Well, here we are. The last day of our 2017 National Picture Book Writing Week.

On Monday, May 1, 2017, we all started this journey to write 7 picture books in 7 days. Some of us are close to completing this goal. Some of us are still trying to play catchup but have at least written one full and completed picture book draft. And maybe some of us haven’t finished anything yet but we have at least written every single day.

So to everyone on Day 7, I say to you all…


My quick recap from Day 6. So as I had mentioned earlier, I had accidentally stumbled upon a fascinating true life story that made think, “This has GOT to be a picture book.” So I did some research and decided to let that research simmer in my head. I planned to write the draft of the book on Day 6.

Instead, as I was getting to write this non-fiction picture book for Day 6, I did a little bit more googling and found out… THERE WERE ALREADY TWO BOOKS PUBLISHED ABOUT THE SAME STORY! So I realized I was too late.

Normally, just because there is a book out there about the same topic as yours, you should NOT let that discourage you from writing YOUR book. For example, I am a violinist and one of my YA novels is about a teen violinist. There are MANY YA novels out there about teen violinists. But I still went ahead and wrote MY book because none of these novels were written from MY unique perspective. As a result, GOOD ENOUGH (HarperCollins 2008) is still in print and doing very well!

But for my NAPIBOWRIWEE idea, I realized both published books were TOO similar to where I wanted to go with my story. So I decided to scrap it. However… because I am a screenwriter, I realized this historical topic could be a potential future script idea. So as I mentioned before, nothing is ever truly wasted in our writing! So I am putting my research in a folder and will let that marinate and who knows, maybe down the line, I will write a screenplay about the same topic!

But unfortunately, I had NOTHING PLANNED for Day 6.

Until my cat Oreo sneezed and wheezed. See, my cat Oreo has feline asthma. I have to use a tiny kitty inhaler on him twice a day.

So I couldn’t help it and wrote a very very young cute picture book about my sneezing cat. 🙂 Lesson learned: When in doubt and stuck on ideas, ALWAYS WRITE ABOUT YOUR CAT. LOL! 😛

Anyway, so for the past few NAPIBOWRIWEE years, I was unable to write 7 picture books in 7 days. I only wrote 4 or 5 books in the past few years. It was mostly due to work and other unforeseen problems (one year, our roof leaked and I had to deal with construction for most of NAPIBOWRIWEE which took a TON of time out of my writing time LOL). So I’m really excited that this year, I was able to focus more and I might be able to finish 7 books in 7 days this year!



And now,  how to inspire YOU to finish your 7th and final book (or for those of you who are a little behind, how to at least finish that book you are still working on!)

Because we do not have a Guest Author for Day 7, I thought I would inspire all of you with a success story from one of very own our NAPIBOWRIWEE participants!

DIANE O’NEILL has participated in previous NAPIBOWRIWEE events. She kindly contacted me this year to let me know some good news. A picture book draft she wrote in 2009 was JUST accepted by HIGHLIGHTS Magazine.

Let me repeat that – a story Diane wrote in 2009 is going to be published!!!!! 2009! Wow! Talk about PERSEVERANCE and never giving up! Diane started NAPIBOWRIWEE from Year One. (I started this event in 2009. Unfortunately, it was on my old website and the archives are no longer online, although I have screenshots of that year which I will one day archive here later.)

Diane wrote this to me: “Hi Paula! I just wanted to thank you again for NaPiBoWriWee! A story that I started during NaPiBoWriWee 2009 has just been accepted by Highlights — I signed the contract yesterday! If it hadn’t been for NaPiBoWriWee, I might have never written the story. It’s about Valentin Haüy, the man who started the first school for children with visual impairments, at a time when society didn’t think people who were blind could learn. The name of the article is “Valentin’s School.” Also, another interesting fact — years later, Louis Braille enrolled in that school, and by the age of fifteen invented — you guessed it — Braille. (Haüy and Braille never met.) I’m still so excited–childhood dream come true, getting published in Highlights!”

