NaPiBoWriWee 2011 Day One – Bedtime Blog!

I am exhausted just like my cat Oreo!

Wow. Day One of the 2011 National Picture Book Writing Week (aka “NaPiBoWriWee”) is almost over. I feel as exhausted as my cat Oreo (pictured above). And yes, I am a Crazy Cat Lady, so maybe I’ll just post a new sleeping position photo of my cats for each Bedtime Blog. LOL! πŸ™‚

As a reminder – here is the blog schedule:

9 AM (PST) – Good Morning blog posted with writing advice and questions

12 PM (PST) – Guest Author Lunchtime blog posted with Q&A

11 PM (PST) – Bedtime blog posted with progress report

(Keep reading for the rest of today’s Bedtime Blog updates after the jump…)

Today, I was a little overwhelmed by the incredible response to the first day of NaPiBoWriWee. Here’s how I spent my Sunday:

9 AM to Noon: Website stuff (It took me way longer to write future blogs for this week, including two Guest Author blogs. Also had to deal with new website redesign maintenance with my wonderful Webmaster Greg, keeping up with everyone’s comments, and figuring out topics for future blogs this week.)

Noon: Lunch. Made a yummy cannelloni bean and tuna salad from one of my favorite FoodTV chefs, Giada De Laurentiis. I’m a huge foodie, so keep up with my Paula Yoo blog at where I will post occasional foodie blogs on recipes etc. The recipe link for my lunch is here:Β

1 to 3 PM:

— Worked on my novel-in-progress. I have two novels-in-progress that I have been diligently working on for the past two years. One is a middle grade novel and the other one is an adult novel. They are both about 2/3 done. Today I was working on the adult novel and figuring out the outline for the second half of the book. (I have about 65,000 words written of this adult novel). With novels, I HAVE to work on them every day, come rain or shine, so even with NaPiBoWriWee, I can’t take a break from the novels.

— Also corrected some papers. Long story short – I sometimes teach Writing for Children at UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program. My class was from January to March, 2011. My students were amazing. I promised that I would do a final critique of their final semester projects and snail mail them back. Well, it took longer than I had anticipated, so I spent part of today doing line edits on their final projects that were submitted at the end of March. Boy am I late with this! LOL! (Huge apologies to my students!)

3 PM to 5 PM: Got my hair done. I’ve been meaning to get my hair dyed again and my bangs trimmed, but I haven’t had the chance until today. So I made an appointment, feeling slightly guilty about not having written anything for NaPiBoWriWee yet.

4:45 PM: I was nearly done with my hair appointment and I suddenly came up with my first NaPiBoWriWee book idea. Let’s just say the beauty parlor inspired my idea! Yippee! I rushed home to start researching my idea and come up with a basic plot. And yes, my hair is ROCKIN’. My hair is black, but I got it dyed “blue black” for a shinier look and my bangs are perfectly trimmed. πŸ™‚

6 PM: Dinner. We made a simple caprese salad (fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and fresh basil from our garden) with olive oil and salt and pepper. Also baked some thick slices of potatoes with chopped garlic and oregano and olive oil, then squeezed some fresh lemon on top afterwards. Normally I eat more than this, but it was a looong day.

7 PM to 9 PM: Wow. My writing was interrupted by huge major important breaking news and a speech from President Obama. I was glued to the TV screen. Much gratitude for our brave troops, and here’s hoping peace will prevail.

9 PM to 11 PM: The show must go on. Finished watching the news and returned to my NaPiBoWriWee Day One picture book idea. Started writing. HAAAATED what I was writing – it was such sophomoric cliched on-the-nose prose. I did finish it – but it’s a bit too slight at 500 words. But I remembered my Good Morning blog from earlier today about Ann Lamott’s thoughts about “s—– first drafts.” I also have her quote posted as this week’s Writing Tip on my website’s homepage:

β€œAlmost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” Ann Lamott

So I figured, this first NaPiBoWriWee 2011 draft is one heckuva a “terrible first effort.” But hey, I need to start somewhere. LOL! πŸ™‚

Now posting tonight’s Bedtime Blog and off to bed soon.Β Tomorrow is Day 2. Stay tuned for our morning and bedtime blogs and another Guest Author blog!


Please comment about your Day One. What was your schedule like? Did you get enough time to finish a first draft? If not, will you try to crash TWO books tomorrow? Vent, rant, cry, or celebrate! We’re all here to support each other!

Until the next blog… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LKE YOU MEAN IT! πŸ™‚



  1. Ahhh, Paula this is making me feel sleepy – but it’s only 2pm (Monday) here in Perth! I envy all of you getting ready for bed now!

    Day one (yesterday) went off without a hitch! I actually had the idea already in my head. I even knew the character and setting. I was surprised that it only took a couple of hours to come up with something quite promising!

