Picture Book Writing: Staying Motivated Year Round

I always start the year with great intentions.  Surely I can rough 12 or 15 different manuscripts!   And, in reality, I could.  A rough is easy peasy.  Rewriting it and making it work?  That’s tough.

What is really hard for me is staying motivated. A work-for-hire project comes along and I don’t get those rough drafts done. The words start really flowing on my novel and that takes priority, pushing picture book rewrites aside.

Staying motivated is tough!

Fortunately, Writers’ Rumpus is here to help.  Each month, they post all of the picture book opportunities that they discover.  They just posted for January.

Some items are available at no cost.  For January, those include:

  • Color Collective: A color-based illustration challenge.
  • Ditty of the Month: A poetry writing challenge.
  • Illustration Friday:  Challenges illustrators with a theme for week.  I’ve used the prompt and also the illustrations to generate ideas.
  • Nonfiction Fest:  This is free but you have to register in January.
  • Storystorm: Tara Lazar’s idea generation challenge.

Other items involve a cost, including:

  • 12×12 Picture Book Challenge:  I’m not sure what this one costs but I’ve had friends due it and they have many positive things to say.
  • Rate Your Story: Subscription for manuscript critiques by industry professionals.
  • Storyteller Academy: Courses about writing and illustrating for children.

So far, I’ve signed up for both Storystorm and also Nonfiction Fest.  I suspect that each month I’ll take advantage of an item or two.  And, in all truth, if that leads to a new manuscript a month or even every other month that is a good thing.

Two other things that help me stay motivated?  My critique group and my accountability group.  My critique group meets monthly and we critique each others work in addition to discussing markets.  My accountability group is online.  In addition to goal setting and motivating each other, we also critique.  Knowing that there are people waiting to read my work keeps me moving forward.

Take a look at the listings on Writers’ Rumpus.  With a wide variety of programs listed, one of them is bound to be a good fit.


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