NAPIBOWRIWEE DAY 1 – Meet Lee & Low Books Editor Jessica Echeverria!

Welcome to my Writing Batcave!
Welcome to my Writing Batcave!

WELCOME TO NAPIBOWRIWEE 2016! This is my eighth annual “National Picture Book Writing Week” event since I started it in 2009.

In 2009, my second picture book biography, SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY (illustrated by Lin Wang, LEE & LOW BOOKS 2009) was published. To celebrate its release, and because I had been procrastinating on some picture book ideas, I impulsively decided to promote my book by starting a little event I called “National Picture Book Writing Week.” I was inspired by the famous “NaNoWriMo” – National Novel Writing Month event that happens every November where people try to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. (For more information on that awesome event, go here: http://nanowrimo.org)

My impulsive idea was to challenge myself to write 7 picture books in 7 days from May 1st to May 7th. I already had several ideas plus some research and outlines done, but I kept procrastinating on actually writing the darn things!

Now, as a working TV writer and already published author, I know that you have to FINISH a draft before you can truly write it. Anyone can start a novel or screenplay or picture book, but very few people can FINISH them.

I also know that you cannot write a picture book in one day. It’s possible, but it won’t be perfect. 🙂 I definitely know writing and crafting a submission-worthy picture book manuscript can take days, weeks and even YEARS. I am definitely NOT disrespecting the art and craft of picture book writing – this event is just a starting off point on your longer journey to revise your books until they sparkle. 🙂

So my idea for NAPIBOWRIWEE was simply to just kick my butt into gear and stop being lazy! I figured, at the end of the 7 days, I would have 7 really bad but FINISHED drafts of 7 picture books. Surely ONE of them might be somewhat decent and worth revising!

So I invited people to join me on my website on this crazy adventure. To my shock… HUNDREDS of people joined! Even from as far away as Egypt, Hong Kong, France and Australia! In fact, the first year – 2009 – my website crashed! LOL! 🙂 I had no idea my humble fun idea would go viral.

So ever since then, I’ve been hosting this NAPIBOWRIWEE event! I will admit – I have not been able to write 7 pictures in 7 days every year. There were some years where I crashed and burned and only wrote a couple books. But it was still fun and I loved meeting new friends and being inspired by everyone. So please know that I am human, too!

I should clarify – if you do NOT manage to write 7 picture books in 7 days… DO NOT FEEL BAD! All that matters is that you TRIED. I am happy if you write 7 WORDS in 7 days. LOL! 🙂 It’s about writing every day. I hope that can become a new skill for you. As a working professional writer, trust me, I WRITE EVERY DAY. Now, not every day is “real” writing – sometimes it’s brainstorming, or doing research. But every day I definitely write at least one paragraph, one page, one chapter, etc. It’s like working out – you don’t run 4 miles every day. Some days you take a walk. Or you do weights. So I hope that analogy works, too. 🙂

This year, I am working for a Netflix TV series that airs in 2017. (My “day job” is as a TV writer/producer.) Which means I have many script deadlines from May 1-7 in addition to hosting and running this NAPIBOWRIWEE event. So I have no idea if I can get all 7 books done. But I’m going to try! I know many of you are working full time jobs and/or also juggling family duties as well. Plus you range from first-time aspiring writers to veteran published authors. Trust me, we have had many famous veteran published children’s book authors participate in this event as a way to kickstart their own engines! 🙂

I was talking to my friend Mindy, also a participant, and I told her that I normally try to have a THEME for NAPIBOWRIWEE. One year, I only worked on non-fiction picture book biographies, which is my specialty. Another year, I tried to write only poetry picture books. Another year, it was 7 cat picture books because I have 3 cats. 🙂

This year, Mindy suggested I try the theme of MUSIC since I also play the violin and music is a huge part of my life. I loved this idea! So I’m going to write 7 picture books with music themes this year!

So I thought I’d mention that to you in case some of you are scared and don’t have any ideas yet for what to write. Why not use Day One to think of a theme for this week? You could do early picture books for super young readers, or think of 7 “good night” books (the kinds to make kids go to sleep), or 7 counting or alphabet books, etc.

So that is my main tip for Day One if you’re scared of getting stuck.

Now, for some nuts and bolts:

Our guest authors and artists and industry folks have graciously donated autographed copies of their latest books, original prints, and a FREE WRITING CLASS for our NAPIBOWRIWEE participants. In addition, I will be giving autographed copies of my books, too! (For more info, go here: http://paulayoo.com/books/) as well as souvenirs from our store (http://www.cafepress.com/paulayoonapibowriweeclassic)

Our blog schedule for this year is here if you’d like to peek ahead: http://napibowriwee.com/2016/04/29/get-ready-get-set-for-2016s-napibowriwee/

NOTE: If you are available for JODELL SADLER‘s free writing class that begins July 11, please mention that in the comments so I can keep your name for a separate drawing for that. Joel is the founding agent of Sadler Children’s Literary, owner of KidLit College and Pacing Picture Books to WOW.

Please visit my blog on May 8, 2016 (9:00 AM EST/6:00 AM PST) to see who all these prizes! Winners picked at random! Please comment on my blogs to be included in the contest!

