This is my 9th annual “National Picture Book Writing Week” event since I started it in 2009.

For those of you who have participated in this event in the past – welcome back!

For newcomers – congratulations on joining us for your first time! You will have a ton of fun, I promise!

A brief history of NAPIBOWRIWEE: 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:

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!

CAVEAT: 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 respect the serious 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!

Also… 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. ?

So… for the next 7 days, we are going to attempt to write 7 picture books in 7 days. Easy peasy, right? 🙂

The “rules” for my event are simple:

  1. Write 1 picture book draft every day for 7 days straight. (Note: Until May 1st, it’s okay if you did research/brainstormed/took notes/outlined your book ideas. But you cannot do any actual writing of the manuscript itself until midnight May 1st. And if you are coming into this event with NO ideas or preparation, that’s fine, too! Use each day to see if you can come up with an idea and write a book! Go for it!)
  2. Post comments and questions in each blog. I will try my best to answer as many as possible.
  3. Read the blog every day for valuable insight and advice from published picture book authors plus my own experiences in the book industry! BLOGS WILL BE POSTED DAILY EVERY DAY FROM MAY 1-7 AT 9 AM EST/6 AM PST.
  4. Contest: If you post comments on my blog, I will include your names for the prize contest. I will pick names from a hat at random and the lucky winners will receive autographed copies of the books by our guest authors plus signed books from me as well as fun souvenirs from our NAPIBOWRIWEE STORE! The contest winners will be posted on MAY 8, 2017 at 9 AM EST/6 AM PST.
  5. Store: Speaking of our store, go here if you want some souvenirs!
  6. May 8: When the event is over, take your 7 picture book first drafts and figure out which one (or ones) have the potential to become fully revised future submissions for agents/editors!
  7. And don’t worry if you don’t like ANY of your 7 picture book drafts – the whole point is to learn how to write EVERY SINGLE DAY and how to learn how to FINISH a draft. These are valuable writing skills that every professional writer has to have. Think of it like working out/exercising – you’ve built up your writing muscles and become a stronger writer for it. Sometimes, people have found inspiration from their 7 picture books that lead to the EIGHTH picture book that becomes “The One” that is destined for future publication. In other words – nothing you write this week is a waste of time. Everything you write always leads to the Next Big Thing. 🙂

For more details on the “rules” and history of NAPIBOWRIWEE, please go here:

And here is a list of our guest authors for this week:

JASON GALLAHER – picture book and middle grade author whose picture book WHOBERT WHOVER is out this July 2017 from McElderry/Simon & Schuster. You can follow him on Twitter at @draftingjason

COURTNEY PIPPIN-MATHUR – picture book author and illustrator whose latest book DRAGONS RULE, PRINCESSES DROOL! will be released May 2, 2017 from Little Simon, Simon & Schuster. Her website:

TERRY PIERCE – picture book author veteran whose latest books include MY BUSY GREEN GARDEN (Tilbury House 2017) and MAMA LOVES YOU SO (Little Simon, S&S 2017). His website:

EMMA OTHEGUY – children’s book author and historian (fiction & non-fiction) whose debut picture book Martí’s Song for Freedom is out from Lee & Low Books in Spring 2017. Her website:

ANDREA LONEY – children’s book author whose latest book BUNNYBEAR (illustrated by Carmen Saldaña, Albert Whitman & Co. 2017) is out this year. Her website:


Okay, so let’s not waste any more time… let’s go write our Picture Book #1! Please post your comments here about how your Day 1 went!

And stay tuned for our first Guest Author Q&A with JASON GALLAHER which will be posted at 9 AM EST/6 AM PST on Tuesday May 1, 2017! 🙂



  1. I’m so excited about participating in NaPiBoWriWee again this year. Paula, you’re the best. Thank you for hosting this and for all the hours you and Alison invest behind the scenes to make it happen.

  2. I am super excited for my first year participating in this challenge! I, too, am a horrible procrastinator and love challenges like this because they give me deadlines 🙂 Thanks for hosting!

  3. Hurray! I’m a newbie for this challenge! Up and Adam drinking loads of coffee. Love this idea. Thanks Mindy for showing me the light! And thank you Paula for being brilliant.

