14 Day Picture Book Challenge Day 1 – Plan and Write Your First Draft

“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
“Were do you want to go?’ was his response.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.’ “

When I am writing creatively, I prefer an open-ended, intuitive approach and for that reason, I resist the planning stage of developing my new ideas for a potential picture book. I don’t even title my new stories until the end. When I am actually writing, I don’t want anything to bind the free flow of my words. I want to allow myself to explore and go where my spirit leads me as I write. I realize, however, that this type of free-spiritedness is not always the best way to approach my entire career. I understand that if I want to get my writing published, I must jump into another gear–I must establish a Plan.

Today is Day 1 of the 14 Day Picture Book Challenge, and this will be a Planning Day. First, we’ll plan for writing the first draft of our new picture books. Quickly jot down the following questions and respond in simple, first-response sentences. Don’t worry about writing a story yet. Just ask and answer with your first reactions.

  1. What Story Do You Want to Tell?

  2. Who Is the Star of Your Story?

  3. When Did the Story Happen?

  4. Why Write This Story?

Believe it or not, Question #4 is the most important question of the bunch. If your story does not matter much to you, it probably won’t matter much to anyone else either. Write about something that is meaningful to yourself.

After you answer the above questions, you may want to write your first draft.

But Planning for a Picture Book Involves More Than Planning to Write.

Planning for a Picture Book Also Involves Planning How to Get Your Book Published and How to Market It Once the Manuscript Is Written.

Being a writer who wants to publish is like being a juggler. There are many things that a writer who is on a publishing path must do, and like a juggler, he must always keep all of those things circling in the air. A writer who is on a publishing path is in business, and until he finds a publisher–or at least an agent–he has to manage every part of his business alone. Planning is vital to keeping a writer moving toward his goal.

“If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Road Will Take You There.”
– Lewis Carroll –

But If You Do Know Where You Want to Go in Life,
It Is Essential that you Plan Your Journey. Setting Goals is Part of that Plan.

The 14-Day Picture Book Challenge is a Way to Set a Goal for Yourself. It is a Contest to Be Better than Yourself.

The 14-Day PB Challenge is Unique in that it is about more than coming up with new ideas. It is a PLAN for FINISHING ideas — 1 picture book at a time.

And Beyond That, The 14-Day PB Challenge is A PLAN to Begin Marketing the Picture Book That You Write.

Remember this important distinction: It is perfectly fine for people to write–just for the pleasure of writing. In fact, that may be the easiest route. But if you do want to have any hope of earning a living from your writing, you need to establish a Marketing Strategy. It boils down to this. A Writer Must Decide Where He Wants His Writing to Take Him–and Then, He Must Follow Through with That Plan.

As you begin the 14-Day Picture Book Challenge, your first task is to PLAN the book that you are about to write. But keep in mind that ultimately, your PLAN will also include a process for getting your book published and marketed.