And now let’s meet our NAPIBOWRIWEE DAY 1 GUEST – LEE & LOW EDITOR JESSICA ECHEVERRIA!

I have had the honor of working with her on my picture book, TWENTY-TWO CENTS: MUHAMMAD YUNUS AND THE VILLAGE BANK (illustrated by Jamel Akib, Lee & Low Books 2014) and on the Dive Into Reading! early emergent reader series featuring “The Confetti Kids” books, LILY’S NEW HOME and WANT TO PLAY?

Jessica answered my Q&A with some insightful answers.  I hope they inspire you on Day One! 🙂

Meet Lee & Low Books editor Jessica Echeverria!
Meet Lee & Low Books editor Jessica Echeverria!

JESSICA ECHEVERRIA BIO

Jessica Echeverria is an editor at LEE & LOW BOOKS, a multicultural children’s book publisher. Over the past eight years, she has worked on a variety of different formats including early readers, bilingual books, middle grade fiction, and picture books to name a few. Some recent publications include the 2015 Asian/Pacific American Award Picture Book Winner Juna’s Jar, the Charlotte Zolotow Award-Highly Commendable Title The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen, and the Social Justice Literature Award Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank.

Q&A WITH JESSICA ECHEVERRIA

Q: What drew you to the book business? How did you become an editor? 

A: I loved to read as a kid but aside from the World Book Encyclopedia set, there were very few books in my house. I spent a lot of time at the library. Surrounded by all those books, it never occurred to me that people worked behind the scenes to create them. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school, and unsure of my career options, that a friend suggested I go into publishing. My response to this suggestion was, “Is that really a thing?”

I finished school and moved to New York two months later. I applied to every publishing job listed, but couldn’t get an interview. Thankfully, through a friend, I met an editor who put me in touch with other young editors of color. She advised me to setup informational interviews and attend different networking events. I must have called everyone on her list, and had a dozen coffees and informal meetings. It took close to two years, but I finally met an executive editor (coincidentally also Ecuadorean!) at an event who agreed to pass along my resume to an HR representative. Initially, I wanted to go into adult publishing, but I was offered a job in children’s publishing. I’m so happy it turned out that way! I love working on children’s books.

Every day, I’m reminded of my love of books and the joy felt in bringing an armful of books home from the library.

Q: What was the first book you edited? What was the most important thing you learned from that on your journey as an editor?

A: The first book I “edited” was a compilation of backlist titles into one anthology. I spent hours working with the designer on the look of this book; so much so that I missed a glaring typo on the opening page of this “masterpiece.” The typo wasn’t caught until the book was at the printer. It was a disaster. The lesson learned is to review everything very carefully, and leave other people alone so they can do their jobs.

Q: What were some books that inspired you to get involved in the publishing industry?

A: I never saw my family or myself in the books I read as a young girl. Some people may not realize the impact that has on a child, but it definitely affected me deeply. I was in high school when I finally read The House on Mango Street and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. They changed my world.

When I saw Lee & Low’s job post for an editor position, I jumped at the chance to apply. I wanted to work on books that I wish I had growing up.

Q: What are your favorite children’s books, and why?

A: When I was a kid I was obsessed with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (and the movie). I also loved the books Bridge to Terabithia and Superfudge. I cried so much at the end of Bridge to Terabithia and laughed so hard with Superfudge. The fact that you can feel a range of emotions from just words on a page make books magical.

Most recently, I enjoyed Last Stop on Market Street. I appreciated CJ’s observations and interactions with Nana, and the ending had me close to tears. I think one of the most important things to teach children is empathy. I love when a book achieves that without being didactic.

Q: The children’s book world is becoming more and more competitive. What is the most important piece of advice you feel an aspiring writer must know in order to succeed? (And anything specific for picture book writers)?

A: Keep at it! I admire writers who balance a full-time job, family life, and still carve out time to write. I don’t know how they balance it all, but I’m so glad they do. A writing career is a tough pursuit filled with uncertainty and rejection, but keep at it.

Q: There’s been increasing pressure for writers to be active on social media. Are you on social media? If so, where can people reach you? 

A: Has social media helped your agent/editing journey and career? Any advice for writers/clients who might feel overwhelmed by the social media “burden”?

I think I was the last person on earth to join Facebook. I joined after starting my job at Lee & Low. We’re a small team here so I wanted to do my part to promote our books and champion our authors and illustrators. Now I also use it to share photos with my family so it’s a hodgepodge of book reviews and, “Here’s a picture of us eating beignets!”

Authors should do what is most comfortable for them. If they don’t understand Twitter then they shouldn’t use it. I would recommend having a website. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple landing page where fans can read more about them and educators/librarians can potentially contact them for author visits.

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Thank you again, Jessica, for graciously participating in our 2016 Day One of NAPIBOWRIWEE!

Good luck, everyone! For today’s Day One comments, please keep me posted on your progress and if you have any questions. I’d also love to hear if you have a GAME PLAN – are you doing a THEME like me or are you just winging it? Or did you prepare all year and came in armed with ideas and outlines and research already done?