  4. HI Paula and NAPIBOWRIWEE Pals!: This is my 2nd year participating, and I am SO HAPPY to be back! Last year’s rough drafts gave me a supply of works-in-progress to continue to work on throughout the year. WHAT A PRICELESS GIFT — 7 PRICELESS GIFTS, actually!!! I just finished my DAY #1 STORY! It is also the 15th DAY IN A ROW that I have WRITTEN EVERY DAY!!! Here’s to another successful year FULL of stories! GOOD LUCK, EVERYBODY!!!! One thing that helps take the pressure off me: Look at each day and each manuscript as simply being a free write. Don’t get caught up in the fear of being perfect–that will come later! HAPPY DAY #1!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH, PAULA, for this INCREDIBLY INSPIRING event!!!

  5. Anyone else think it’s fun to just say NaPiBoWriWee? I feel like it could be one of our rivers up in the Northeast! Alrighty then, so while traveling home yesterday wrote down 8 ideas, as a way to start with some sort of checklist/plan. 8 in case I really can’t get along with one.

  6. One down 6 to go! I just finished writing my first draft from a Storystorm idea and hope to sketch out an idea that I got while writing it. Love it when that happens!

    Thank you for doing this again, Paula, I believe that this is my 7th year and I’m really looking forward to seeing what I come up with

  7. I have a list of ideas that I will be working on this week. Thank you for this opportunity to actually get at the ones that have been sitting around for a while. I am writing this on my break as I have started on my first idea. I don’t know why I didn’t get to this one sooner!!

  8. I’ll be working today until I get that first draft written! I’m excited and determined. First, I have to get my resources together…..chocolate, wine, p.j.’s, and pizza!..

  9. This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. A “kick in the writing butt” is a good thing. I’m ready to write 7 first drafts. I will kindly ask my critic to take a vacation as I write (okay, my critic is stubborn– a muzzle might be required). I have notes, ideas, and research and I’m ready! Thank you for inspiring all of us!

  10. Challenge accepted! I’m a first time participant and adding onto 12×12 challenge…feeling prolific. Thank you Paula for coordinating this event. Love this year’s author line up and excited to get started. Good luck to everyone!

  11. Paula – thanks so much for running this challenge! I just finished a rough first draft — thrilled to have a draft on my screen! I got the idea during Storystorm…happy to finally work on it today! Looking forward to a great week!

  12. Thanks Paula, my first time at this challenge. I love the fact that it is designed to be a procrastination buster! Looking forward to both the challenge and the ritual of a book a day. Using NESCBWI inspiration as well due to fortunate timing of both.

  13. So excited about this. It’s my first time but it’s such a great way to get re-energized. I wrote my first one this morning. It’s a very rough draft but it’s on paper and that’s a start.

  14. Hi Paula, this is my second year participating. I was lucky enough to win your book Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story last year. It is a wonderful book and a great mentor text as I like to write non-fiction picture book biographies! While I have since gone on to publish five books, I LOVE your challenge and am using this as an excuse to write whatever pops into my head for each of the seven days. I had a lot of fun with today’s manuscript, so thank you!

  15. Wow! I’m at work and just saw all the posts. Excited by everyone’s comments – yay! Good luck today! I will post more comments and updates later today. 🙂 HAPPY WRITING! xo P.

  16. I’m a newbie, but I already have one draft in the “hopper” all about weather since we lost power this AM. I went old school w/yellow legal pad and pen. Thank you for inspiring us all, Paula.

  17. Thank you, Paula for this challenge! First draft? Check. Looking forward to reading the advice and insights of published authors in this inspiring week

  18. What a fun way to spend my birthday ? We were traveling and got back late last night. Picked up the mail -looked through catalogs and ta da! An idea for the first story ? Thank you, Paula for the inspiration ❤️

  19. Well, I have to say, that felt GREAT! Just finished a rough draft of a story I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’m scratching my head over why it took me so long to actually sit down and write it! 🙂 Well, I know why. Too many other projects pulling at me. But it goes to show if you just commit to a few minutes a day, the magic can happen!

