Tag Archives: Tara Lazar

Weather Update: Storystorm is Coming

That’s right, I’m registered! This will be my fourth year participating in the online online writers’ event of the year, formerly known as PiBoIdMo. Originally invented as a way for picture book writers to participate in the November NaNoWriMo frenzy, the event was conceived in 2008 when successful children’s book author Tara Lazar challenged a group of her friends to come up with one new picture book idea a day for one month. Her blog supports participating writers with daily posts from professionals in the field, offering ideas about getting ideas, recording ideas, chasing ideas, developing ideas, taming ideas…By the end of the month, you’ll feel like the Newt Scamander of picture book ideas.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Prizes are available on nearly a daily basis when people check in, and again at the end of the month for people who complete the challenge with 30 new ideas. Now, we’re in for even more fun. Tara has moved the event from November to January, which means we’ll end up with ONE EXTRA IDEA, and also means that novelists can also more easily participate. She’s also expanding the challenge to include ANY kind of writer, not just picture book writers and illustrators, although I see her calendar of guest bloggers is still packed with picture book luminaries. Best of all, this event is still completely FREE! Thank you, Tara, for giving so generously to our community. Especially for those of us still honing our craft, meeting our colleagues, and looking for that first contract, this means a LOT.

The Storystorm challenge is both social and personal. Participants do not share ideas, we just keep track of them ourselves, and at the end of the month report on the honor system whether or not we met our goal. Speaking personally, this practice of focusing on ideas for one month in the company of other writers with a sense of accountability drives my craft for the entire year. This is where I get my ideas, this is where I learn to get ideas, and these are the ideas that shape my next year of writing.

Registration is open now. Check out past PiBoIdMo posts to get an idea of the creative wealth you’ll be invited to savor (scroll down for a link to guest bloggers from past years). Ask to join the Facebook group to meet the wonderful writers and illustrators who will jumpstart your own practice with their momentum. Storystorm starts next week, and my umbrella is upside down, ready to catch all those ideas.

Sticky Ideas for Post-PiBoIdMo

© Apple, Inc.

Like many of you, I came out of PiBoIdMo (Tara Lazar’s annual November challenge, Picture Book Idea Month) with more ideas than I can handle. Which ideas are going to stick around long enough to grow into stories? I use the Apple software Stickies to find out.

First, I rifle through my writer’s notebook for the ideas that really spring out at me, the ones that have energy, the stories that obsess and excite me.

Next, I use the Stickies app to litter my computer desktop with those ideas, so that every time I power up to write, I’m reading and rereading them. This gets the story compost going, growing stories even when I’m working on another draft or revision. I keep the compost hot by stirring every once in a while–moving favorite ideas to the top or coming up with clever titles for ideas that started with a character or situation or premise.

I write the first idea note in yellow, with a large, appealing font. By selecting “Use as default” under the Note drop-down menu, I can create new notes with the same size, color, font and format as the first note simply by pressing Command+N.

Throughout the year, I check in with my sticky ideas, using a color code to track my ideas through drafting and revision. I like to move from warm to cool colors as I progress through the writing process:

Yellow = Idea —> Pink = Outline or start —> Green = Complete draft —> Blue = Lightly revised —> Purple = Heavily revised —> Grey = Ready to submit

Using Stickies to grow ideas into stories, © L. M. Quraishi, 2014

Using Stickies to grow ideas into stories, © L. M. Quraishi, 2014

(My desk doesn’t usually look this neat–I cleaned it up just for you!)

Since I compose on my laptop and use my desktop computer for other work, I keep my sticky ideas on the desktop so that my ideas are up in the background while I write. My laptop is where I collect research, resources, information, inspiration and wisdom from my writing peers.

© L. M. Quraishi, 2014

© L. M. Quraishi, 2014

What do you do with your idea hatchlings? Where do you keep them safe? How do you feed them? How do you help them grow up into the stories they were meant to be?