PS. A reminder – I am working full time so I will try my best to reply to everyone’s comments. Please be patient. And if for some reason I don’t get a chance to reply to your comment, please know it was because I was swamped with my work deadlines but I do read and appreciate everyone’s comments! And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @paulayoo for any other updates! 🙂

Now I’m off to try and finish my script deadlines, manage this website and write Book #1! I’ll report back with details in tomorrow’s blog! Our Day 2 blog will post May 2nd at 9 AM EST/6 AM PST featuring guest author GLENDA ARMAND

Until the next blog, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂

116 Comments »

  1. Thank you Paula for NaPiBoWriWee and thank you for sharing Jessica! I must admit I laughed a bit when I read about your first editing blunder. But it wasn’t a MWHAA evil laugh, more of a sympathy/nice to know other’s make mistakes too kind of laugh. I recently made a complete fool of myself in front of a kidlit author that I admire immensely and still shudder at the memory, but that’s a story for another time…

  2. Thanks Paula for this great opportunity to participate in NaPiBoWriWee. This will be great for my procrastination, as I have been wanting to work on some new picture books. 🙂 I’m so impressed by you.
    Great interview Jessica. It’s so interesting to hear how editors get started. I am also a big fan of the Wizard of Oz…what an amazing story. I think to-date, I have watched it over hundred times. My kids think I’m crazy.

  3. Arin Wensley
    Thank you Paula, for the opportunity to stop procrastinating and start writing. I have no themes just a few ideas I have been kicking around.
    Thank you Jessica, for sharing your journey on how you got into publishing; it is inspiring to those who are getting started.

  4. I am proud to say that Jessica was my editor on IRA’S SHAKESPEARE DREAM and she is a joy to work with. And I didn’t know about the OZ connection! When people want to remember my name, I automatically say, “Glenda, like the Good Witch.”
    I also had very real and emotional reactions to literature I read as a child. So it is not that we could not cry or laugh when reading stories about people who were from different heritages, because we did. (Even though I was quite confused when my favorite character, Beany Malone, bought “freckle cream”. Is that a flavor of ice cream? I wondered. 🙂
    What we didn’t have was the confirmation that OUR stories could bring forth the same emotions; that we could read stories about people like us and feel pride, joy and sadness. And others, people who actually used freckle cream, could read OUR stories, and laugh and cry, and understand.
    Thanks, Jessica. Thanks, Paula.

    • Love this, Glenda and agree! Thank you! And yes, I’m so glad we are members of Team Jessica! 🙂 xo P.

  5. Thanks, Paula, for hosting this incredible kick start. Procrastination is the bane of my existence, and NaPiBoWriWee has come at exactly the right time for me.

    I enjoyed hearing about Jessica. The bit about the error on an opening page of an anthology she edited was particularly inspiring and instructional. Focusing on a single aspect of a project to the exclusion of others, staying in your lane, and forgiving yourself when you’ve gotten off track is great advice for achieving almost any goal: including NaPiBoWriWee!

  6. This is such a great opportunity to put 7 story ideas I’ve had down on paper! I’ve have 566 words on book 1, so as I said in another post….that probably will be 50 words after revision, but…yippee~~

    Thanks Paula and Jessica for this inspirational post!

  7. Paula, the timing of this event is perfect for me. I’m going to a PB workshop next month and I’d like to take WIPs with me to work on. I have about 3 okay-ish ideas and many half-baked ones. 🙂 I hope this ratio changes. At any rate, I’m looking forward to this week. Thanks for organizing it.

    I’m available and very interested in Jodell’s writing class so please toss my hat in the ring.

  8. Jessica, Thanks for sharing your background and advice. Last Stop on Market Street is one of my favorite mentor texts.

    Paula, I can’t wait to watch your latest project. And I like the idea of writing to a theme. Many of my PBs focus on endangered animals in their shrinking habitats. But today’s PB will be a blend a fun and physics, superhero and villain.

    Happy writing, everyone!

  9. I had a strong start this morning. Woke up at six and started right into my story which is based on my granddaughter finding a gecko behind the couch.
    I don’t have much of a game plan. I’ve outlined and researched ideas for day one and day two and have ideas for days three and four but I’ve got nothing for the last three days.
    Nice to meet you Jessica. Emotion in books was big for me as a kid. Arty the Smarty was my favorite book as a child and Arty’s antics made me giggle and I rooted for him when he fought off Mean Old Crab. And at the end when Arty makes a big splash (his dream) I remember cheering him on.
    Paula – I’m available for Jodell’s free writing class in July.
    Off to a great start for the week – hoping everyone else is too.

  10. Thank you Paula and Jessica. Good to know that editors are human too. 😃. I have a list of ideas I haven’t fleshed out yet from PiBoIdMo, so they’ll be my fodder for the week.

  11. Thanks for the post! I just pulled 20 ideas out of my Picture Book Ideas document, and I’m going to see what hits me each day. Or…well…every day that I manage to do it. I was not really planning to do it, so haven’t been preparing in any way. We’ll see what happens:>)

  12. I love this week, Paula, because it gets me to work on fresh new stories, which motivate me to work on writing more regularly.

