kellylightby Kelly Light

I don’t want to talk about feelings. I don’t want to pamper you. I’m not gonna nurture your spirit. I’m not gonna help you find your happy place where ideas grow like flowers.

I want to make you work.

I want to talk about just how hard you are going to have to work if you really want to create children’s books.

I’m gonna get real here, folks. I could try to inspire you with lots of spiritual mumbo jumbo, but I’d rather kick you in the tuchus.

‘Cause that is what you need. I’m gonna be tough. I am gonna go all medieval on that butt.

I wish I could get Samuel L. Jackson to read this post to you…but this is just me, the voice of experience..sending you some tough love today.


You now have one week left of PiBoIdMo. You’ve taken on the challenge. When the month is over – don’t put down the pencil.

Never put down the pencil.

I am talking commitment on a new level.

Ten minutes a day is not going to lead to getting a book written or drawn or dummied or submitted. If that’s what you have managed to do everyday for three weeks, making children’s books may not be the job for you.

I know, I know….you’re calling me some choice words right about now. Hear me out.

This month is about coming up with ideas. Which is an important first step. What are you going to do with those ideas?

An idea is just a spark. You have to cut down the trees and chop them into logs until your blistered and bleeding and collect kindling and learned how to build the right wood pile tee-pee…to make a fire…to make that spark ignite into a blaze.

You aren’t gonna get warm with just a spark.

You are gonna freeze like a motha #$%&#%.

Don’t stop after ten minutes. Don’t stop after a month.

This is hard work. This is hours and hours of work.

If you want to get published, want it more than anything or want it more than everyone else, than this is the job for you.

Job. Not dream. Not hobby.

If you are in this for the long haul, start your haul now. You want a career in this? Act like you already have one.

Fasten your seat belts while you have your “Butt in Chair,” folks, and only get out of it to go to the john!

If you really want this, keep reading. If you think you may get to that book dummy you have had on your desk for the last two years or you might write down that idea you had four years ago that you know is genius and a best seller and the next Fancy Nancy or Diary of a Wimpy Kid and you’ll get around to it after you’ve decided “you’re ready” and you’ve taken 24 more writing workshops….you may want to stop reading now.

I’m about to get meaner.


I said you need to want this more than everyone else.

I wanted this more than you.

Harsh, right?

But true.

I wanted this so badly I was like a pitt bull. Jaws of steal clamped down on this career.

Who do you think of as the people successful in publishing?

Those people wanted to be in it more than everybody else.

They had the drive. The determination.

They were like dogs on a bone.

They write to write and draw to draw, day after day, after day.

They don’t just consider it a hard job that they love….but also consider it oxygen.

You can’t exist without oxygen. You can’t only breathe for ten minutes a day.

You are dedicating the month of November to generate picture book ideas. Dedicate the next 12 months to turning your ideas into manuscripts and book dummies.

Ideas are not delivered under your pillow by the Idea Fairy. Ideas are generated, manufactured by work. You need to be an idea factory. A word factory. An image factory.

You have to grind these ideas into something. You have to pound them into shape. You have to process them into something useful, intelligent, imaginative and appealing.

You have to billow steam and pollute your life to make something that matters.


The biggest pieces of the 1000 piece puzzle to publication are hard work, passion, believing in yourself, perseverance, persistence, patience and opportunity.

Talent—or a better word, SKILL—is the last and smallest piece of the puzzle. When all other pieces have been put in place…you need the the skills developed and ready for when opportunity knocks. Or YOU kick down the #@$@%*$ door.

You had better have the goods and be ready to work. You can only be ready if you are ALWAYS creating new work.


That’s in like, everyday.

I now work 7 days a week. 10 hours a day.

I worked hard to get here but I had no idea how much harder I would work once I got books.

So work that tuchus off this week. Don’t half-ass it.


What you have come up with this month will not be brilliant. But what you think has potential should not sit on your desk until the next PiboIdMo.

Finish it. Really, finish it. Finish one. The next one will be easier. And the next. Just finish.

Polish it. It’s no good until you rework it, over and over……..

Send it off. To a crit group. To an agent. To a editor. If you don’t submit, nothing will ever happen. Nothing. Ever. Nada. Zip. Ze-ro.

Believe in it and yourself. You are as much a work in progress as your work. Own your work where it is right now. Make no excuses for it or where you are in your development at this very moment.

The Beatles could never have made “Hey Jude” without first making “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”.

Take your work in hand and hand – it – over – to be looked at by many people who know more than you.

Move on. NEXT! Next challenge, next idea, next month, next story, next project… you are factory now, remember? DO NOT PRESS THAT BIG RED STOP BUTTON. DO NOT SHUT DOWN THE LINE.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Think of me. By next PiboIdmo, I will have met 4 book deadlines working 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

I wanted it more than you. Now YOU go—beat ME at wanting it.

My inspirational foot is kicking your backside. Go to work.

Don’t make me come over there.


No Samuel L. Jacksons were harmed in the making of this post.


Kelly Light has a lot of books to work on. She is illustrator of “The Quirks” series from Bloomsbury. “Elvis and the Underdogs” from Balzer and Bray, her picture book “Louise Loves Art” is out next Fall 2014 from Balzer and Bray with more Louise books to follow,
“just Add Glitter” comes out 2016 from Beach Lane Books and the hits just keep on coming…

Check out Kelly’s work at

All opinions expressed above were solely Kelly’s and not the opinions of PiBoIdMo or it’s affiliates.


Kelly is giving away signed copies of “The Quirks” and “Elvis and The Underdogs”.

Two winners will be randomly selected at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You are eligible for this prize if:

  1. You have registered for PiBoIdMo.
  2. You have commented ONCE ONLY on today’s post.
  3. You have completed the PiBoIdMo challenge. (You will have to sign the PiBoIdMo Pledge at the end of the event.)

Good luck, everyone!