NAPIBOWRIWEE 2015 – DAY FIVE: Editor Vs. Writer

napibowriweelogo3-300x284-200x200Welcome to DAY FIVE of my seventh annual National Picture Book Writing Week (“NAPIBOWRIWEE”) 2015!

I am so proud of everyone for hanging in there. We’re getting closer to the finish line. Can you believe you have been writing non-stop for FOUR DAYS IN A ROW? Talk about a marathon writing session! I’m so proud of you for not giving up. Think of writing as if you are in a gym working out or training for a marathon. You have to exercise every day to stay in shape! Same with writers! We have to write every day to stay on top of our writing game! 🙂

MY DAY FOUR EXPERIENCE: Like many of you, I had to work full-time on Monday. Of course I also stayed at work late with a deadline! I didn’t get home until after 8 o’clock. By the time dinner was done, dishes were washed, and other errands around the house completed, I started writing at 10:30 PM. I was hoping to get more of my in-depth non-fiction picture books ideas done for this year’s NAPIBOWRIWEE. Instead, I found myself distracted tonight and wrote something off-the-cuff again. Because I write for a science fiction show on The SyFy Network, I had aliens on the brain tonight. LOL! So I wrote an alphabet alien book. 🙂 I’m surprised by my rather impulsive improvising for this year’s NAPIBOWRIWEE. But that’s what makes every year’s NAPIBOWRIWEE fun – it’s just so unpredictable! 🙂 Plus, if you are stuck, I guess try your hand at one alphabet book because you know how it begins and ends… from A to Z! 🙂

Coincidentally, today’s guest blogger AMY CHERRIX talks about science. Well, she doesn’t talk about Science FICTION… she talks about Science NON-Fiction. Keep reading below for her thoughts…

And remember – please post your progress for Day 5 in today’s comments!

Reminder: I am posting daily blogs from May 1-7, 2015 at 6 AM PST (9 AM EST) here at Our contest drawing results will be posted on May 8, 2015 featuring fun prizes from our NAPIBOWRIWEE STORE (link:, autographed copies of my books, other surprise prizes as well as ONE free picture book manuscript critique from professional editor/author AMY CHERRIX, who is also our guest-in-residence for this year’s event! (You can follow Amy on Twitter @acherrix and her website is here:

Meet Amy Cherrix of
Meet Amy Cherrix of
Visit Amy Cherrix's website:
Visit Amy Cherrix’s website:

The theme for this year is EDITORIAL NUTS & BOLTS as Amy answers our questions about writing and the publishing industry. For today’s blog on “Editor Vs. Writer,” I asked Amy to talk about her experience going from book editor to book author with her debut non-fiction book, LANDFALL: THE HURRICANE SCIENTISTS, as part of the award-winning Scientists in the Field series, coming out Spring 2017 from Houghton Mifflin.

QUESTION: Tell us about your book coming out from Houghton Mifflin in Spring 2017. What has it been like to write it so far versus being an editor?

AMY CHERRIX SAYS:  “Lately, I’ve also been wearing the author hat. I’m writing a longer form narrative non-fiction book for Houghton Mifflin’s Scientists in the Field series, called LANDFALL: THE HURRICANE SCIENTISTS for readers ages 10-14. I’m working on my first draft now and it’s due to my editor later this summer. Talk about humbling. Writing about science for people of any age is challenging, but especially for young people. How do I inform and entertain without preaching? How do I tell the best possible story in the tightest, most engaging way? How do I find time to write when I’m busy reading everything else? Bottom line: my experience as an editor doesn’t allay my fears. Life as a writer is hard for everybody. One of my favorite young adult authors, Laini Taylor says “Never stare at a blank page.” Writer to writer, that is the best piece of advice I can offer. Just get something down. Anything is better than the Tyranny of the Blank Page. Write it down today, make it sing tomorrow.”

Amy is right – we must overcome the “Tyranny of the Blank Page.” As Amy says… “Write it down today, make it sing tomorrow.” THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF NAPIBOWRIWEE – just get words down on the page. We can revise later. You can’t revise if you don’t have a rough draft to begin with! Finish what you started! 🙂

Finally, as an added bonus, here is Amy’s latest blog on her own website for today if you need more inspiration for your writing! Link:

Well, time to leave the Blogging Batcave and head back into the Writing Batcave. Sorry today’s blog was so short but I am EXHAUSTED. Monday was a long day at work! I hope you still were able to glean a few good writing tips for your Day No. 5!