    Jessica, your determination and perseverance in getting a publishing job is admirable. I’m a bit Ozzed-out right now, with songs on a loop in my head, since my daughter was in the stage play, which we watched SIX times in 2 weekends. Follow the yellow brick road….

  13. Hi Paula! Day #1, & manuscript #1 down! I’m wishing at this point that I had taken a week’s vacation before signing up for NaPiBoWriWee, but getting the writing done is part of the challenge, right?!
    I love the yearly theme idea. My ms this morning has a bug character, and I DO have another bug idea, so I think if some of my other ideas don’t pan out when I sit down with them, I’ll have a backup plan.
    Great interview with Jessica. It was wonderful reading about her journey.
    Good luck, all!

  14. Thanks Paula – I need this week to jumpstart my pb writing. I have lots of ideas from PiBoIdMo. Now I just need to focus and write every day. Looking forward to the inspiration each day.

  15. Thanks for my first NaPiBoWriWee and the interview with Jessica. It made me laugh and gave me hope – and Last Stop On Market Street is also a favourite mentor text of mine. I have a lot of ideas, and a few potential themes (including music and journeys) but not sure if any will stretch to 7 mss. Let’s see how the week pans out!

  16. Hi everyone! Thanks again for all your comments. Please note – I can’t reply to every single comment because of my own job deadlines and running this event AND trying to do my own 7 books. LOL! 🙂 But I do read all comments and I’m keeping tabs on everyone who says they are available for the 7-11-16 Jodell Sadler class drawing, so don’t worry if I haven’t confirmed via comment. I have a busy day so I will respond more later tonight so stay tuned. Good luck today and congrats to those who already finished Book1! Wow! 🙂 Remember – NEW BLOGS POST EVERY DAY AT 9 AM EST/6 AM PST! Happy Writing! xo P.

  17. Thank you for the challenge, Paula. It came at a (crazy) good time, when I have lots of excuses not to write. Thank you, Jessica, for sharing your journey. I was obsessed with the same books you were as a child. My Mom used to read me a chapter from The Wizard of Oz every night with two on Saturday so she could take the day off on Sunday. I tried for as long as I could to hide from her that I could read because I enjoyed the way she read to me. But once she figured it out and sent me off on my own, it was like losing the training wheels. How amazing to discover books and find the place where my voice met the author’s voice and our hearts merged. I love what you said about empathy. That’s the way books change lives, by helping us see ourselves in others and by others in us. There is nothing more exhilarating than finding a subject who is new to children and capturing his or her spirit in a story, ready to be discovered like a Genie in a lamp.

  18. A huge thank you to Paula and Jessica! I really appreciated hearing about Jessica’s journey and her determination to pursue a career in publishing. This is my first NAPIBOWRIWEE — so happy to be here!! I have 7 ideas that I will hopefully be able to flesh out this week. Working on draft #1. Stay tuned!!

  19. Oh, I LOVE Last Stop on Market Street, and purchased it for my book-loving grandson! All four of my grands are multi-ethnic (3 are Filipino Caucasian and 1 is Mexican Caucasian). It’s important to me that they see diverse ethnicities and cultures in their books. Thank you for sharing with us.

  20. Thanks for the Q&A with Jessica. And for the inspiration. I am winging it (I am a newbie). Today I am focusing on bluegrass, to tie in with your musical theme. Happy writing (and reading!).

  21. Loved the idea of a theme for writing the seven manuscripts! Jessica thank you for your thoughts on what’s missing from children’s lit. You didn’t recognize you or your family in any book! This is my first #napibowriwee and I looking forward to the week!

  22. Thanks so much, Paula AND Jessica! No writing progress yet, but the day isn’t over yet. 🙂

    As far as a plan, I spent all last week brainstorming, plus I have my PiBoIdMo ideas. No theme – just planning on getting it done as best I can! Thanks for the inspiration!

  23. What a fun start to this year’s NaPiBoWriWee!! I don’t have a theme but I have a little book where I jot down ideas…from Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo to just random thoughts that occur to me throughout the day…and this book is where I look to write my 7 stories. 🙂 Thanks, Paula! xo

  24. What a great start!!! I’ve got a draft started and it’s moving along so I should be ok for Day 1.

    Please put my name in hat for Jodell class. I would love to take her class.

  25. Ack! Sunday is not the best day for me to start this, but I’m going to anyway. I’m up for the challenge. Day 1 here I come!

    And please put my name in the Jodell class hat, too.

    Thanks for hosting this.

  26. Thank you, Paula and Jessica! I loved hearing about your journey as an editor, Jessica. And I very much connect with the desire to add more books to the shelves so that all kids can “find themselves” in those books.
    I’m very excited that, one week from now, I will hopefully have seven more completed drafts than I do at this point. That is so exciting. No theme, just ready to get the ideas that I’ve had jotted down fleshed out into full drafts. Thanks for the inspiration!

  27. Muddling through day one… always wonder: have I bit off more than I can chew? But if Paula can write despite screenplay deadlines, then I can squeeze writing in between the interviews and deadlines this week. Back to scribbling…
    And yes, toss my name into the Jodell class hat.
    Now, off to see if I end up with 7 words or 7 drafts.