  20. This is my first year participating! I love the idea of whipping up 7 drafts in 7 days, and am excited to take on the challenge. I look forward to reading the blog posts and cheering everyone’s progress.

  21. So excited for the week!!! I’m already midway through my 1st rough rough draft for today. 😉 I’ve always loved napibowriwee and am inspired and energized by it. Thank you!!!

  22. This is my first year participating and I am excited! Writing everyday is such an important habit to create and continue. Thank you for hosting this challenge!

  23. Very excited to be a first time NaPiBoWriWee participant! I’m revisting Storystorm ideas this week and will be working on a first draft later tonight after my kids go to bed. Happy writing, everyone!

  24. Thank you Paula:)
    I’m back. I love this week. I look forward to it every single year. I already have next year marked off on the calendar!
    My first rough draft is out, thanks to Paula!!

    Welcome all new comers:)

  25. So excited to participate in this my first year. I’ve done NaNoWriMo for nearly ten years, so I love a challenge. Thanks for putting this together. So happy to join this group with other writers whose work I know and enjoy.

  26. WhoHoo! I love this week! And though I am attempting a Screen-Free week for Children’s book Week, I’m mostly using the extra time to get my NaPi drafts written. (Okay, “napi” doesn’t stand for much, but it’s how I mentally nickname this week.) so obviously, I’ve got to check in here daily. Thanks in advance, Paula…and here’s to a fruitful week!

  27. Hi fellow writers! I’m happy to take Paula’s challenge for the 3rd year. I can revise a picture book for years, but I have to trick myself into writing first drafts. This year I will also attempt to write in a different location each day. Today, I’m writing at my son’s high school between meetings. Here’s to the first crappy draft!

  28. Day 1 draft: Story about a garden slug with a sweet tooth. Her sweet tooth keeps getting her into trouble because the humans try to capture her and her family using sugar. A little Mr Magoo mixed with Looney Tunes. Yay!

  29. Yay! Here we go. I’ve spent significant time trying to read today’s blog, only to be continually interrupted, which has given me a story idea.

  30. I am thrilled to be participating this year for the first time! I have recently heard about drafting stories on post its or index cards. Are there any unique ways people are drafting their stories this week?

  31. One of last year’s 7is out on the competition and submission trail right now. Thanks Paula, for this great ‘get yourself into gear’ event. So looking forward to seeing what NaPiBoIdWee 2017 provides and produces 🙂

  32. I’m excited to participate again this year by am off to a good start with a fractured fairy take I’ve been thinking about. Hope I can keep it rolling.

  33. Hello Paula. This is my first year. I’m excited about the writing ahead of me and the reading you have on offer. Thank you for all your efforts to organise this.

  34. Thank you again for hosting this fun, inspiring event! I’m squishing my writing into an hour each evening after work. Last year I didn’t think this would work for me, because I’m typically so tired after work. But I set a timer for 45 minutes, and raced the ticking to write as fast as I could! I ended up with very rough “enhanced outlines” but was thrilled with the results that I could continue to revise over the following weeks. Often I was surprised by what flowed onto the monitor when I didn’t have time to linger over each part.

  35. Hello to another year of NaPi! I achieved a partial draft today, and that is more than I have written in many months. Therefore, I am calling it personal success. NaPi is the motivator to get my BIC, and if I can do that, then I will celebrate! Thanks for sitting me down, Paula! Congratulations to everyone that achieved a personal writing goal today and also to those that achieved the NaPi daily goal of writing one complete draft!

  36. Thank you so much for organizing this, Paula! Because of NaPiBoWriWee, I was inspired this evening to finally finish a draft of a story I’ve been wanting to write! It’s a very rough draft–but it’s a draft! Thank you!!!

  37. Day one thoughts: Hmm, there isn´t as much there as I thought. This manuscript and idea will take a lot more work but at least it is on paper instead of just kicking around in my head!

  38. It is very freeing to not worry about all the tiny editors in my brain. They have been given the week off.

  39. Second year tuning in. Committing to hitting the keyboard every day. Thanks Paula, for creating this inspirational community and this motivating challenge.

  40. I’m always up for a writing challenge! Thanks for your inspiring words! Today, I’m pounding down a few hundred for a concept I jotted down during PiBoIdMo last year! #goingforthegoals!

