Carol's professional photo for booksby Carol Gordon Ekster

Whew! You finished your 30 PiBoIdMo ideas.

Now what?

Stare at them. Admire them! Write them all at once?

Good luck with that! One of the great things about being a writer is that you are your own boss and you can do as you like!

Don’t tell anyone…I cheat a bit with this PiBoIdMo concept. For me it’s morePiBoIdMoS. The minute I hear the first whisper that PiBoIdMo is coming, whether through Tara’s tweets, Facebook page, or her blog, I start a document on my desk: “PIBOIDMO 2014.”

Yes, technically I start before November 1st, and I keep going! It gets me on a roll…deeper listening, inspiration from all the posts, and a mind more opened to all those picture book possibilities. Every new idea that follows will get listed on that sheet, maybe through February, maybe until I open the “PIBOIDMO 2015” document. Then when I’m finished working on a manuscript, revision, or submission and I’m ready to start a new story, I’ll glance through those ideas. (I have a document for ’12 and ’13 that I still revisit.)

I’ve never deleted any of the less than fabulous story concepts, but I have highlighted a few that I thought had potential. Sometimes, right under a numbered idea, I start the story’s beginning. It just flows from my finger tips. I don’t have an organized plan. I go with my gut.

When I start a separate document for a numbered idea, I know I’m serious about it. I never forced the beginning of one of those ideas. I waited until the idea grabbed me and said, “It’s time. Start the draft!” I have to feel it. I’ve developed quite a few of those ideas from the past years into manuscripts. I drafted, rewrote, revised and brought them to critique groups. None of those stories have yet to be acquired. But I have faith that some will…when the time is right. Though I have gotten “the call” on one…but no contract in hand as yet.

This year there was mention of PiBoIdMo kick-off parties. A fabulous gathering spot for writers, The Writer’s Loft, had one. And though I couldn’t make it, I was there in spirit. But I think we also need AFTER-PARTIES, as a way to celebrate all that thinking, all those brilliant ideas. Perhaps gather other PiBoIdMo’ers and plan a few peer critique sit-ins—where large groups gather and break into smaller groups to share their manuscripts. (Of course, bring snacks and allow time for socializing, too!)

If you can’t do that, find another way to get other writers’ eyes on your story. This step is imperative. Once those critiques are in, it is time to polish and revise and incorporate all that you have learned about craft and about picture books. This is where it counts. This is where we water and love those seeds of ideas until they sprout into the best possible work we can create. For every story idea you develop into a manuscript, make a “sentence” document for that title. This way you can brainstorm many different ways to word each thought until you get the perfect line up of words, until each sentence sings. Don’t be lazy. Get it right. Someday, you’ll be touching a life with that story. Don’t settle for less than the best you are capable of.

Before you know it, we’ll be preparing for “PIBOIDMO 2015”. Don’t let all this creativity be forgotten. Continue to glance back at your ideas. You never know when that gem of a manuscript is ready to emerge and start its route to publication.


Carol Gordon Ekster was a passionate elementary school teacher for 35 years. Her first book, Where Am I Sleeping Tonight? — A Story of Divorce, Boulden Publishing, 2008, was an Readers’ Choice 2012 finalist for Best Children’s Book for Single Parents. “The Library Is The Perfect Place”, was in Library Sparks magazine, 2010. A picture book, Ruth The Sleuth and The Messy Room, on Character Publishing’s debut list, 2011, was awarded the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Before I Sleep: I Say Thank You, comes out January 1, 2015 with Pauline Books & Media. Her first e-book, Hip Hopping Books, will be out with Schoolwide Inc.’s digital library, winter 2015. Retired from teaching, Carol now spends time in critique groups, doing exercise and yoga, and working on her books. She’s grateful that her writing allows her to continue communicating with children. Find out more at and follow her on Twitter @cekster.


Carol is giving away a signed copy of BEFORE I SLEEP!

Front Cover - Before I Sleep  copy

This prize will be given away 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.

Good luck, everyone!