    • LOL Sue! So I hope you got your 7 words and/or drafts going! 🙂 Good luck with your busy schedule too! 🙂

  28. Paula,

    I have participated three times in NaNoWriMo and winning it once so that was an accomplishment. When I saw NaPiBoWriWe I was hooked. My theme for this week is to use 7 or more of my PiBoIdMo ideas and flesh them into first PB drafts. I just finished my first one for the week and moving onto a revision of one of my WIP’s that magically had revision come to mind while writing a first draft for an entirely different subject for this.

    NaPiBoWriWe is a fantastic idea and I am so glad I joined it this year. Thank you!

    Lee and Low is a fantastic publisher and I have read many of their books. So cool that Jessica Echeverria gave us insight into her world at Lee & Low.

  29. What a great idea to do a theme for all 7 days, I think that just helped cement my “will I, won’t I?” into “let’s do this”! 🙂

  30. Thank you, Paula and Jessica, for this very good time of year. Nothing better than spring and NaPiBoWriWee. They go together like writers and coffee. No theme but I do have some fun ideas from PiBoIdMo. And by the looks of things so does everyone else. *snort*

  31. Thanks you, Jessica, for sharing your journey to being an editor! And thank you, Paula, for hosting this. You’ve given me a reason to write 7 picture books.

  32. NaPiBoWriWee is just what I needed, RIGHT NOW! I was about to kick myself into gear anyway (at least that is what I was telling myself for the past two weeks). I was tired of having ideas. I wanted real stories!

    Then I heard about this challenge yesterday and I said “I WANT TO TRY THAT!” I made a list of my favorite ideas that I have collected over the years and I am so excited to see what happens with them.

    Day 1 was successful…I wrote about something I have been thinking about for many, many months but was scared to see it all the way through. I like what I wrote…hopefully I like it tomorrow 🙂

    Thank you so much for this motivation! I am looking forward to exploring all of my ideas!

  33. Thanks so much for NaPiBoWriWee, Paula. Such great motivation. Good luck to all the participants.

  34. A big thank you to Paula for organizing this May’s picturebook-athon! It was great to hear from Jessica on day one and learn from her journey of patience and persistence. My ‘theme’ is to tackle seven ideas from November’s PiBoIdMo challenge, maybe more if I can figure out how to blend, merge and amplify some tiny snippets into a book mash-up. Please toss my hat in the ring for Jodell’s course – I have heard great things about her teaching! Thanks and good luck everyone.

  35. Thank you Paula for starting this challenge, it is just what I needed right now. I have a lot of ideas and research waiting for “the right moment.” I am making that moment, this week. I think I will join Cathy Ballou Mealey in her theme of writing seven PBs from my PiBoIdMo ideas. Thank you Jessica for some really great insights and a peak into your journey.

  36. Paula – I’m back for year three; thanks for keeping this going. NaPiBoWriWee is the first online kidlit forum/challenge/etc. I ever got involved in and it holds a special spot for me.
    My dad died last week, and I’m still a bit all over the place. I’ve decided to spend these 7 days on 7 MS ideas all inspired by him, his life and his stories. Even if I come out of the week with nothing worth pursuing, I know that it will be a good process — if an emotional one. So thanks, too, for providing the structure for channeling and organizing some of my inner turbulence.
    And Jessica: thanks for kicking things off. I love Lee and Low and your mission, there.

    • Dear Anna: I am so sorry to hear about your father. My sincerest condolences. I am very moved by your comment and how you want to honor his legacy with 7 ideas for books inspired by his life. I think this is a wonderful and positive way to process your complex emotions after such a huge emotional event. I wish you much luck in both your writing and emotional journey this week. Wishing you and your family peace. I am honored your father will be part of our week, too. Sincerely, Paula

  37. Thanks to Jessica and Paula for an interesting interview.

    So glad I made the last minute decision to join you! Wrote my first first draft today. Felt so good.

    Good luck to everyone! See you tomorrow.

  38. Thanks, Paula for the awesome opportunity for me to self kick my brain into writing mode!
    I am doing 12 by 12 but the ideas from that are flowing so fast and furious I can’t sit back and wait for the next month…well actually I have but this will challenge me to possibly double it to 24 by 12!!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Gabrielle

  39. Boom—1st day done.
    Wow, this year went in a blink. Thank you—thank you—thank you Paula for this opportunity. I couldn’t and know I wouldn’t get it done without you LOL LOL 🙂

  40. Hi! I’m Kandace and I’m super hyped to be participating in my first Napibowriwee! I work in children’s book publishing and love writing for young readers. The idea of writing 7 stories in 7 days sounds AMAZING! I’m definitely with you on the music theme, Paula. I’m a musician too and music’s a theme I’m excited to explore in a story.
    Can’t wait to read tomorrow’s post!

    • Hi Kandace! That’s awesome re: music. Do you play an instrument or sing? Good luck this week! 🙂

  41. I wasn’t planning to join, actually just heard about it, but i have so many ideas i think i will have to join in… Want to focus on animal stories or maybe alphabets and colors and numbers…. I guess i better get busy….

    • Andrea,
      I just happened to click on your name above (I am always curious about other’s websites) and I wanted to say that I think your illustrations are simply elegant!