  41. OK, I keep telling myself I need to write that story about… gangrene. Well, Ok, there’s other parts, too, but right now I feel I have gangrene, so that’s the part I’m stuck on, lol.

  42. Woop woop! This is my first year participating & I loved my first day! It was even harder than I expected, though! I threw myself at the beginning, then sort of…stopped…& got a bit lost, realising I didn’t really have an idea for a middle or ending! So some scribbling & thinking later I managed a very long-winded, very rough draft. It feels so good to have something down, some ground work to build on!
    I’m an illustrator just starting out writing picture books, & I find I spend a lot of time planning & plotting before I end up too frustrated to start even first drafts, so this has been a wonderful breakthrough for me. Wish me luck for tomorrow! I’m going to go in there with a slightly more solid idea of what I want to write about, so perhaps it isn’t quite so stressful. Thank you so much for this, what a fab idea. I’m so pleased with myself tonight, even if I did miss my bedtime! 🙂

  43. First-timer here! I just completed a draft. Time to hit the hay and dream of the next idea. Thank you for this fun and exciting challenge, Paula!

  44. Thanks Paula for this great opportunity to challenge myself in a fun and structured way! It’s my first time, and I have my first story done (woo hoo!). Looking forward to the week, and learning with and from all of the amazing folks here! Cheers 🙂

  45. This is my first year participating in napibowriwee. I’m excited to go through my notebook of ideas and bring seven of these ideas to life. Thanks for the motivation, Paula. I had a wonderful first day. I’m feeling happy about the rough draft I’ll be revising later. Now off to dream about tomorrow’s story.

  46. Wahoo–I love NaPiBoWriWee! Thank you so much for this extremely fun and motivating challenge, Paula. I look forward to it every year. xoxo

    I was busy revising my MG all day, but refused to go to sleep until I completed a brand new PB draft. Thanks to you, I did one and already mapped out my writing time for tomorrow to make sure I can tackle #2 (hopefully a lot earlier than my first draft).

  47. OH WOW YOU GUYS! I can’t believe 76 comments today! So proud of everyone’s work today! I’m sorry I could not respond individually to everyone’s comments – today was a rather busy day at work. (Stay tuned for more details on that in tomorrow’s Day 2 Blog). I did write my first book – a pic book biography since that’s my specialty. I write about my Day 1 experience for tomorrow’s blog. So stay tuned for that and also for our interview with guest author Jason Gallaher! xo P.

  48. Am so happy to have boarded the NaPiBoWriWee train. As a first time passenger I amazed myself by completing a first draft of a new story on Day 1, and in double quick time too as I had to get it finished before my guests arrived to help celebrate the May Day Bank Holiday here in the UK. In our village, this involves a Cheese Rolling competition along the high street (with First Aiders on standby at all times)! It just goes to show what a bit of real focus and concentration can achieve … thanks Paula for helping me to give Mr Procastination his marching orders (hopefully for a lot longer than 7 days). Now, let’s get on with Day 2!

  49. May 1 –I posted on FB-yesterday Day 1–and now have (1) Santa Claus picture book–first draft–so now posting here! This would not have happened without the challenge. Excited to see what comes out today on Day 2. Thanks

  50. I have a crazy busy week this week but I am excited to give myself this nudge to jump start my writing again. With jobs, kids and family commitments it is really easy for writing to get pushed to the side. Thank you for this event!

  51. One horrible draft done! It’s amazing how a raw idea expands once we start writing it down. Thanks, Paula for challenging me.

  52. I’m back for the second year and NaPiBoWriWee is definitely the hardest challenge of the year – but the most productive for me. I can do ideas, I can do revision, but I am hopeless at committing a first draft to paper. Last year I did it. And this year I have one draft so far. Onwards and upwards – thanks Paula!

  53. I am super excited I found this event! I do not know if I will be able to draft 7 stories while working, but I am going to try my best. I appreciate you Paula for giving me this challenge. One PB draft completed and excited to start my second one right now.

  54. Day 2- Picture book Number 2—A Regional folktale!
    Day 1-Picture book Number 1—-A Holiday Tale

    Thanks everyone! 🙂

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