CONGRATULATIONS DIANE O’NEILL!!!!!! She will keep us posted on when her article in Highlights comes out. Stay tuned, I will tweet about its publication date.

This is what I love about NAPIBOWRIWEE – everyone from novice first-time writers to veteran published kid lit authors participate in this event. We have so many success stories.

So for today’s Day 7 Question: What are YOUR success stories from NAPIBOWRIWEE? Did any of you get one of your manuscripts written during NAPIBOWRIWEE accepted for publication? Or did a NAPIBOWRIWEE draft get you signed to an agent? Did anything else in this event itself help inspire you towards accomplishing your own writing dream? (Such as developing a daily writing habit skill or starting a writing group or inspiring another draft later that would be published etc.?)

Finally… before we go off to write, please remember… I will be putting everyone’s name in a hat and picking out winners at random for our contest drawing. Prizes include souvenirs from our store along with signed books from our Guest Authors this week!

The contest winners will be announced on May 8th (blog posts 9 AM EST/6 AM PST)! So please come back for our May 8th blog!

Until then, please post your comments today for Day 7 here and on our Facebook page and on Twitter. Thank you again for participating and good luck on our final day (sob)! HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂


  1. This is my first year participating so I don’t have success stories yet except that I did manage to accomplish 7 drafts in 7 days. Some how I managed to stay focussed and carve enough time – regardless of what was going on (Obviously, nothing as big as a leaky roof tried to get in my way!). Thank you for the incentive to do that! I think there are at least two drafts that have potential so I plan to work on those now and will shout loud and long if anything comes of them. I hope to keep up the daily writing. It feels so good when you see what you have accomplished.

  2. Paula, thank you for this motivating challenge. I love the creativity that comes from sitting down and just writing! Sounds simple, but it is SO not!

    I ended the week with 6.5 drafts completed. I only did half a story today because I realized I’d need to do some research to flesh it out.

  3. Like Jane, this is my first year, but it won’t be my last. It really has been the most welcome kick up the behind at a time when I really needed it. I am chuffed to have finished 7 first drafts, and whilst some are more rounded than others, just making myself get to the end of a story each day instead of losing focus and putting it off for another day has been energizing. I hope the habit of writing something every day rather than telling myself that I’ll write double tomorrow is one I can keep going with. If any of the “Super Seven” become a success, I will certainly be on my rooftop with a megaphone giving you a shout out! Thanks Paula for such an inspirational week featuring your fabulous guests as well as your own personal journey. The countdown to 2018 NaPiBoWriWee has begun …

  4. This is my first year so no success stories yet, but I did turn one of my stories in to a submission for Highlight’s High Five so maybe I’ll have something to report next year! I really love the PB Bio idea I came up with too so I have high hopes for that.
    Thank you, Paula and your guests for an inspiring week of writing.

  5. Congratulations, Diane! I love the sticktoitiveness. 😉 You are an inspiration! Thanks again, Paula, for NaPiBoWriWee. I always look forward to it, am so inspired by it, and end up with lots of stories to work on. Thanks also to the community of writers taking part and posting! It’s always easier with comrades. LOL

  6. Such a great program you started Paula… It always kicks me into gear and I need that! Thanks for all your hard work!
    Hopefully all the writing this week and the weird dreams I had (up one a.m. at 3 to get down an idea)…will be successful!

  7. Congrats Diane! And thank you Paula for this challenge. It really is an inspiring week. I look forward to it each year. This year, I was crawling out from a head cold fog. So I feel very lucky to have written 6 drafts. Maybe I can still get the 7th one done later today. I have enjoyed the other writers’ encouragement and fun posts.

  8. Thanks for a great writing week, Paula! I love reading about your adventures.
    When I get stuck, there’s always a puppy story.
    I’ll be happy if I eek out my 4th first draft today. And this week helped me take a rejected PB and rewrite it into something better.
    Take care.