  42. Thank you Paula for the NaPiBoWriWee challenge. Thank you Jessica for sharing your journey with us. I do not have a theme. I have ideas from PiBoIdMo and will be pulling from them. Am I the only one stuck on my Day 1 draft? Sunday has many “distractions”. Working on it. Please include me in the Jodell’s course. Thank you

  43. I found out about NAPIBOWRIWEE just yesterday from Carrie Charley Brown on Facebook (THANK YOU SO MUCH, CARRIE!!!), and knew this was for me. In fact, without knowing it, you created this event JUST FOR ME, Paula! I am trying to focus on my writing for children FULL TIME, while working part-time as a writing tutor at a university — hoping with all my heart to make this dream a reality. Why, then, is “Procrastination” my FIRST name!?!?!?!!!! At the stroke of midnight, for the first time in a long while, I sat down at my computer and wrote. If sitting down and ACTUALLY writing EVERY DAY is all I accomplish this week, it will be EVERYTHING to me! THANK YOU for this WONDERFUL motivation to stop dreaming and start doing! I have a SLEW of different pic book ideas crowding the rest of my thoughts out of my brain. It will be good to get some of these FINALLY down on paper — where they actually belong!

    OF COURSE I am available for Jodell’s class! THANK YOU, Jodell, for the chance at SUCH AN AMAZING GIFT AND OPPORTUNITY!!!

    As to today’s post: I TRULY APPRECIATE the P.O.V of a children’s book editor, and one that focuses on multicultural stories specifically. A WONDERFUL post! I LOVE your thought, Jessica, “The fact that you can feel a range of emotions from just words on a page make books magical.” BEAUTIFUL!!! THANK YOU!!!

    HAPPY WRITING EVERYONE!!!!

    • Welcome Natalie! Go for it, I think you will have fun. I am excited for your goal to write full time while juggling family and tutoring duties. You can do it! 🙂

  44. Thank you for the great post! It was definitely a great way to start the week.
    Since I just found out about this challenge, I will be feverishly writing my first draft for the week on my long commute home from work tonight. I don’t know if I will do a theme, right now I am just winging it.
    Thanks for the challenge! I am really excited to be a part of it. Good luck everyone!

  45. It’s my first time here. Thank you for the challenge! I managed to create a very rough draft of an idea I’ve had for awhile. I did it in probably five minutes — but it’s done!
    I am also available for the writing class on July 11th!

  46. The deadlines are just what I need now! Thank you Paula for the challenge.
    Jessica, I loved to hear your perspective… I just took my daughter to the Wizard of Oz exhibit at our local science center. It was great fun!

    I am also interested in the free class with Jodell.
    Thank you again!

  47. You ROCK Paula! Thank you for the inspirational comment about people who try to balance a full time job, family, and carve out some writing time. That is ME! I don’t feel all that balanced though sometimes.
    I am an amateur birder so I think I will focus my 7 books on birds. Thanks for the tip!

    • Amateur birder? That is AWESOME. I love learning things like this about our participants. Good luck Nadine and keep us posted on the birds! 🙂

  48. MaryLee Flannigan
    Thank you Paula and Jessica! Just returned from the Wild.Wild Midwest Conference and penned my 1st of 7 books!

  49. My first time trying this. Excited to see what I can do. Please enter my name for Jodell’s class.
    Rosemary Basham

  50. Day 1, Draft 1: Complete! I’ve got an idea ready for each day, but I’m ready to let my writing brain take me in a different direction. I love when that happens!

  51. When you mentioned the theme, music, I felt a surge of excitement. I’ve had a character I’ve been working with and needed a fresh story idea. That one word set the wheels in motion. Thank you for the inspiration!

  52. Busy day in the life of an Episcopal priest cum writer! But Day 1 about the first day on the job for the new Tooth Fairy is done! I appreciated the comment to only do on social media what I am comfortable with, Jessica. I wonder if kids still read Superfudge…..

    • Yes, Robin. I am an elementary librarian and kids still read Superfudge, Fudge-a-Mania, and Double Fudge. They are timeless and still make today’s kids laugh 🙂

  53. Paula – thanks for this opportunity to crowdsource motivation, direction, goals and validation! I can’t believe it but I did it, my first in-a-day PB manuscript (rough and ready!), based simply on a phrase I’d written in my pre-prep notes. Whew & woohoo. No particular game plan going forward, we’ll see how this evolves.

    Great to hear a bit about Jessica Echeverria’s journey too – persistence pays. (And we all make typos.) Thank you again!

    • Angela I love your phrase “crowdsource inspiration.” I never thought of my event that way before! It’s a great description. Thank you! Sounds like we are winging it together, so good luck! 🙂

  54. Thank you so much for this burst of inspiration! I’m feeling giddy about a rough draft, but the time crunch forced me to PUT IT ON PAPER! Now I can go back with fresh eyes and do the real work.

  55. Love the post! Great insights and information. I wish I had thought about a theme! That’s a wonderful idea. 🙂 But I have already brainstormed my ideas, and though 1 or 2 may change, I will go with them. Maybe next year can be a theme. Oh, I love that idea! Getting a late start, but off I go.