    I thought maybe I had gotten reeeeeally good at writing picture books in the 12 months since NaPiBoWriWee 2010!! But after sitting down to try draft number 2 today… (sound the sad Family Feud *BA BOW* sound effect) I think I was a little bit lucky yesterday πŸ˜›

    OK MAYBE I’m just a little bit better than last year!!! πŸ™‚ All those great SCBWI LA Summer Conference keynotes and workshops surely did me some good!

    I’d love to see you all at But don’t hang around too long, now! You all have writing to do! πŸ™‚ Nighty night!

    • LOL Caz! 2 PM? It’s 11;35 PM and I’m ready to zonk out now but had to reply really quick before I shut down. Fantastic that your Day One went so smoothly! Congrats! And yeah, Draft 2 is always harder. it’s like running a marathon, you gotta pace yourself. And I do believe you ARE better thanks to your SCBWI training. Love your blog too and glad you are keeping us posted on your progress there too! Okay, gotta crash, sweet dreams! πŸ™‚

  2. Midnight to 1:30 AM: Half hour writing sprint forgets it’s supposed to stop. Downside- significantly less sleep than planned. Upside- Nailed a first draft of idea 1 to the page and it has a beginning-middle-end and a few words don’t seem to be all terrible.

    1:30 to 8 AM: Sleep. I don’t really need a full seven hours…

    8AM to 1PM: Getting ready for church (change outfit when I remember I’m an acolyte today and should look nicer), family breakfast, church, etc.

    1PM to 5PM: LA Times Festival of Books. Lunch here was a turkey sandwich and free Ben & Jerry’s. Yum! Despite being at the YA stage and playing in Hero Alley, all my ideas were for my two adult novels… hmm. Doing it wrong perhaps.

    6PM: Home at last! Decided to go with a leisurely dinner of a sausage version of Fabio Viviani’s recipe for polenta, phone call to the parents while sitting on the balcony through sunset, then go write. Because I had all evening free, right?

    7PM: Do a blog first, because I said I would. Then open file, start writing. Announcement that President will address the nation derails that less than half an hour later.

    Still only half a paragraph on picture book idea 2, which I’d hoped to get a good jump start on it this evening. Computer will get lugged to work tomorrow if not enough work gets done in the morning before my shift. Coworkers trying to talk to me can just get shushed. =)

    • LOL Sarah Enid/Serena! πŸ™‚ Love your schedule. Wow. And I’m really bummed I missed the book fest this year. But it was just too insane for me. Sounds like we had some similar writing “derailments” thanks to the news too! It sounds like you are getting some solid ideas down which is great! I plan to post a blog later on balancing work and writing too. Get some sleep! Me go to bed now! πŸ™‚

  3. Day 1 is in the can! 694 words, beginning, middle and end. I’m not happy with the resolution, but that will be saved for the revision process. Whew.

  4. It’s 9am Day 2 here (France) but I’m really just getting my day started… Yesterday, Day 1, went okay. The PB draft was from an idea I really wanted to write. I liked the idea so much that writing the book was intimidating–what if the concept didn’t hold up? or I couldn’t pull it off? But I wrote. Got stuck a few times. Had a snack then got back to work (not good for the hips). It took much longer than anticipated but I finished. Already want to go back in and Fix It but I’ll wait. Day 2 is here–onward and upward!

  5. Yeah, one done, more to come. I also plan to update my long neglected submissions this week. You can’t get published if you don’t submit. πŸ™‚

  6. Day one went so easy. Opened my laptop, saved a new document and off I went. I wrote draft one of picture book one within an hour. It’s a story about one of our children. And the story was one I’d wanted to write for YEARS. When I sat down the words just gushed out of me.

    Day two is here and I know what I’m going to write. Let’s hope the words know they’re supposed to flood onto the computer screen. πŸ™‚

    I’m having so much fun. Thanks Paula. :0)

  7. Day 1 – up at 6am to let the dog out and give her meds then stayed up to write. Kids up at 7:00 so didn’t get as much time as I’d hoped but did get down 400 words. Fed, bathed, and dressed kids then off to shower.

    9am – preschool parent meeting until 11:00am.

    11:00 – got home to crying kids who were upset that I “disappeared.” Fed them lunch, wrapped a present, led the kids in an art activity of making birthday cards for my son’s friend.

    12-1pm – fleshed out the PB that I started at 6am.

    1-3:30pm – Kindergarten birthday party.

    3:30-4:30pm – Played outside with my kids. Came in to prepare dinner that nobody wants to sat down at laptop to write.

    5pm-6pm – Read pb1 – didn’t like it – changed the tense and the showing vs telling to improve.

    6-7pm – kids and husband asked for food. Whipped together dinner.

