by Sue Heavenrich
After you've tossed the wrappings and boxes in the bin, rolled up the ribbons, and put away the red-and-green felt stockings, treat yourself to a post-holiday gift of writing. All you need is a pencil, maybe a few markers, and some paper.
“Trust the process,” Julie says as participants explore the successes, challenges, and disappointments in their writing. Each day focuses on one thing. Pull out a fresh sheet of paper and focus on Surprises, Julie says. Another day it’s Things you’ve Learned, or Things you are Grateful for. These pages create the foundation of a blueprint for our writing. My favorite day is “create a cover for your blueprint” day. One year that became a map. Another year it resembled a field guide to gardening.
What I like about the 12 Days is that it feels like a bridge between one year and the next. And rather than make a list of writing goals for the new year – my lists are always way too long – Julie encourages us to reflect without the pressure of accomplishing specific things.
How to Connect with 12 Days of Christmas for Writers
keep tabs on Julie’s Facebook page
Check Julie’s website
She announces it on the 12 x 12 picture book challenge site
Sign-up for email
Tara Lazar hosts Storystorm, which begins January 1. This event is focused on a single goal: to generate 30 picture book ideas in a month – ideas that can, over the following months, be turned into complete manuscripts. Tara started this event years ago (2009 to be exact) as Picture Book Idea Month, or PiBoIdMo. It was an alternative to NaNoWriMo for the picture book crowd. Over the years it evolved and broadened, and now novelists, short story writers, non-fiction authors and even teachers and their students join in the challenge. Storystorm is open to any writer – or anyone – who wants to brainstorm for a month.
I have used all manner of ways to collect my brainstorms, from index cards to slips of paper collected in a cookie tin to sort-of-official "idea notebooks." At the end of the month I go through my ideas and choose the ones that spark something in me, and get to work.
How to Connect with Storystorm
I know what you're thinking: these things don't happen until late this month - next year even! So why write a post about them now? Well ... some of us need advance warning so we can scribble notes on our calendars. Not to mention toss a notebook and some markers in a box and put it next to our favorite writing spot!