  56. So excited to participate in this! I am going forward with no plan in place, so we will see what happens!

  57. Paula, thanks for this challenge! Jessica, this quote – “The fact that you can feel a range of emotions from just words on a page make books magical” – is exactly why I read, and ultimately write. Thanks to both of you for a great post on day one.

    And I’m excited to say that draft #1 is done!

  58. Thank you, Paula. This is probably one of the best things I could have joined this year. I have to admit, I had difficulty starting and felt quite inadequate. Once I emotionally got over the hump to just dive in and that I COULD do it – I did it! After I finished my rough draft, I read it to my hubby and he was (surprisingly) shocked and teared up. Yes, he’s my hubby but he’s always been quite forward and honest when it comes to my illustration work and blog writing – he’s been a good critique for me, so I knew if he genuinely loved it, I’m off to a great start! haha 🙂

    xx

    • Alexandra – this was another comment that moved me. I am so happy for you and I love that your hubby was teary-eyed. That means you did the most important thing in your book – you wrote with EMOTION. At the end of the day, we can always fix grammar, structure, voice, point of view, pacing etc. But emotion? That comes from the heart. And you are clearly writing from there. Bravo! 🙂

      • Thank you, Paula! That means a lot. Whether I’m singing, illustrating or writing, my deepest desire is for my audience to “see” my heart/emotion in it all. xx

  59. Thanks for sharing your personal journeys Paula and Jessica. Inspiring! Love the idea of having a theme for the week. I chose “invisible.” Day 1 – almost done.

  60. Thank you, Jessica, for your insight.

    Today was a pretty easy day. I even turned my MS into a dummy book, but I was prepared for this one. I don’t expect the next 6 to be so easy.

  61. Thank you, Paula, for kicking off your excellent challenge. Thank you, Jessica, for being an amazing editor who I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with. It’s nice to learn a bit more about you.

  62. Thank you so much for hosting. I’m thrilled to be part of my first NaPiBoWriWee :-). I’m mostly just winging it, but I like your idea of a theme–it seems that could be a backup if the well is feeling dry. For now, I’m drawing from recent inspiration my two sons provide on a daily basis and the ideas I generated during last year’s PiBoIdMo :-). Thanks again!

  63. Hooray for NaPiBoWriWee Day One! First draft is complete! (Crappy, but complete!) Thanks for the extra insight, Jessica! (Paula, you rock for supporting us every year with a full load on your plate. I know it’s not easy!)

  64. Thank you Paula! After hearing about NaPiBoWriWee over the past few years I’m excited to be joining in for the first time! Over the past year as new ideas would come up, I’d start a new document, title it, but the page would remain blank! This week I’m looking forward to turning those ideas into drafts with the accountability, support, and encouragement from fellow writers! Thank you for featuring Lee and Low’s editor Jessica and thank you for continuing to be a voice for diverse literature! Although originally from CA, I’m joining you all from Thailand! I’m thankful I can be a part of writing events and communities like NaPiBoWriWee no matter where in the world I am!

  65. Thanks for the inspiring post, Paula and Jessica! This is a great challenge and my first time doing it. I will not have a theme. Like others have said above, I will attempt to write manuscripts for ideas that I have written down from PiBoIdMo, etc. This challenge is great motivation to finally get them on paper–to have a draft to work with. I have cranked out my Day 1 draft (far from good, though it may be). I look forward to what the week holds.

  66. Under the wire, but I love this motivation and encouragement! Looking forward to continue writing more all week!

  67. It’s late and been a busy day, with a little procrastination thrown in. I did today’s very rough draft.
    Thank you for the inspiration and support in a roller coaster career path.

  68. Thanks so much for your inspirational post, Paula–and the wonderful Q & A with Jessica Echeverria! I loved seeing a photo of your Batcave (although it looks more like a Catcave). 😉

    This challenge is such a huge motivator for me–I look forward to it every year! I’m not using a theme (although I ended up with two animal stories so far). I’ve been using my favorite PiBoIdMo ideas, and think I figured out what my other five manuscripts will be about…but other ideas might trump the ones I’m leaning toward on the bottom of that list. I’m absolutely thrilled with the manuscripts I’ve written–I think they have tons of potential, and can’t wait to whip them into shape over the next few months.

    I’m so glad that you loved my music theme suggestion. I can’t wait to hear about the amazing manuscripts you write. You are so generous and help other writers so much, I’m glad that we’re able to give that kind of support to you, too. (((Hugs)))

    It’s been a really rough year for my family, and with limited writing time, I concentrated on revising older manuscripts. It felt AMAZING to write two new picture book drafts so far. I’m so grateful to you and this wonderful challenge. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Mindy, thank you again for the music theme idea! I am glad you are able to handle our 7 days with your busy schedule and family. Many hugs! Thanks so much for being such a “cheerleader” for this event! You rock! 🙂 xo P.

  69. Thank you for doing this again Paula! I am going to write draft 1 for day 1 tonight.
    I loved the inspirational post by Jessica as well. It’s a great way to start the month. 🙂
    Zainab Khan
    Please enter me in Jodell Sadler’s kill it drawing. Thank you.

