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My New Math

December 1, 2014

I’ve completed, once again, the PiBoIdMo challenge.

vinvogel_piboldmo_winnerFor 2014, with calculated intent, I’ve added a batch of ideas for picture books. They now wait to be prodded and picked and refined into picture book drafts.

This was the fourth year I’ve participated, and I find I’m still picking  ideas from lists as far back as four years ago.  A number of ideas have been polished into full fledged stories.  Thanks to Tara Lazar and her marvelous guest authors, editors, and agents, not only do I have ideas, I have knowledge and insight and skills that I haven’t had before.

If you’ve read previous posts, you might know that I shifted focus to non-fiction last year. I tweaked a February 14:14 challenge on reviewing the elements of picture books to write reviews on non-fiction works.  In October I declined attending my state SCBWI conference to be able to attend the NF 4 NF non-fiction conference in Texas.

So in November I adopted a new strategy for PiBoIdMo. I tailored the challenge, daring myself to come up with TWO ideas per day: one non-fiction PB idea, and one fiction PB idea.

Dosn’t 30 + 30 = 60, you say?  Yes, I fell below my personal challenge of 60 ideas. And yes, the goal to complete the group challenge was 30 ideas.  And YES, I have 16 more ideas than if I had accepted the norm.

I learned this year that the sum of an equation depends on the addends in the equation. The addends PiBoIdMo offered, plus the addends I dared to include, gave me a better sum than the ordinary.

Make the challenges you accept your own challenges. Dare to tweak and modify and add to keep the challenge relevant, and practical for you.  Divide a challenge into meaningful parts. Hey, subtract, even–sometimes less can be more.

I now know that how I add ideas to my writing journey isn’t going to be common core anymore.

I like my new math.  I think I’ll keep writing with it.

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