Sunday, January 30, 2011

Recap of Training Tips, Week 2

Okay, time to pull out the calendar. Take a look at February and block time out for the marathon when you can.

Also take note of where the "trouble" spots will be, and plan how to deal with them. Remember, you have two "rest" days. Ration them wisely!
Each evening over the next several days, think about when you would have written that day if you were already marathoning. What will you need to do differently to fit it in? 
Or better yet, over the next several days, sit down at some point during the day and spend twenty minutes writing - not a picture book, just anything. Flex those writing muscles...
If you haven't seen the logo that author/illustrator Nathan Hale designed for the marathon, check it out at

Now's the time to solicit support for your marathon.  Let family and friends know what you'll be doing and ask for their help.
"Help" might be:
A (short) call to see how your writing went:  “You did write today, didn't you?”
Or a box of chocolates with 26 pieces you don’t have to share.  (Hint, hint!)
Or giving you the space you need to get some writing done.
I ordered a Picture Book Marathon t-shirt to wear while I write, and my family has agreed to not interrupt me when I wear it.  We decided that’s considerably friendlier than a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign.  Besides, it’s the only marathon t-shirt I’ll ever earn in this lifetime!
T-shirts, mugs, and tote bags (sporting the PB marathon logo created by Nathan Hale) are available at
(BTW, the marathon nor individuals associated with it don’t benefit from the sale of these items.)
So make a list of ways your friends and family can support you during the marathon and give them a phone call today.

Today’s training tip is about putting yourself in your co-creator’s shoes.  
If you’re a writer, check out some books on the illustrator’s craft. Something like Molly Bang’s “Picture this: How Pictures Work,” or “Illustrating Children’s Books: Creating Pictures for Publication,” by Martin Salisbury. 
If you’re an illustrator, you might take a look at a writing guide like Barbara Seulin’s “How to Write a Children’s Book and Get It Published”. 
And if you write and illustrate? Ha! You have to look at both... or maybe just check out Uri Shulevitz’s “Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books.”
Have a favorite book on the craft of writing or illustrating that you’d like to share? Post it in the comments section of today’s entry on the blog.
We’re almost gettin’ to the marathon start day.  Yikes!  When I’m feeling confused, panicked, or overwhelmed, my motto is, “Make a list!” 

Choose one (or all) of these topics for some playful, yummy, and productive list-making:
Words that you really like and that would be fun to include in a picture book. (Post it near your writing area as a potential source of story starters.)
Kids’ videos to check out from the library this weekend.  Classics or hot new ones.
Chores that can wait until apr├Ęs marathon.  (Make this a LONG list!)
Different “spots” you’ll use for writing.  (park bench, coffee shop, pet store, bathtub, etc.)
Yummy foods.
Other list ideas?

FYI--Lora’s already made an impressive grocery list that’s worth copying:
“Stocking Up” Grocery List

-espresso (for those early mornings - and/or late nights?)
-carrots (for when you’re feeling healthy) 
-really good chocolate (for when you’re not)
-pasta and some ready-made sauce (haven’t you read that marathoners should 
   carbo-load? and, it’s a quick meal to boot)
-dog treats (to bribe the dogs for five more writing minutes)
-ice cream (to bribe the kids)
-oranges (peel off a section, stick it in front of your teeth and go look in the mirror when  your picture book has you down -    hey, we are children’s writers, we’re allowed!)
-tea (so you can warm your fingers around the mug while you ponder the next twist)
-soup (because it makes a good February writer’s lunch)
-olives (to eat off your fingertips - stolen from Jean’s forthcoming book, How to Babysit a Grandpa)
-pretzels (because they’re healthier than a lot of that other junk food)
-whatever your favorite brain food is - you’re going to need lots of it!

Whichever list you choose--be bold, silly, extravagant, indulgent!
There's a new entry on the blog for introductions. If you have a moment in the next day or so, introduce yourself to your fellow marathoners. For instance, where (geographically) do you write? is this your first pb marathon? if you "ran" last year, did you finish (you don't have to answer that!).
There's another blog entry (also dated today) on how the marathon works, for those who have questions.
Starting Tuesday, February 1 (approaching quickly!) the only emails you'll get from us will be the weekly tally surveys. Our daily entries will move to the blog.
Last weekend before the marathon! If you have off this weekend, we recommend clearing the deck. Get as much out of the way as you can this weekend (clutter, chores, time commitments), and make way for a productive February.


  1. Hey folks, posting my intro here. (please see the why, below)
    My first time with this event - many thanks for your creation of it. Cheers to all those with but in chair, hands on keyboard (or notebook) typing away madly.
    Here the plan is to work on picture books every day.
    The goal is to write one, of the big part of one, a week. I registered at NaNoWriMo as a picture book rebel so this is right up my alley. I managed to write one new one in that month.
    When I'm not writing I'm reading or walking in the Florida shade or tending to my family or doing a wee bit of volunteering.
    Many many many many thanks for this.
    Jan Godown Annino

    (At the appropriate Jan. 28th blog entry, I find a glitch - server not connected. So apologies, for posting this intro here.)

  2. Hey thanks for the tips for us pb newbs! I especially like the 26 pieces of chocolate one...