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Peggy's Pages Blog 

Start Out the New Year With Some Motivation!

It's mid-January and not too late to start out the 'still' new year with some writing motivation!


One thing that I am doing is to find 'one new idea every day' with Storystorm 2024. It doesn't matter if I fall short of my goal. It's getting started that counts. Throughout January on Tara Lazar's blog you'll find daily posts by published authors on finding ideas, trying new directions in writing, research tools, the power of small steps and much more. Although registration is now closed, you can still read the blog posts by a different published author each day for inspiration and motivation.


I also attended an online class this month on Writing Poetry for Children with April Halprin Wayland and found a new poetry form that I had never tried before, an 'envelope poem.'. Words are still swirling in my mind, but I do know that it will begin and end with the word "Wheeee!" Click here to find upcoming classes by April.


Then there's the new podcast, Way-Word Writers!  Headed up by Literary Agent Heather Cashman and children's authors Nicki Jacobsmeyer and Stephanie Bearce, Way-Word Writers hosts a weekly writers' podcast, classes and workshops and in-person retreats. While there, sign up for their newsletter!


If you are an un-agented picture book author with a finished and polished picture book manuscript, be sure to check out the 2024 PBParty contest hosted by Mindy Alyse Weiss here! I was glad I entered last year!


Finding time is not always easy, and as a mother of six (now grown) children I know how that goes! It can be tricky trying to fit in time to write and learn but putting it on your calendar helps. Setting a goal to write even once or twice a week helps. You may have weeks that are just too crazy to write, but more often than not you'll find yourself exceeding your goal! I will never forget the advice that I once read to compare your writing to something else that you love doing. Then spend as much time as you do on that other thing on your writing.


Last year my husband and I were watching our two-year old granddaughter full time. It did help to have two of us. I managed to attend my zoom critique group meetings, which is great motivation in itself! And somehow I also found time to write. Here's how that went…


I started out with Storystorm—it didn't matter if I reached my goal, but it helped get my creative juices flowing. Writing down my ideas was 'writing' to me.


Then I heard about the 2023 PBParty contest. I pulled out a very old manuscript and told myself, "Ok! You can do this!" I focused on the rules, and with help from my critique partners, learned how to write a query letter and find comps for my story. I revised my story, focusing on the first 60-70 words, since that was what would be submitted. My goal was to complete my submission and learn from the process, as well as having a polished manuscript ready to send out. When I found that my story was in the top 50 and would be one of those 50 featured on the PBParty list of finalists I was over the moon! I had invitations to submit the complete manuscript from four agents and one editor. Here's the chain reaction:


entering the PBParty contest, to

signing with an amazing agent, to

signing a contract for my book with a wonderful publishing company! (more to come on that!)


I'm so happy to be on board with Kristina Sutton Lennon of Focused Artists! And look forward to what comes next!


I don't know what 2024 will bring, but I plan to keep writing and learning. Meeting with other children's authors / friends in my critique groups helps keep me motivated. My list of podcasts to listen to and websites to visit is endless. But I'll just take it one step at a time.


I hope this blog post helps keep you motivated and writing in 2024!



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PiBoIdMo--Picture Book Idea Month

I’m often asked where my ideas come from when it comes to writing picture books. I am never at a loss for ideas! I get ideas from what other people say, from what I see around me, from music, trivia and other books. And especially from being around children.

I love being around kids. And they give me lots of food for thought! Two of our grandsons play soccer. Have you ever watched four year-olds play soccer? It’s a hoot! Here’s one scenario.

Four year-old is on the field and casually walks over to sit on the bench. His coach patiently coaxes him back onto the field.
A couple of minutes later the same player comes back to the sideline. “I’m tired of playing,” he says.
Coach again coaxes him back onto the field, only to have him come back to the sideline, face his coach with hands on his hips, and say in a loud voice, “BUT I DON'T WANT TO PLAY ANYMORE!”
I’m not sure how his coach did it, but the player ended up back on the field and he suddenly seemed to be having fun.

By the time the kids get to second grade they’re more into the game. I went to one of our older grandson’s games and my friend’s son was playing on the opposing team.
“He thinks you’re here to watch him play,” Susan said.
“That’s ok,” I told her. “I am watching him.”
I cheered for our grandson, and I also cheered for my friend’s son.
A couple of weeks later I saw them at church and he asked me, “So—did you come to the game to see me or someone else?”
Groan! He must have figured it out! I thought fast and said, “I came to watch my grandson and you, too! And I had so much fun I cheered for both of you!”

There’s got to be at least one picture book and one early reader book in there someplace!

PiBoIdMo stands for Picture Book Idea Month. Every November, on her website, Tara Lazar hosts PiBoIdMo. The challenge is to come up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write 30 picture books, only come up with the ideas. Every day in November there is a new guest blogger who talks about writing picture books. And there are some great prizes to win. I’ve participated in years past, and I loved it! This year I just wasn’t able to manage it, but I hope to meet the challenge again in 2015.

What PiBoIdMO did for me was get the creative juices flowing! It got thinking, and made me more aware of the things I saw and heard each day. I used a large calendar page to write them down. Each time I participated I came up with at least 20 new picture book ideas, and sometimes more than the 30 that I needed.

Even if you didn’t sign up as a participant this year, you can still go to the PiBoIdMo website and read the daily blogs posted by picture book authors, illustrators, editors and other kidlit professionals.

It’s more fun to do with other writers to share the challenge and cheer you on, but if you missed out on signing up this year, you can still start you own personal challenge any time. Write down your ideas for a week, or ten days. The following PiBoIdMo posts are only a few of the ones that I liked about how to get those picture book ideas.

Day 7—Jennifer Arena, author and editor, shares The George Stanley Idea Generator chart to help you come up with ideas for books with hooks.

Day 11—Tammi Sauer talks about the ‘How To’ structure. Fill in the blanks to come up with more picture book ideas.

Day 13—Corey Rosen Schwartz talks about how to get your 30 ideas, beginning with ‘Write down everything!’

Day 20—Henry Herz says “Everything I know about writing picture books, I learned from animals.” His post offers readers the nine B’s of inspiration for creating picture books.

Day 24—Read what agents have to say about why they love picture books.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the PiBoIdMo challenge in November 2015!  Read More 
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Picture Book Idea Month—November 2012!

Picture book writers—do you need some daily inspiration? A goal to keep you going? Sign up at Tara Lazar’s blog site for PiBoIdMo—Picture Book Idea Month!

The idea is to come up with a picture book idea every day in November. Get your juices flowing! The more ideas you find, the more likely one, or more, will evolve into a finished picture book. “Daily blog posts by picture book authors, illustrators, editors and other kidlit professionals will help inspire you.”

Log onto Tara’s blogsite at www.taralazar.com (or click on the link under the banner at the right) and click on ‘PiBoIdMo’ to read about the challenge. Then click on the link to register by November 4th to accept the challenge. Those registered have a chance to win some great prizes which you’ll find listed on the PiBoIdMo site.

The fun has already started. Read the guest blog posts and find out where other picture book authors get their ideas. Then get set to create your own month of picture book ideas to follow up on later!
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