Remember to follow me on Twitter @paulayoo for updates. I will post tomorrow’s Day 6 Blog on May 6, 2015 at 6 AM PST/9 AM EST here with a super special surprise guest blogger about pet peeves when writing picture books  – what to do and what NOT to do! 🙂

Until then, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂



  1. Story 5 done in the Midwest – this is The Caterpillar who Hated Change. This week has forced me to produce, but 4 of the 5 have potential! 1000 thanks again, Paula, for inspiring (pushing) us!

  2. Paula, I’m often surprised by what I write. Yesterday evening, I scanned Twitter before writing PB#4. Animals and nature are my muses. And a picture of a dog prompted me to write something completely new. So much fun!

  3. So, for Day 4 I followed your advice, Paula, and stretched myself out of fiction and into the non-fiction realm. I did a sweet and kind of funny concept book about sapsuckers.
    Today I’m back to fiction, and the sea (a lot of my stories have been set in the ocean lately), and an octopus who doesn’t want to go to bed — inspired by a line in Ann Lamotts BIRD BIRD: “getting all of one’s addictions under control is a little like putting an octopus to bed”. I loved that line.

  4. I had to miss Sunday and Monday. Couldn’t be helped, but I’m back on track today. Which is perfect because I just got my copy of Me…Jane (so beautiful). I also really enjoyed Amy’s post and the article she posted on Sluch Pile Press. I got to attend a Brian Floca workshop in February on his process of creating LOCOMOTIVE. I was so impressed by how much time went into making that amazing book. Thanks so much Paula and Amy for sharing your pocess too.

    • That’s okay Sue, there have been NAPIBOWRIWEEs that I have missed a few days and only got 3 or 4 books done. I’m glad you got ME JANE! And how awesome re: the Floc workshop! Good luck writing today!

  5. Yes — write it today; make it sing tomorrow! I love that advice. I just wrote a very strange and rough draft #3.

  6. Great advice. LOVE. The blank page is so frightening. But once I start writing, the fear slips away. So I am just writing every single day. That is important. I have five drafts finished. Wahoo!

  7. Yesterday was a real struggle so I didn’t want to repeat that today. I have some old, obscure folktales so I took those out today to see what the possiblities were. I took one story and added a new beginning, modernized the middle and changed the ending. I also gave the characters character instead of the using them the way they were written– pawns in a story written to teach a lesson. It was fun– I’ve never tried a retelling before. (Those old folktales can be really harsh!) I hope this counts for Day 5!
    Paula– I think your Alien A to Z is hilarious!

    • Bonjour Dana! I love the idea of looking at obscure folktales, great idea! This is so cool! Retellings – what a great idea for NAPIBOWRIWEE! And thanks, I had fun with the A to Z aliens 🙂

  8. Had to work today, so writing has taken a back seat! But, while chomping down an almond butter and jelly sandwich, I’ve been able to pound out a somewhat acceptable rough draft for today! Yahooooo! I’m sure that when I go to revise it, I may feel like it belongs in the “round file”, but we’ll see. Thanks for another great post!!! 😀

    • I’m distracted by almond butter – never had that before. It sounds good! I will have to try it! Congrats on the new book! Yay!

  9. Day four is out of here. Did you know that a cactus gets thirsty too? I have had cacti on the brain this past couple of weeks. It’s been a sticky situation. Get it? Oh well, like I said…..cactus on the brain.


    • LOL I’m intrigued by the cactus on the brain! 🙂 Congrats on getting another book done!

  10. Today I finished my day 4 draft. Not sure that I like it, but it is now complete and very ripe for revision. I also completed my day 5 draft which was a freeform poetry meets nature meets peek-a-boo kind of a book. I love how ideas morph into the surprising and unexpected once we force that blank page off the screen and just write!

    • I love this freeform peekaboo idea. Yes, you bring up a great point = just writing means sometimes surprising things pop out from our subconscious! Glad you are having fun!

  11. Hope you’re able to get out of work on time tonight, Paula!

    “Tyranny of the Blank Page.” Ha! It IS so much easier to have something, anything down!

    My schedule for NaPiBoWriWee this year has been opposite from yours. The first three days were hard to squeeze in any writing. Got in a good session yesterday, and today so far has been a great marathon session! I’m almost caught up. Hoping to catch up this afternoon and start on my dummy for the book I wrote yesterday (helps that I already have character sketches).

  12. Day 5 complete! This one came from my idea jar. Being that it required me to write in rhyme, it is a very VERY rough draft. But, being that the first draft HAS to come first, it is another stepping stone. This one will likely be rewritten into different plot versions. I am proud to be keeping up, but very very tired. After a nap, and picking up kids, I must return to my clients. 🙂 Thanks again for the motivation, Paula! Unbelievable!

