Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Every November comes with many challenges. The best ones are the challenges that help us learn, grow and exercise our grey matter. Some of my very favorite challenges for this time of year are the PiBoIdMo and the NaNoWriMo challenges along with the SCBWI Tomie dePaola contest.

PiBoIdMo is the Picture Book Idea Month that is hosted by Tara Lazar on her blog,  Writing for Children (While Raising Them). Registration ends November 4th. The month is a lot of fun and a great way for picture book writers to gather (online), talk and generate ideas for future picture books! The discussions are fun and you can almost feel the creative energy flowing through the computers!

NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month: November 1st - 30th  - Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon! The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That breaks down to an average of 1,666.66 words per day! Writing that many words in 30 days might not sound very hard to some people, but for me it is quite a challenge! To paraphrase author Jane Yolen, it requires us to sit in our chairs and write! That does not mean sit in our chairs and check our emails, or go on facebook, or do any of the other time wasters that are calling us through our computer screens. It requires us to focus and write! So I'll grab my large coffee mug filled to the brim with strong, dark coffee, put on music appropriate for what I want to write to get me in the mood and get down to work.

This year, the Tomie dePaola contest has a twist. Instead of Tomie choosing a particular text or story to illustrate, the participants will choose their own text from a choice of three books, The Yearling, Little Women, and The Adventures of Tom Saywer.  Last year it was great seeing the variety of entries that were posted by Diandra Mae on the Unofficial Gallery of the Tomie dePaola Award. This years entries can be seen at 2013 SCBWI Tomie dePaola contest gallery. I can't wait to see what has been submitted! Fortunately, I have already been working on this one and hopefully will have it done before the end of October!

It may seem like these three challenges are conflicting and work against each other. It does feel at times like I have so many balls in the air that I risk being knocked unconscious as balls threaten to drop and clunk me on the head! It is hard to keep them all airborne and moving. After all these three challenges do not include the rest of what is going on in life. But the point of a challenge is to try. Challenges move us forward, spurring us towards a goal. Who knows, I just may succeed!

Wish me luck!

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