It is with sadness and joy that I approach the end of PiBoIdMo. It reminds me that there are certain things that are so special the FIRST time you do them. You may continue to do them over and over, but that first time is magical. NaNo was like that. The first time I wrote an entire novel in 30 days, I felt like Captain America. I could take on the world. I could do anything. Like the first time you have a baby. It's, like, I am capable of anything. PiBoIdMo has been like that for me. 30 ideas in 30 days. And if you've been reading my posts, you know that I actually set the bar a bit higher. If there was ever an idea I didn't LOVE, it didn't count. I went back and re-did that day, so after today, I will actually have 30 project ideas (and good beginnings) that I LOVE. This whole experiment confirms the magic of the writing process.
When you're writing a novel, you write your 2000 pages a day or whatever you do, and it takes every ounce of you to do it most days. Truly, you open a vein and pour it on the page as Stephen King says. (I think it's SK--could have been Anne Lamott--I'll get back to you on that one) You feel fantastic. It's a feeling unlike any other, and if you're a writer like me, missing a day of writing is very difficult. It makes you moody, disconnected, and something inside is just pent-up. NOthing will cure it except writing. Occasionally my husband will come home to me in a mood, and he'll send me out to my office to write for a few minutes. It always works. Always. But back to my point. Most days when I finish writing I have NO IDEA what I'll write the next day. Even though it's a novel, and I often know the general direction it's going, the path is uncertain and the details like dialogue and character subplots are definitely uncertain. I try to think about it a bit before I go to bed each night, but I am generally clueless. Then LIKE MAGIC the next morning, BIC (the real secret of writing), it comes. It flows. And the story goes on. That's how it happens day after day after day until the story is told. Day after day, you have no idea where the next day's story is going to come from, but it keeps coming. It ALWAYS keeps coming. Now it's taken me ten years to realize that. Amateurs think they HAVE to stay up all night to write a good idea until it's gone(and honestly, lots of times we WANT to), but you don't have to. The creative juices replenish every day. It's a wonder.
So you see I KNEW this about writing novels. I KNEW that the process would always deliver in a longer manuscript. I had learned to TRUST THE PROCESS in writing a novel. But picture books? A new idea every day? And a really good one? Sure, I figured I could come up with some cute little story a day, blah, blah, blah, and I thought that by the end of the month, I might have a few keepers. I figured the exercise would be good practice in the structure of a story, etc. But it wasn't like that at all. It was just like writing a novel. I would go to bed, truly, WITHOUT A CLUE, every night. I would be SO excited about my newest awesome fresh and funny idea that I said to myself, over and over, "Well, the whole month is worth this one idea." But then they kept coming. Better and better. Last night, the second to last day, I may have had my best idea of all. Except there's still today...
So I am SO excited to get BIC this morning. I cannot wait to see what awaits me at the keyboard and sketchpad today because I now know that my next great idea is right around the bend. Don't get me wrong, all the ideas aren't great, but I push and reject and manipulate and play until they are great.
And you know what I think? I think that stinking Jane Yolen (LOVE YOU, JY!) has know this all along. And she may have even shared it prior to her 200th published book. But the thing is, you don't really know it until you KNOW it.
Thank you, PiBoIdMo, for a GREAT month. I am a different writer and a different person for these discoveries. While I am a little sad to see November end, I know it must. Because November must make way for the magic of December when I get to go back in to these awesome projects, and really make them sing.
It is no coincidence that the month of November also contains Thanksgiving. What a joy and an honor and a delight and a privilege it is to fritter about in the magical world of children's literature.
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.