At the beginning of the month I found out that I didn’t even place an honorable mention in the writing contest. That was, I will admit, a blow. I was so sure that I was going to at least make it to the finals. That really shook my confidence. After moping for a little while I decided that I needed to break myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve become too dependent on applying to work-for-hire projects that I felt like I was forgetting how to write my own stories. I decided to shake things up and declare March my own PiBoWriMo (Picture Book Writing Month). A friend suggested that since March contains “Pi Day” that I should call this PiPiBoWriMo. That appealed to my engineering side, so it was thus named. My personal challenge was to a) complete, roughtly, a picture book each week and b) come up with a picture book idea each day during the month of March.
I’ve never been a picture book writer. When they’ve been required for classes I’ve always found them INCREDIBLY difficult to write. They’re so hard to write and write WELL that I’ve always found MG and YA better suited for the stories I wanted to tell. But I wasn’t moving anywhere on the YA I’m currently working on, so I wanted to change things up. I gave myself permission to be absolutely HORRIBLE. And boy, did I need it.
My first week’s attempt was horrible. Awful. Disastrous. I think. My crit group hasn’t had a chance to look at it, but I find it rather silly and stupid. Perhaps with editing it might be improved, but the point was to keep going with the picture books and don’t look back. I’m glad I didn’t give up after that first horrid attempt because I’m quite pleased with the book I’m writing now (and hope to finish by the end of today). It’s a very different book from the first, and one I don’t think I could have written before being a Mom. The first one, yes, I totally could have written pre-Mom days. This new one, though, is obviously influenced by reading so many picture books to the Wyrmling. The reading aloud has made all the difference, I think. That’s something I don’t often “get.” Not just because I didn’t use to read aloud, but also because I speed read and don’t “hear” words in my head as I read. I’m really liking this one and might end up submitting it to a magazine when finished.
So. The point of this post. If you have a big setback, especially on something that you felt very confident about, try to shake yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s worth it. Always.