by Corey Rosen Schwartz

Last year, I participated in PiBoIdMo. At the end of the month, I had about 34 ideas on my list. Participants were writing to Tara with comments like “Oh, I am jumping out of my socks with excitement to get started developing all these FABULOUS ideas into picture books” and “I have 30+ of the best ideas on the planet and I am certain they will be lining the shelves of bookstores by spring.”

I looked at my list. And I thought “Blech.” I don’t have a single good idea. I was irritable. And jealous. Why is everyone else feeling so motivated and inspired, and I am feeling like an utter failure? I even joked on my blog:

While other people have come up with 30 wonderful diverse ideas for PiBoIdMo, I have a list of 30 pathetic variations on the Three Bears theme.

Goldifox and the Three Hares
Tawnylocks, Goldi’s Little Known Twin
Goldi-Rocks and The Three Bear Band

Well, the joke is on me. Because guess what? I ended up selling GOLDI ROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS to Putnam!

So, here is my humble advice. Don’t dismiss any of your ideas.

Finding the perfect idea is like mining. What may not seem at first to be a dazzling gem, may end up being your diamond in the rough. You have to sift carefully through what you’ve collected. Show your list to some trusted people. Even if you don’t win the agent prize, you can still get feedback. Ask a writer friend or critique partner to view your list. Ask your kids! Get a second opinion. And a third.

I may have missed the initial sparkle, but let me tell you… my blog followers did not. They commented in droves “The GOLDI ROCKS one shines.” I was too visually impaired to see it, but they realized it right away and let me know I’d struck gold.

And keep your list going all year. Add to it, when the littlest inkling crosses your mind.

GOLDI ROCKS was idea #28.

You never know when you are going to hit your jackpot.

Corey Rosen Schwartz is the author of Hop! Plop!, an Eric Carle Museum Picture Book of Distinction. Her next book, THREE NINJA PIGS, is due for release in 2012 (not soon enough in Tara’s opinion). It will be followed by GOLDI ROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS, which would never have been conceived were it not for PiBoIdMo. Corey spends her free time Facebooking all the funny things that come out of her five and six year old’s mouths. (You never know what comment will inspire a PB!)

Corey has generously donated a picture book critique as one of the PiBoIdMo prizes. A random winner will be chosen in early December, from those who have completed the 30-ideas-in-30 days challenge.