30 Day Countdown to 2014 NAPIBOWRIWEE & FAQs!

The next NAPIBOWRIWEE will take place May 1-7, 2014
The next NAPIBOWRIWEE will take place May 1-7, 2014

It’s official! We have 30 days until my sixth annual NATIONAL PICTURE BOOK WRITING WEEK (AKA “NaPiBoWriWee”) begins on May 1, 2014!

I started NAPIBOWRIWEE as a fun way to promote my own children’s picture books. I’m so proud and thrilled that this event has gone viral and is a favorite annual event for many veteran published authors as well as aspiring novice writers.

I do have a new children’s picture book being published by LEE & LOW BOOKS this year. It’s called 22 CENTS: THE STORY OF MUHAMMAD YUNUS AND THE VILLAGE BANK (about Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus). I’ll be including some autographed copies of this book as part of the prizes given out at the end of our event. (We have a fun random prize drawing for souvenirs and signed books that everyone is eligible for!)

I’ve posted our official FAQs for our 2014 event in today’s blog.

Also, some quick reminders:

1. NAPIBOWRIWEE will take place May 1-7, 2014.

1. Our NaPiBoWriWee Store is open so you can purchase your souvenirs! Journals, coffee and travel mugs, T-shirts and tote bags galore! Go here: http://www.cafepress.com/paulayoonapibowriweeclassic

2. You are allowed to brainstorm ideas, outline them, research and take notes. But NO WRITING. You will write and FINISH your picture book first drafts from May 1-7, 2014.

3. From May 1 to May 7, 2014, I will post daily inspirational blogs and Q&As with special guest authors and industry folks. This year’s theme will focus on multicultural children’s literature (although your picture book drafts do NOT have to be multicultural, I want to explore this important topic for this year’s event).

4. Follow me on Twitter @paulayoo for further updates.

Please keep reading after the jump for this year’s official 2014 NAPIBOWRIWEE FAQs on how to participate in our event…



NAPIBOWRIWEE (National Picture Book Writing Week) takes place every year from May 1st to May 7th. It starts at midnight of your time zone on May 1st and ends at 11:59 PM on May 7th.

2. Where does NAPIBOWRIWEE take place?

Right here at my website: https://paulayoo.com Please click the “NaPiBoWriWee” link or simply bookmark the link here: https://paulayoo.com/napi


NAPIBOWRIWEE stands for National Picture Book Writing Week. Every year, from May 1st to May 7th, we attempt to write 7 picture books in 7 days.

4. How do I sign up for NAPIBOWRIWEE?

(NOTE: Please scroll to the bottom of this blog to see a more specific TECHNICAL FAQs list as well.)

a) Just comment on my blog at https://paulayoo.com/napi to let us know how you are doing from May 1-7! In fact, you can even start by posting a comment to THIS VERY BLOG RIGHT NOW.

b) When you post a comment on my blog, you must fill out the prompts asking for your name, email address (which will not be published to the public), website (if you have one), and then type the “RED MOVING LETTERS” (which is a SPAM filter).

c) Once you do this, you are automatically registered to my WordPress blog and you can just post comments in the future no matter what. (You still have to fill in the prompts each time, but your comment will get posted immediately instead of you having to wait for approval.)

d) ANOTHER OPTION: You can email me at paula at paulayoo dot com to let me know you would like to be included in the contest drawing at the end of the event. Please give me your email address. I will keep track of everyone’s comments and email addresses and include them in the contest drawing.

e) I will also continue to post updates about the event here as well as on Twitter. You can follow me here: @paulayoo

f) PLEASE NOTE: You are allowed to join us even after May 1st. You can join us on May 7th if you want! (But it might be hard for you to do 7 picture books on the last day, though! LOL!)

5. What am I allowed to do BEFORE NAPIBOWRIWEE starts?

You are allowed to brainstorm ideas, do research, and even write up an outline. But NO DRAFT WRITING AT ALL. You can ONLY write the actual first draft starting May 1st.

6. Am I supposed to send you my picture book drafts as proof that I successfully wrote 7 picture books in 7 days? Or do I post them in a comment on your blog?

NO! Please do NOT email me your drafts. Do NOT post your picture books in a comment on my blogs. This is NOT a writing contest. You do not have to prove to me you wrote 7 picture books in 7 days. We work on the Honor Code here. You say it, I believe you.

7. Will you critique my books later after the event is done?

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to critique anyone’s work. I’m a full-time book author and TV writer/producer, so I no longer have the time to critique people’s works. However, you can consider joining the wonderful Society of Children Book Writers & Illustrators (http://scbwi.org) which has great resources. Many members meet and form their own writing critique groups.

