Friday, November 13, 2015

This is Why I Write Children's Books

One day a few years ago, I went into my 11-year-old son's room and found this sign placed over the door of his beneath-the-bed storage space. It had been drawn on computer paper and nailed (yes, nailed) onto a plank of wood, which was then balanced on the end of his bed.

I'm not sure where he got the wood, or how he managed to acquire nails and a hammer with which to affix this dire warning. But obviously, a length of tape would have been insufficient. And a bit too neat for an ogre, I think.

Fortunately for my son, he was wise enough to nail this sign to a random piece of wood rather than to his actual bed. But had he chosen to do the latter, I still would have smiled and taken this picture.

Because this warning sign represents exactly the kind of imaginative thinking I have been working to instill in my children through books and creative endeavors. It represents the part of childhood that should always stay with them, no matter how old they live to be.

I want to capture these moments and preserve them in stories and poems so that they can inspire children to think, and create, and always keep a sense of wonder about the world around them. Or in their minds. Or, in my son's case, in the ogre cave under his bed.

This is why I write children's books.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

PiBoIdMo: Accidentally On Purpose

It's November again, and that means NaNoWriMo for some, PiBoIdMo for others, and for a few of them maybe even both!

But not me. I'm in no shape to do both challenges this year. So, PiBoIdMo it is for me!

It's day 4, and already I have FOURTEEN ideas in my Picture Book Idea Month journal. (See it there on the left? I decided to get out my markers and make a colorful title page for it.)

Fourteen ideas in four days isn't too shabby, right? So, how did I do it?

A few of my new ideas came from a couple short brainstorming sessions with Corey. But the others I just sort of happened upon. Accidentally on purpose.

Do you know that scene in the movie Forest Gump, in which the feather floats on a breeze until it finally lands at Forest's feet? That's what I mean when I say "accidentally on purpose."

You see, when I have my PiBoIdMo journal open on my lap, I usually just let my mind wander. I'll stare out the window, look around the room, or sometimes even close my eyes. And then I just float around on a breeze until I settle on an idea. Sometimes the idea is so faint that it nearly blows away on a breeze of its own. Other times the idea is as solid as a lump of clay, ready for me to shape it into a story.

I'm certain that I'll have 30 or more ideas by the end of November. And if I'm truly fortunate, a few of them will make it out of the idea book and into a Word document, and beyond!

What about you? Are you participating in a writing challenge this month?