  9. I had not cultivated any new manuscripts for some time, and this prompted me to focus on that aspect of my continuing growth and career-building as a picture book author. I also tried a new style to add to my current repertoire.

  10. It’s silly, but I often loose track of the direct correlation between writing and inspiration… the more I write, the more I am called to write. This week really helped me find my happy writing place again. I’m a first timer also, but this week I made time for myself to write every day and connect with other picture book writers… that’s my success story!

  11. This is my first year, and I think my success story is just doing it! It was a very difficult week (for a lot of long, personal, boring reasons that are pointless to list), and I could have easily told myself it was too hard or have thrown in the towel. In the past I’ve been my writing goals aside for “life stuff” way too easily. But this week, I DIDN’T!

  12. This is my first year participating in this challenge. I appreciate you Paula for motivating me to write everyday and I enjoyed the daily inspiring blogs from the authors.
    I have drafted 4 PB’s and I am feeling successful!
    Thank you Paula.

  13. Thanks you so much for this challenge and for the inspiring posts. I have a couple of complete rough drafts and some solid starts with plans. Each day was a new experience – capturing inspiration and capitalizing on ideas that might otherwise have been lost. I still need to write the seventh, so back to work I go. Thanks again!

  14. Yes! I was totally inspired to write a whole new story. This week was wonderful for helping me sit down and write. I wish I could come up with a draft every day. Thanks!

  15. Thank you so much to everyone involved with this challenge! For my first year I completed 4 PB manuscripts, which I am super psyched about! This challenge definitely helped me develop the habit of writing (physically or mentally-which I do a lot in my beginning stages). I love finding these fun challenges/activities/resources that push me and remind me what a great community of published & unpublished authors is out there 🙂

  16. Just finished #6and 7! Whew! Many of the Napibowriwee manuscripts – maybe 25% – have gone on to submission. None published yet but enough rough work in one week to tweak all year! Thanks again for the suport and encoirsgrment!

  17. So this was a dysfunctional week still managed to squeeze out 2.5 drafts and 2 outlines, but I had fun and am encouraged by all the comments and stories; aswellas the inspirational interviews and advice from the pros.
    My biggest success story from #NaPiBooWriWee is being connected to other authors through places like #kidlit411 great feedback from other authors/industry relevant persons.

  18. I am so grateful for this week and the work I’ve accomplished because of #NaPiBooWriWee! Thank you to everyone who contributed stories, encouragement, and advice in order to help me in my writing journey.

  19. 5.5 done, a bit of research needed to finish number six, now for number 7. Thanks again Paula, this is my third year of NaPiBoWriWee and I look forward to it every year. I’ll be sure and let you know if anything comes of any of my mss 🙂

  20. No submission success stories here (yet!), but for my second year of NaPiBoWriWee, I’ve successfully written 7 full drafts this week. That feels pretty great! I’m starting to see/agree, finally, how writing everyday frees you up from feeling that when you sit to write that you have to pop out perfection. A lot of writing is practice. Some of these stories flowed more easily than others, but you have to start somewhere. And I like the backup plan of writing about your cat–I’ll remember that!

  21. I want to thank you for a wonderful week year after year. I keep participating and love every minute. This year one of the habits that I’ve gotten into in a big way is thinking in terms of writing. It just seemed to click on every aspect of my day. So many ideas flood into my consciousness. Thank you Paula and everyone.

  22. Hi Paula,
    This is the third year that I have participated in this pb challenge. I found myself really looking forward to this week and made sure that I cleared my calendar to give myself time to write. I managed to finish seven very rough manuscripts. Probably only two are worth pursuing but I’m glad I wrote all seven because they were ideas that have been simmering and needed to be put down on paper.
    I was inspired to write in different places which was lots of fun.
    I do have a success story. A piece I wrote last year about finding treasure on the beach sold to Alive magazine!
    Thanks for this great opportunity. I’ve enjoyed your guests and reading everyone’s comments.

