[UPDATE: PiBoIdMo 2010 sign-up has begun. Do not sign up on this post. Go to the PiBoIdMo 2010 kick-off post, scroll to the bottom and leave a comment to sign up.]

It’s here! Picture Book Idea Month!


Sharpen those pencils, open a Word document, grab a crayon. It doesn’t matter what you use, what matters is that you get an initial idea down. You might get such a great idea you can’t help but write the story immediately, or you might just record the first entry in this month’s idea file and leave it for a future burst of creativity.

I had so much fun doing this last year, but I was all by myself. I’m happy to have you join me. Four of the ideas from November 2008’s idea file turned into picture book manuscripts and one is out on submission. I expect you to have even better results.

So how is this going to work?

Stop here once a day in November for a new inspirational little tale. We’ll have guest bloggers and giveaways. And at the end of the month, if you’ve collected 30 ideas, you’ll get a PiBoIdMo badge for your blog (based on the logo above by Ryan Hipp) and a special super-secret prize. (You’ve guessed it, “super-secret” is code for “I don’t know what it is yet.”)

Now, get out of your seat.

That’s right.

I advocate butt-in-chair for getting writing done, but now I want you to jump up.

arearugGo lift up that area rug.

Peek underneath.

What would you expect to find there? Footprints, dust bunnies, a penny, a plastic board game piece missing since 2003?

What would you NOT expect to find there?

Now go stand in the far corner of the room.

(Don’t worry, you’re not being punished.)

Turn around and face the room.

Have you ever looked at this room from this angle? Probably not. What’s different about the room?

Now run outside.

(You get a rain check if it’s pouring.)

treesfenceStand beneath a clump of trees.

What would a child create out of this little spot? Now imagine this same clump of trees in a different season. Did the child’s creation change?

OK, I hear you breathing hard. You’re tired of running around. And your neighbors are starting to gossip.

I think you get the point.

Change your perspective. Do things differently this month.

If you walk your kids to school every day, take a different path.

If you shop at a particular grocery store, go to a different one.

Start looking at your world from strange new angles.

spoonWhen we settle into a routine, we take things for granted. The teaspoon you use to stir your morning coffee is just a spoon, but Amy Krouse Rosenthal turned that spoon into the main character of a picture book.

Go sit now.

Open your notebook or Word document.

Write something down—a working title, a character’s name, a location, an unusual object. Something that may someday sprout into a story. You don’t have to write the story now, you just have to file the idea away for another day.

And you don’t have to stop at one idea a day. If you get a non-stop flicker of flashbulb moments, just keep writing.

All month long that idea file will grow. Maybe today’s idea will connect with an idea on November 14th and you’ll start building a plot in your head. Who knows? Anything can happen this month.

That’s the idea.

So, how’s it going?