by Kayleen West
As a child, my mother used to tell everyone, “She’s such a daydreamer (adding a disapproving sigh).” I used to hate it, but she was right; I do dream big—and love it, it’s what creative people do best. You may be the same. When communicating in words or pictures it is the way we bless others. We invite others into our dreams and adventures, make them smile, laugh or indulge a little. I am a dreamer. I do dream of a better world-it can be ugly. I can’t save children from pain and disappointment, but if my books help a child smile, laugh, or feel better about themselves or their situation, I have contributed.
I started living this dream job in late 2010. I began late in life (I’m 48) but threw everything into it. I hope to bring many book babies into the world. There is nothing better than adding positives to a child’s life, and what better way than through picture books.
When Tara asked me to share my success story, I was eager to have the opportunity to publicly thank her. I never forgot PiBoIdMo had been instrumental in the birth of my new book, and had helped me form a good habit. You know, we can be slogging away in this industry, unaware of the impact we can have on others. She may blush at this but Tara should be credited with sowing seeds of success with her creative challenge. It is an unpaid gig but something to be very proud of. So thank you Tara!
I love creative challenges. They motivate me to be brave, step out in the new, learn, and grow as an artist. I tend to throw myself in 200% believing for something great—no loss in trying right?
Participating in the November 2011 PiBoIdMo I made a commitment to find a minimum of 30 picture book ideas. I focussed more on creating the habit daily rather than the quantity. Giving it my usual 200% I finished with almost double my intended goal. I was also left with the motivation to write more often.
Loaded with a smorgasbord of ideas and incredibly inspired, I began developing a few. You’ll never guess which one made it into publication first? Answer: the very last one—my last idea became my first publishing house success. WITHOUT ME, published by Wombat Books, has just been pre-released this month and will be launched in November. Sometimes we give up just before success. I wonder what if I had not completed the 30 days? Okay, let’s not go there.
Thinking up ideas wasn’t difficult as I am often flooded with inspiration if I look for it. My challenge is always deciding which ideas to develop and not all at once. I get pretty enthusiastic. Many of the ideas that presented themselves from PiBoldMo were worth exploring, and so I have worked to develop more of them. Anyone else need an extra lifetime for writing?
I haven’t submitted many at all. After signing with Wombat Books, everything took off like crazy (personally and professionally), including a second, third, and possibly a forth picture book contract in the past 12 months! Do note that two of these I am illustrating only. I only say this to show you that contract work can snowball once you get started. Sometimes publishers want to see you will follow through and are easy to work with.
At the time I was working on my very first picture book, ADOPTIVE FATHER (a personal non-profit project) which was very important and a lot was going on, but I decided that PiBoldMo was a good investment of my time—was I right OR WHAT?
I hope this inspires you to throw yourself into PiBoldMo 2013 and see what you come up with. I pray my success story encourages you to sign up, be inspired and birth a publishing winner this November.
Hopefully we will be reading about your book next year.
Although an initial childhood dream was to write and illustrate for children, Kayleen West was encouraged to venture into a career of an exhibiting fine artist and later a graphic designer.
Returning to her original passion, Kayleen is now a published children’s Author and Illustrator working on her forth children’s book. She also writes Christian content for magazines and blogs.
Her work has won many awards and hangs in private and corporate collections in France, United States, Italy, in the Australian Embassy in Ireland and in government collections in Australia.
Kayleen is giving away TWO signed picture books! ADOPTIVE FATHER and WITHOUT ME?.
Both prizes will be given away at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You are eligible for these prizes if:
- You have registered for PiBoIdMo.
- You have commented ONCE ONLY on this post.
- You have completed the PiBoIdMo challenge. (You will have to sign the PiBoIdMo Pledge at the end of the event.)
Good luck, everyone!