PiBoIdMo Prep 2014: Mining for Ideas

Come November, I’m usually physically and emotionally spent. I’m exhausted from the first few months of school and anticipating the exhaustion of the holidays.

But a challenge comes along every November that I just can’t pass up.

piboidmo2014banner

PiBoIdMo. Picture Book Idea Month, started by the amazing Tara Lazar. I’ve written about my experiences with PiBoIdMo in 2012 and 2013.

I should have declared 2014 the “Year of the Picture Book” because when I reflect on all of the writing classes and conferences I’ve attended, they’ve leaned heavily toward picture books. As PiBoIdMo creeps closer on the calendar, I realize, I’m armed and ready.

I take copious notes at conferences. Not only do I write down the key points the speaker is making, but I also jot notes to myself while they are talking. Reflections of how I could use this point in my own writing. What WIPs (works-in-progress) does this apply to? Or what new ideas does this conjure up?

For PiBoIdMo 2014, I’m planning to mine my notes. Usually I spend my year mining my PiBoIdMo journal when I’m looking to write a new picture book draft.

2013 PiBoIdMo Journal

2013 PiBoIdMo Journal

But this year, I’m going to do a bit of a reverso.

This year, I’m going to mine my other journals and notes from conferences to come up with my PiBoIdMo ideas.

I once heard Candice Ransom talk about how she keeps a journal, but also spends time going back through the journals to mine them for ideas. It’s hard to utilize all of those gems you captured in a journal in your writing, if you don’t go back and dig through them.

One of the journals I'll be mining for ideas for PiBoIdMo 2014

One of the journals I’ll be mining for ideas for PiBoIdMo 2014

This year, instead of trying to pluck ideas from the clear blue sky (though I would be happy if they did coming falling down), I plan to mine them out. I know I have ideas sitting there, ready to be grabbed. I just need to dig deep and pull them to the surface.

I’m gathering…

1) journals from the last year (yes, plural, I have them in my car, my purse, by my bed, and on my desk)

2) notes from Susanna Leonard Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic class

3) notes from Renee LaTulippe’s Lyrical Language Lab class

4) notes from the WOW conference (I took particularly copious notes in Lisa Wheeler, Stacy McAnulty, Miranda Paul, and Jodell Sadler’s sessions)

5) notes from the Picture book workshop I took with Lola Schaefer and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

6) notes from Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen’s Picture Book Plotting class

As I look through all of my notes, I will get to revisit those “in the moment” ideas I wrote down. These ideas will go down in my PiBoIdMo journal for 2014. And I’m sure that I’ll be mining that journal all of 2015 when I write my picture book drafts.

This year's PiBoIdMo Journal

This year’s PiBoIdMo Journal

 

How are you prepping for PiBoIdMo this year?

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Comments

  1. Love the idea of adding “ah hah thoughts as you attend workshops, take courses etc. I took soooo many notes at the WOW retreat – will have to go over them again. 2014 is turning out to be pb year as well for me. Great post!

    • Thanks, Bev! I combed through my notes when I returned, but I want to go back again and take a look at those things I wrote down that might lead to potential books. 🙂 Great to hear from you!

  2. Great idea, Marcie! I sometimes feel like I’m hopping so quickly from one thing to the next that I don’t have time to go back and reflect. This is a good reminder.

  3. Great reminder!!
    I will need to pour through my various journals, maybe even my old PiBodIdMo journals from year’s past. Since we are always growing as writers, I am sure of the following:
    old ideas + new craft skills (classes, conferences) == Bigger and better PB ideas!