  But now it will be harder to just say "Oh well, didn't have time today."  Just can't do that anymore.

So back to my daily writing.  And this is in spite of the fact that my kiddos are off three days this week.  Here we go.... 
And thank you so much to everyone who has sent me wonderful messages of encouragement.  I appreciate it more than you can imagine. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 17 - It's back!

So glad that I felt like my muse was working with me again today.  I needed it.  Got several new ideas and a manuscript written out for one.  Bringing the others with me this weekend on the high school trip.  No blogging for a few days but promise myself to keep writing.  If things get too crazy - then these will be my two off days for the marathon.  But hopefully I won't have to use them.  Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 16 - Marathon Mojo

Don't they say that the last few miles of a marathon are the hardest?  I think I'm there.   The last few days have been a little rough.  Fortunately we are expecting nearly 60 degree weather tomorrow - following our record breaking snow storm.  Maybe that will give me the much needed boost to get back in the groove.  I'm still writing and am actually ahead of schedule with number of new manuscripts written.  Just need that oomph back.

I'll be out of town this weekend to chaperone a high school show choir competition so I won't be blogging Fri & Sat, but will still try to write during any down time.  Then next weekend off to Lisa Wheeler's Picture Book Boot Camp.  Maybe that's a little bit of the problem - knowing that I'll be out of town a few weekends in a row.  Causing me to be a little distracted with what needs to be done at home.

I was invited to join another critique group this past week and I'm so excited about it.  The focus of the group... you guessed it, picture book revision.  Perfect timing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Days 14 & 15 - Plugging Away...

So things were a little too busy yesterday to get the blogging in but I did make sure that I got the writing done.  We had some Valentine's Day family laser tag to play which took the place of blogging.  So fun.   And today has been one of those days - fortunately not over yet - but I woke up with a new direction for an idea that I've been mulling over for years.  At least got a skeleton rough draft down before I forgot it.

The marathon has had so many benefits that I hadn't even thought about before taking this on.  So glad that I'm doing it.  It's definitely a great investment.  Anyone that I've talked to that told me they thought it would be too much or they just couldn't commit to it - I have been encouraging them to give it a chance - even if it's just for a week.  Give it a try and see what happens. 

The only thing that is getting a little old for me is this daily blogging - not very exciting things to report - but it's helping to keep me on track.  Ready for day 16.  I'm going to try some really different story ideas in the next week.  Some a little out of my comfort zone, so we'll see how far I can push myself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 13 - Two for One

So yesterday was a really good writing day.  Came up with two new stories instead of one.  Love when that happens.  But sadly, I don't think I can count it for today...I'd be missing the whole point.  Sooo...
just finished some submissions, have some revisions to do and will get something new written for day 14.  Half way now!  Maybe it will be a Valentine's Day inspired story....nah, probably not.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 12 - Revision withdrawal...

Day 12's manuscript just morphed into something completely unexpected.  But I think I like it. 

I've realized that one of the many perks of participating in the marathon, is that I am having revision withdrawal.  Never thought I would miss revising...but I really do.  So not only am I making the time to write my new idea each day, but I'm still squeezing in time to revise other manuscripts.  Almost halfway through.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 11 - All out of new ideas? I don't think so...

Brought one of my new manuscripts to critique group today - something very different for me - and they liked it!  Ahhh...  Always a great way to start the day.  This got me on a tangent for revisions then.  So when I got back home I revised a different story for quite awhile.  Feeling pretty good, I asked my husband "Do you think revising a story that I started just before the marathon would count for today?" 

His response....
"Yeah.  You've been working really hard.  It's okay if you're all out of new ideas.  I wouldn't worry about it." 

Hmmm.... took me all of two seconds to jump up and run to the other room to get cracking.  Just what I needed to hear and he knew it.  Day 11 - done.  And it was a NEW idea thank you very much. 