I have also worked with editor Amy Lin and highly recommend her as a professional critique resource. You can contact her here:


For more info about my thoughts on writing and critiques, please check out my website’s FAQs here:


8. Can you tell me more about the NAPIBOWRIWEE contest drawing?

Sure! I also have a fun contest drawing where I pick names at random from a hat at the end of our event. Prizes will include autographed copies of my books (SIXTEEN YEARS IN SIXTEEN SECONDS: THE SAMMY LEE STORYSHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY, and GOOD ENOUGH) plus autographed books from our guest author bloggers as well as souvenirs from our store!

Special Note: I will also be including signed copies of my latest picture book biography, 22 CENTS: THE STORY OF MUHAMMAD YUNUS AND THE VILLAGE BANK about 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus from LEE & LOW BOOKS.

At the end of NAPIBOWRIWEE, I will put everyone’s names in a hat and pick winners at random for special prizes. I will post a blog announcing the winners on May 8, 2013. I will then contact the winners to make arrangements for the prize deliveries.

9. Do I have to finish 7 picture books in 7 days in order to qualify for the contest drawing?

Absolutely not! Just by participating and signing up for the event (either via the instructions above or by emailing me), you are automatically included in the contest drawing.

10. When will you announce the contest winners?

I will post a blog on May 8th featuring the list of winners!

11. How do I get my prize?

If you win, I will contact you via email to make the necessary arrangements to have your prize mailed out to you.

12. What if I can’t finish 7 pictures in 7 days? Am I a failure?

NO! You are NOT required to finish 7 picture books in 7 days. I’m happy if you even write 7 sentences in 7 days. The purpose of this event is to just challenge everyone to write 7 picture books in 7 days as way to fight off procrastination and insecurity. I just want people to write and finish a first draft of 7 picture book ideas you have as a way to help people learn how to write every single day no matter what. Writing on a regular (and hopefully daily) basis is a big part of becoming a stronger writer. Practice makes perfect! This is supposed to be FUN. Do NOT stress yourself out. I am proud of you no matter how much or how little you write, just as long as you TRY! :) Remember, there have been some years where I myself have not been able to do 7 books in 7 days either! I’m human, too! :) Everyone is a WINNER at NAPIBOWRIWEE! :)

13. Isn’t this event an insult to the craft of picture book writing? You can’t write a picture book in one day. Isn’t that demeaning to published picture book authors who spent months and even years crafting their books to perfection?

No! I am NOT saying you can write a book in one day! That’s crazy! :P :)

Of course you cannot write a picture book that is submission ready and publishable in one day. Picture books are HARD. This event does NOT believe that a picture book can be written in one day. That’s pretty much impossible.

BUT… a rough first draft of a picture book can be written in one day if you force yourself not to quit. So the goal of this event is to discourage PROCRASTINATION. Just write and FINISH a first draft of a picture book each day. That way, you will have seven rough drafts to choose from – which one shines the most and has the potential to be revised thoroughly into a wonderful submission to an agent or editor? Writing is rewriting – and you can’t rewrite if you don’t have a first rough draft to begin with!

This is just a fun event to promote picture book writing and to encourage newbie and veteran writers not to give up and to keep writing! :)

14. How did NAPIBOWRIWEE get started?

I created this event, National Picture Book Writing Week, in 2009 as a fun way to promote the publication of my second picture book, SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY (Lee & Low ’09).

I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to write 7 picture books in 7 days. I had been procrastinating writing another new picture book draft for the longest time. So I thought, “What if I force myself to try and write 7 different picture book manuscripts in one week?” Sure, the drafts would be sloppy rough drafts. But at least I’d have 7 FINISHED drafts to choose from when it came to serious revisions and possible submission to my book agent. I was also inspired by NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month), hence my name for NAPIBOWRIWEE. :)

To my surprise, HUNDREDS of people from all over the world (including places as far away as Hong Kong, Egypt, and Australia) participated. It led to the creation of a NaPiBoWriWee Souvenir store and to a wonderful community of writers who bonded as future friends and joined SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers & Illustrators). Some participants even won writing contests with the drafts they had created from this event!

15. Can you tell me more about your store?

Of course! I have a Cafe Press hosted store featuring fun souvenirs from our event. The latest NAPIBOWRIWEE 2013 store link is here:


We feature T-shirts, coffee mugs, journals, and now three new items – travel mugs, beach bag, and tote bag! The logos were designed by Sandy Tanaka.

