I LOVE trying new things, especially when it comes to writing. But with all the middle grade projects I’ve been working on, the last thing I needed was a whole new audience to write for. At least that’s what I kept telling myself every time the thought of writing picture books peeked around the corner.
But then I discovered, Storystorm 2021. It’s an annual event where for each day of January, Author Tara Lazar has picture book authors post about generating new story ideas. Their words were so inspiring, it was exhilarating! Lauren Kerstein’s post especially spoke to me. Now picture book writing wasn’t just peeking around the corner, it was sticking its tongue out at me–daring me to give chase!
I couldn’t resist. I immediately put Kerstein’s method to work and came up with a great idea! I couldn’t stop there, so I continued on to draft my first picture book. Picture books are short–500 words or less for fictional stories, so many people think they’re easy to write. But the truth is, this is the very reason they are so challenging. Every word counts, and you have to accomplish a whole lot within that time. Now that picture books had my full attention, I dove headfirst into learning the ropes–taking some online courses, and studying Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books.
Another fantastic resource I found is Julie Hedlund’s 12X12 challenge, where the goal is to draft at least one new picture book each month during the year. It has been just the motivation I needed. Not every draft I write works out, but each time I sit down to brainstorm a new one, the anticipation is just like I feel before going to a party. My own little picture book party!