Day 10 - Marathon

Day 10 seems like a milestone, I guess because I've hit "double digits".  But I have to confess, I'm feeling a little ADD.  I usually work on a manuscript, or a few, until I feel really good about them.  This is such a hard feeling to get used to - working on a new one each day.  I have several now that I really like and can't wait to be able to work on them more.  I guess I need to teach myself to let go a little bit and enjoy this new process.  I'll try.  So yesterday's manuscript was really fun.  Off to critique group this morning and then back home to write number 11! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 9 - Marathon

Well, this day was bound to come sooner or later.  Had a sick kiddo home yesterday, but still came up with a new idea.  I thought it seemed pretty clever and unique.  Yay!  But when I sat down last night to work it out, ughhh....  It's a real stinker of a draft.  Maybe I was just tired and it might look better today or next week. 

Did get a lot of other writing things done.  Revisions to a few other stories that I'm super excited about, and... a great e-mail from a fabulous editor. 

Bring on day 10.  I'm feeling energized today.  Come on fellow marathoners - let's do this!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 8 - Marathon

Just finished my PB for today and I am so excited about the concept.  Did some research too and now I can't wait to get back to it.  If February is the month of the PB Marathon, then March will definitely be the month of revisions.  The grand finale for me is Lisa Wheeler's Picture Book Boot Camp later this month.  Three days to be inspired by a master storyteller on perfecting the craft of writing picture books ~ following a month of producing ideas and rough drafts. What perfect timing! 

This is the beautiful logo created for the marathon by Nathan Hale.  More info at

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 7 - Week One is Done!

I can't believe that the first week is already over.  Three more weeks to go!  Today I spent a lot of time at the library and on revisions & research for another story.  I did still manage to get a rough draft written for a new idea tonight.  I really like the idea, but the first draft has a long way to go.  At least I got it down on paper.  Day 7 - check!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Days 5 & 6 Marathon

Today I'm a little sleep deprived but the fuzziness must be working for me. I started writing about one idea and ended up with three new ones that I really like.  I love the concept behind one of them and am very happy with the rough first draft.  I'm thinking that tomorrow's a library day for revisions and a new draft for day 7.  The PB Marathon team sent out the first survey/tally sheet for number of manuscripts produced.  Although I'm a little nervous about not being able to keep up, I'm happy that so far I'm 6 for 6. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 4 - Marathon

Everyone got back to school, but after two days of all of us being home, there was so much to catch up on today.  This could have been one of those days where it was easy to justify not writing.  But thanks to the PBM I was not going to let that happen.  New story, down on paper, and I actually really like it.  Even if it is super rough.  Day four - check.  I'm definitely ready for bed now.  I'm also really glad to be participating in this month-long event.  It's so easy for writers to put off writing when the rest of your life gets too busy - for a day, or week, or month.  This challenge proves to me that no matter how crazy your day is, you can always make time to write.  And will feel better for doing it.  Sweet dreams. 

Day 3 - Picture Book Marathon

Even though the kids were home for their second snow day, I still managed to get a new story down.  Very rough draft but I'm really excited about this idea.  Everyone goes back to school today.  Let's hear it for the next new story and lots of revisions.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 2 and it's a snow day...

Despite the fact that day 2 turned out to be the biggest snow storm the chicago area has seen in forever - AND school was cancelled - I am very proud that I still got a new manuscript down on paper.  Hooray!
We received a call this afternoon that tomorrow will be a "snow day" too.  But that shouldn't be a problem.  Bring it on!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Picture Book Marathon begins!

Well day 1 of the Picture Book marathon is finally here, and I have spent the entire day on writing.  I was so excited that I woke up at 5:00 am - yes, I did get out of bed.  An hour or so later my teenage daughter walked by me and mumbled "You're crazy."  Maybe I am.  I worked on two new stories today.  One was an old idea from my files and one was more recent.  I have to admit to being an "over thinker" today.  I'll try harder tomorrow to just run with it.   

Jean & Lora left this on the PBM blog today, "Remember, it's not about perfection.  The point of the marathon is to run fast enough and far enough that your inner critic will be left gasping for air many miles behind you!"  See ya inner critic.  Don't think you'll be joining me tomorrow.  I'm ready for my chocolate now.