    • I love the idea jar. Yeah, rhymes are hard to do first drafts of, but at least you have a skeleton of a poem you can flesh out later. So impressed with your balancing work and family while writing! Congrats!

  13. Just finished putting the finishing touches on draft number seven! My writing was hit and miss throughout most of the day what with PT in the morning, then OT in the afternoon but I managed to get them down on paper…or rather in a Word Doc and filed away in my NaPiBoWriWee 2015 file. It helped to ease back yesterday and finish up my research as I knew exactly where I was going to go.

    • You are our Champion Sharon! What a machine. I’m so impressed you were still able to get stuff written while also dealing with OT and PT. Hope you are feeling well! Keep going! You rock! 🙂

  14. I wrote draft #4 yesterday. I am getting ready to write draft #5. This has been so much fun! 🙂

  15. “Write it down today, make it sing tomorrow.” LOVE that. It’s so appropriate! I spent Sunday and Monday writing bits and pieces of PB3, PB4 and PB5… and did some thinking about PB6 and PB7. (I think that I might try my hand at the nonfiction challenge…) BUT no more complete drafts (past 1 & 2). I’m glad that I am writing *something*, but I hope that I can complete another draft or two at least! I haven’t done any writing yet today, so there is still hope!

    • Having 2 drafts completed is WONDERFUL. I was too busy because of work yesterday so no Book 5 from me. Hoping to catch up today. So proud of your work this week!

  16. Wrote my Day 5 story today. Nothing great but I didn’t struggle too much with it just thought it up at work. It’s a rhyme meant to help with number patterns–counting by 2s, 3s, 4s, etc. Even though I’ve felt like the things I’ve written this week have kind of sucked, I’m still kind of impressed that I wrote 5 stories when I was feeling like I couldn’t.

  17. Today was the hardest day so far! I still got my draft completed though. I was walking with my daughter over the weekend and she was tallying all of the animals we saw.. so I played around with, “In my Wild Neighborhood”… draft complete but still a bit unsure. I love the science series and topics in general!!

    • Oh I love Wild Neighborhood idea! Coincidentally, I was with my friend Erin on Day 3 and saw a man walking a horse by because there are stables in the area. It was so cool!

  18. LOVE the saying “write it today make it sing tomorrow”! Thank you so much for that writing advice. I have todays rough draft based on something my grandson said over lunch about a YA novel he is reading “Scorpion Kingdom’? about a clones perspective … except my character is a dog not a clone.

    • The animal lover in me loves the dog, the sci fi fan in me loves the clone idea. 🙂 Yay! And yes, that book is really good (Scorpion)!

  19. An Alphabet Alien book – what an awesome idea. After much stress and drama in my family, I finally got a chance to write draft five. Very rough story of a kitten and a dragon has joined the pile.

    • Anything with a kitten makes me smile! Dragons are “in” right now so you may hit a goldmine! 🙂

  20. Congrats on the alien alpha piece, Paula. Sounds fun! My initial idea involving two siblings evolved into more of a conceptual piece calling for visuals. However, I wanted to *write.* Rather than tempt myself with wanting to draw –as I write out my first drafts in longhand using pen and paper–I fast-drafted a new story on the fly using the app, Write or Die 2. THAT was an exercise in futility. *weary smile* The app itself is all right–I’ve used it before. But my initial story was much better. I realize it’s probably okay in this Challenge to create a story using both words and drawings–whatever it takes to get the story down. 😉 Thankfully, I have that first story started. I plan on going back to it.

    • Hahaha! I’ve heard of Write or Die. I think it’s admirable you tried that. But it’s okay if you draw and write – whatever works best organically to tell the story is the right thing to do! 🙂

  21. Taking advantage of the time zones here and finishing this one under the wire. No title for this one but it’s about a little girl who wants to be like daddy… then decides she’d rather be like mommy. .. still one behind but considering I awoke drooling on my paper this morning I consider it a victory!

  22. I seriously have trouble writing FAST. Not that I don’t write crappy, but I can feel when the conflict or emotional theme is “off” and I have trouble making myself finish without going back and re-working.

    • I think it’s fine that you know your pacing. It’s not necessarily about being “fast” but it’s about being willing to write forward and not go back and revise until you get to the end. Of course sometimes you HAVE to revise before you finish, but this week is an exercise to help people at least learn how to embrace writing roughly and going back to fix it later. Sometimes the best revision happens in our subconscious while we sleep. Congrats tho on continuing to write on a daily basis. 🙂 Every word counts!