16. Do you have any words of inspiration or advice before the big event starts?

Of course! Below is a list of inspirational how-to writing books that I find very helpful for inspiring my writing process. (Please click on each title for the Amazon link.)








How do I comment on your blog?


1. Go to https://paulayoo.com/napi

2. Click on the title of a blog to read.

3. Read blog.

4. At the bottom of the blog, you will see the words, “LEAVE A REPLY. You must be logged in to post a comment.” (Pic below):

5. Please click the link “logged in.” You will be taken to a WordPress page prompt. There will be a box asking for your User Name and Password. Underneath the box is a link that says “Register.” Please click that link. (Pic below):

6. You will then be taken to another WordPress page. This one will have a yellow box on top that says “Register for this site.” Underneath will be another box asking you to fill in your User Name and your Email address. Please fill in those boxes. You will also see “Type the RED moving letters” underneath it. Please follow those directions (this is to prevent SPAM bots from destroying my website. LOL!) (See pic below):

7. Once you do all that, a pass word will be emailed to you. Go back to the first picture above where it asks you to LOG IN (Step #4). Click the LOG IN link and you will go back to Step #5. Now you can put in your user name and new password. Voila! You’re officially “registered” for my event and can post comments on all the blogs.

8. PLEASE NOTE: I have to approve all comments (again, another SPAM bot safety feature of my website). Because I also work, and because I have several meetings to do this week for my other job as a TV writer/producer, I may be stuck in L.A. traffic and unable to approve your comment immediately. If your comment is approved immediately, it means I am not writing but surfing the Internet and playing with my cats. If your comment is not approved for a few hours, that means I am stuck somewhere on the 405 N. LOL! :)


I can’t wait to see everyone for our sixth annual NAPIBOWRIWEE! Until the next blog – remember – HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! :)


  1. Hi!

    I’m rarin to go. Making notes of possibilities for the BIG Seven. Brainstorming ideas. Throwing kelp noodles at the wall–let’s see what sticks!

    Thanks Lisa

  2. Yikes, I can’t believe I’m the first one to post here! Just wanted to say that I’ve been looking forward to NaPiBoWriWe, and am gearing up for another great kick-in-the-keister week! Thanks so much for doing it again, Paula :0)

  3. Whoot! I am geared up for this year’s challenge. I have stock-piled Ramen noodles, cancelled my cell phone service, and placed an obituary for myself in the paper. JK actually, I’ve been rereading writing books and rummaging through old notebooks looking for story seeds. Each year I participate I feel a bit more prepared.

    I would like to blog about the event next week, but I had trouble copying the logo. Any suggestions?

    Thanks again for this opportunity to s-t-r-e-t-c-h my writing skills.

  4. Talk about procrastinating! I really need this jumpstart back into writing. I hate to admit it, but I haven’t written much since last year this time. Hopefully, this year I’ll take my drafts and do something productive with them (such as write second and third drafts).

    Paula, congratulations on your new book!

  5. I’ll sign up – even though I’m on something awfully similar right now, which I called A-Draft-A-Day April (but it’s also only a week). Not sure if I subconsciously ripped off your idea for my personal use… my memory these days…

    • Don’t be scared! It’s going to be fun, I promise! I’m here if you have any questions. Excited to have some newbies join us! 🙂

  6. I can’t wait to see all the new drafts I’ll have by May 8th! I spend so much of my time revising picture books and middle grade novels that I love the way this challenge helps me focus on creating new PBs each year. Thanks, Paula!

  7. I am so excited, that I can hardly wait for the next two days to pass. As bad as a child! I have my lists made and going over my outlines….it’s my equivalent of a Santa list. Sending out good vibes for all my fellow picture book writers….

  8. Wow, did May sneak up on me! Can’t wait to bust out new drafts this year. I’ve been revising 2013’s NaPiBoWriWee manuscripts and am ready for some new ones.

  9. YAY! So happy to see so many familiar faces and welcome to the fresh new faces! Everyone is included for the drawing, too. YAY! BTW please remember to post the hashtag #NAPIBOWRIWEE for Twitter this week! xo P.

  10. I am so excited to start participating tomorrow, perhaps at midnight. You are such a positive person and so full of energy, I look forward to seeing your posts and working with you. Thank you for putting this together.

  11. I just found out about this opportunity today! This sounds like a great way to get myself to work with a great community and to do some learning along the way as well. Looking forward to getting started.

  12. Alrighty, I’m joining in for the first time this year! I’ve done PiBoIdMo for the past three years, so I’m excited to try NaPiBoWriWee with you all!

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