    7:30-9:30pm – bedtime routine. – no time to write. Totally missed the President – was too busy reading Geronimo Stilton to 5 yr old and 3 yr old.

    9:30-10:00 – Cleaning up ending of pb.

    10-11pm – chit chat with husband and fell asleep on couch dreaming about pb ideas for Tuesday.

  8. Paula – You have SOOOO much energy! It’s very inspiring. Day one was great. Had lots of time to write because my family was off on an adventure. I know that won’t happen every day so it was a nice luxury. I wrote about an idea I’ve had for months but just haven’t thad the time to sit down and write it. Felt great. Had trouble writing quick enough. Even though I really like the idea, it’s still a stinky first draft. Wish I had a magic wand that turned it into a polished draft immediately. Sometimes it’s so hard to be patient.
    Off to start Day 2!

    • Cathy tnx for your kind comment. And I’m glad you took time off to be with the family – that is important, and sometimes when you relax with family, your subconscious is busy working away at an idea simmering in the background. Good luck today!

  9. Ok YAY! I got into the site and can now post. πŸ™‚

    Weekends are not my strong writing days. So yesterday was filled with family, yard work, and housework. I did manage to break out my notebook from PiBoIdMo and this morning I managed to rough draft a story for yesterday….VERY ROUGH DRAFT!! So much so, I hate it.

    I hope this is not the trend! πŸ˜›

    Now, I must get on to PB#2

    • LadyJai – LOL, they say writers have the cleanest houses because we’re always cleaning instead of writing (procrastination). LOL! I admit I cleaned the bathrooms on yesterday before trying to write. πŸ™‚

  10. My 1st picture book 1rst draft done and down. Has the heart nut and all the elements. Sunday was devoted to other things, but I kept thinking it out, here and there. I actually wrote it up early this morning, day 2, when the right phrasing for the first line woke me up. I’m pleased enough. NOT going to look at again until at least next week. By then, I can fill it’s holes faster and like it lots better.

    I love reading “one story done” from everyone. I think ideas are raining down all the time, I’m just not prepared and looking. Sometimes I get in idea drought. Hearing “I just finished a new one” is like tangible, happening right now everywhere proof- People all geared up with writer wellies and plot umbrellas, are stomping back in from the storm, saying “Hey, it’s wet out there!” Love it!

    I have a suggestion for anyone whose ideas have all dried up. Last Friday I was driving four hours to a SCBWI conference, deciding to go at the last minute. There were still pitch sessions available. I planned to take one, also last minute, but had only those hours to come up with a new solid story.

    “Self” I said, “You may listen to your audiobook or the radio as soon as you create 6 strong idea combinations and flesh out one to present to that agent!!”.
    It took 3 hours of steady mind-hiking, and it took the pressured, ‘under the gun’ feeling with that deadline. Highway driving was probably a useful left-right-brain part, but I came up with lots and lots of ideas, many wimpy, but also enough good material to work with for most of the week. Never got to my audiobook, because working out the twists was more compelling.

    So if you need a deadline like I did, how about “remembering” that you have an appointment with your dream editor or agent for lunch- or dinner, or whatever meal comes next in your schedule, but BEFORE you can eat, you HAVE to be able to pitch them 2 fresh story-lines?

    • Tnx Ether for your awesome comment – loved your thought process and your suggestion for what to do when the idea well goes dry. I love the anecdote you posted here – excellent scenario set up. I will try it myself! πŸ™‚

    • I am loving it! Spent several hours brainstorming a list of ideas. No idea is too trivial, jsut get every single one of them down on paper. Reread the list of ideas. My left brain loves to organize & group , so that what I did. This is just part of my process. Now the research begins. A few ideas need facts, never one to turn away fromt the non-fic PB market. Now I’m on-line ordering books. What’s out there? I am so excited! Went to Library to scan the shelves and countertops. Don’t forget magazines for the hottest articles.

  11. Sunday was a bit of a lazy day. Our 3 yr. old gave his usual 6 am wake up call, but my wife took him downstairs let me sleep in. Until 9:00! Bliss.

    I made waffles, finally convinced the 3 yr. old to eat waffles (I was beginning to doubt we’re related), then settled in for the first draft.

    Later we went to an art opening, played in the yard, did an early bath for the now grubby 3 yr. old, ate dinner and then up to bed for stories. We read three because of the early bath, “Let’s Do Nothing”, “Tuff Fluff” and “the Firefighters”.

    Then it was time for a quick kitchen clean-up, catch up on a DVR’d Glee, a review of the day’s first draft (added some notes for later) and brainstorming so I could hit Day 2 running.

    Completely missed the news until sitting down to write Day 2 at 5:30 am.

    • Catching up on comments! Tnx for your progress report, so glad you are back with us for another insane round of NaPiBoWriWee! Hope those waffles were good! πŸ™‚

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