  23. I SO enjoy this writing challenge! Thank you! I always write manuscripts that I may not have attempted otherwise. I am very close to sharing a NaPiBoWriWee success story that sprung from a manuscript I wrote during the challenge last year. I will release the story as soon as I’ve signed on the dotted line! 🙂 Thank you, Paula, for all of your hard work!

  24. This was my second year in a row taking part in NAPIBOWRIWEE. It took place during the BUSIEST AND HARDEST WEEK OF THE ENTIRE YEAR for me (doc visits, appointments, records to chase down, work, a much-needed gelato break with a pal, and an unplanned surgical procedure TO BOOT!)–but I MADE IT! And then, this morning I woke up with a HORRIBLE flu. I was SO SICK, and thought about how difficult the week had been, and just wanted to throw in the towel at that point. But then an idea, right then and there, POPPED into my head, demanding to be written–and I ended up getting it written sooner than the last three books this week! My success story this week is HUGE to me! I have always dreamed of being a writer, even before I could read or write. But the procrastination and lack of diligence kept my dreams in the distance. This week taught me one of the MOST VALUABLE lessons of my life: even with SO MUCH going wrong all week, I was able to write every single day! I finished 6 manuscripts! And while I didn’t get all 7 done, I learned I could write anywhere (I always write in bed, in my pajamas, but ended up writing at work for the fist time! There, I wrote part of my second day book, which I will be finishing ASAP!), no matter what was going on (even on a day I had a procedure!). NO MORE EXCUSES! NO MORE LETTING THINGS–OR MYSELF!–GET IN THE WAY OF GOING AFTER MY DREAMS!!! THANK YOU, PAULA, for this MUCH NEEDED-AMAZINGLY-INSPIRING-KICK-IN-THE-PANTS WEEK! It has TRULY BLESSED my life! THANK YOU to all the authors who took the time to inspire and motivate us, for imparting your wisdom, advice, and generosity! And THANK YOU to all the participants–my fellow NAPIBOWRIWEE WARRIORS! You have TRULY INSPIRED me with your own journeys. I wish you MUCH SUCCESS with the work you started this week! Until next year, Paula, I will remind myself every day of your wise and inspiring words at the end of each post: “HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT!” I think we all need to post that where we can see it each and every day! THANK YOU!!!! The countdown starts for NAPIBOWRIWEE 2018!!!

  25. Oh WOW! You guys!!!!!! Your comments today were so inspiring! From the flu (feel better Natalie!) to family and work commitments and yet you all kept writing every single day! I’m so proud of you! I had a good day – I wrote a skeleton draft of another picture book biography except this one was focused on a particular anecdote. I was very excited by this idea I had not expected to discover and definitely plan to keep working on this book after NAPIBOWRIWEE is done. I would say out of my 7 books, most of them were great writing exercises but 2 books were strong enough that I plan to revise them this year and submit them to my agent. So this was a productive NAPIBOWRIWEE! Read more about my adventures in tomorrow’s blog… which will also feature our CONTEST WINNERS!!!!! Our final blog with a wrap up and contest winners announcement will post Monday May 8th at 9 AM EST/6 AM PST so although NAPIBOWRIWEE has ended, we still have one more blog to go! Now everyone… go get some sleep! You’ve earned it! 🙂 xoxoxo Paula

  26. Year 1 for me, also. Success to me this year is finally getting a PB bio on paper that I’ve thought about for a few years. I created some new drafts that could become something w/a bit more work. I completed 4/7 and have scribbles of a few more. TY, Paula! I also met someone who may want to look at my PB bio. (I have a crit group, but new eyes are always precious!) Warning…I’ll be back next year!

  27. Waah!! It can’t be over!!! First, congratulations, Diane! Let us know when “Valentin’s School” comes out!

    Paula thank you for all your hard work and for coming up with the idea for NaPiBoWriWee. I look forward to it every year and can’t wait for 2018.

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