Picture Book Idea Month: Just Say Yes!

Picture Book Idea Month is fast approaching, and I’m not doing much of anything to prepare.

Oh sure, I’ll check that I have a notebook in my bag. I’ll toss in a couple of pens. And on November 1, I will ceremoniously create a Word document called ‘PiBoIdMo 2014’ that will squeeze into a folder with its brethren, PiBoIdMo 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Then I’ll be ready. Because, for me, PiBoIdMo is about a mindset—a mindset that can be summed up in one simple word: Yes.

piboidmo2014journalWe writers hear No so often, and in so many ways.

Your story just doesn’t work.

I like the story, but it’s not a good fit for my list.

Good idea, but the writing is not there yet.

Or—the worst kind of No—utter silence.

What a relief to be able to say Yes to ourselves for an entire month.

– Alien robots come to Earth and take over an all-night pancake diner? YES!

– A screech owl and a boulder—a story of unlikely friends? YES!

– A boy is rude to his mother and, dressed in a wolf suit, takes a journey to a monstrous land to find the place where he’s loved best of all? Well, that one has been done…but what if the boy is a girl, and what if she’s dressed as an alien robot, and what if she journeys to an all-night pancake diner? Then—YES!

Getting into the habit of Yes during PiBoIdMo is important because once I am in the habit, I don’t stop come December 1. I find myself saying Yes all year long.

My PiBoIdMo 2014 document will become the place where I keep all my ideas. December ideas, January ideas, February, March, and April ideas—they’ll pile up until next November. And let me tell you, some of those ideas are downright pushy. Once they’ve heard Yes once, they won’t take No for an answer.

I said Yes to an idea on December 18, 2013, and now it’s my current work in progress.

An idea that got a Yes from me on November 17, 2011, also got a Yes from an agent last year.

My idea from November 5, 2011, is now out on submission, holding its breath for a Yes.

And my idea from September 1, 2013, won the Barbara Karlin grant from SCBWI this year. It was so pleased to get a Yes from someone besides me.

Getting to Yes with an agent or editor has to start with saying Yes to ourselves, and to our own ideas. I’m ready to just say Yes!


* If you have no idea what Picture Book Idea Month is or what the heck I am talking about, you can find out more on Tara Lazar’s blog.

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