  70. It’s almost midnight, but I have just completed a first very rough draft of a brand new story, Paula, and I am SO grateful. It’s not great, but I am excited nonetheless and it feels like there is a group that is helping me push myself to “think I can, think I can” 🙂 THANK YOU!

    I am SO very grateful for Jessica and her willingness to take me on as the illustrator for our books!! Thank you dear Jessica!! I so very much loved reading about your journey to children’s books and your dedication to the field. Wow, as a former print manager for a design firm, I have had my share of print “whoops” but the lessons learned are so valuable..thank you for sharing your story! I’m incredibly honored to be able to work with Lee & Low and am so inspired by yours and your company’s mission and commitment to diversity inclusion in books!

  71. Yaaaaay! Just slid in under the wire. Three cheers for the amazing Jessica Echeverria, the bestest and most patient editor a new writer could ever dream of! Getting to work with her and Lee & Low is such a joy and a blessing.

  72. I am so excited to take part in my first NaPiBoWriWee! I have been working as a part-time Freelance Writer, but my real passion is to write children’s books. I have declared this the year of Michele (that’s me!) and am determined to write and submit my little heart out 🙂 Thanks for sharing your motivation with all of us! I won’t be working on a theme, but will be working on all those little slips of paper with book ideas that have been hiding in a folder on my desk for years 🙂

  73. First, Paula, let me tell you how much I love this challenge! for me it’s like a much needed cosmic kick in the pants. 😉 I have an idea book that I keep with me at all times. It’s full, but the ideas never really come out to play, so your challenge gets me to flesh a few out a few of them. Thank you, Jessica, for your inspiration! I have loved Lee & Low for ages, and will continue to hope that one day my books may be a part of it!

    PS. Paula, I’d love for my name to be thrown into the hat for Jodell’s class! 🙂

  74. Very excited to try NaPiBoWriWee for the first time. What an amazing idea to get the creative juices flowing! Please put my name in the hat for Jodell’s classes too please x

  75. I wrote a sneaky day 1 draft while in my office at work it felt good and it’s not too shabby.

  76. I am so excited to take this challenge this year! Yesterday was a rocky start, but hey! I got something written down! Huzzah! And now I am finally commenting on your blog post. 🙂 Loved this interview, Jessica. And thank you so much for organizing this fabulous event, Paula! Now I’m off to manuscript #2 (hopefully!)…

  77. Deadlines motivate me! I’m writing my second manuscript and hope to have it done before my kids home from school! Yikes! You have a great lineup of experts and I am enjoying the challenge. Thank you, Paula!

  78. Thank you! I needed a new draft, and boy am I relieved to have come up with something new on day one. Can’t wait until next week when I can begin to tear it all apart!

  79. Hi! Quick comment as of 5/2/16 – I’ve added everyone’s name to our general prize drawing and all of you who specifically said you wanted to also be added to the class drawing, you are set, too! Thanks again for all your comments, I am so happy everyone is having fun and working hard! BTW I am also very moved by some of your amazing personal anecdotes and details about your writing journeys this year. HUGS TO EVERYONE! xo P.

  80. I wasn’t planning on participating, but I decided to do it and use each day to simply write and not worry about quality or perfection. So happy I joined and am experimenting with some new ideas. Thanks Paula! And thanks Jessica for sharing your own story of persistence breaking into the publishing industry!

  81. Hi Paula. Thanks for running this challenge. My game plan is to go through one of my two running lists of story ideas (some from PiBoIdMo) and pick out the ones I think I can tackle in just one or two sittings. I’m able to write when the kids are at school, and then again for a few evening hours after they’re asleep. I started with one of my simplest ideas for very young readers–since the first day of the challenge was a Sunday when I was surrounded by family. That was the only piece I thought I might be able to whip up while working all day in my role as mom. Against all odds, I did complete that manuscript! With day one out of the blocks, I really feel like I’m on a roll and having fun.

  82. Great advice. I agree wholeheartedly with you when you said, “the fact that you can feel a range of emotions from just words on a page make books magical.” It reminded me of something Carl Sagan said, “Books break the shackles of time – proof that humans can work magic.” He also said, “One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”

    Thank you for doing this again, Paula!! Hope everyone has a terrific week of writing!

  83. Thank you for hosting this inspirational event. The permission to explore new ideas/ old ideas and follow them from start to finish is invaluable. I really enjoyed the interview with Jessica. I’d love to throw my hat in the ring for Jodell’s free class. I took her Pacing PBs to WOW class in January and it was outstanding! If the free class is the same class as the one I took in January, I feel badly taking a spot from someone who hasn’t taken it yet. If the free class is different, I’d LOVE to be in the drawing. I have written two new PBs so far. This is a wonderful, difficult, exhilarating challenge! Thank you again!

  84. What a great motivation to expand on the Book List note on my phone! I am excited for the challenge.

  85. Thank you Paula for your permission for all writers to have find joy and no fear with our writings this week. The first day was easy, but the second day was a challenge. It’s one story I would not show anyone; definitely one I will comb over many times later.
    Day 3, I am finding joy with my fun character in a cultural story. Dealing with some obstacles; stewing over it and hoping to resolve it later.
    Tomorrow is another day.