Step 1: Decide whether you are ready to make the commitment. This is a commitment to yourself and your work. The Picture Book Marathon is designed to jumpstart your writing and your creativity -- but you need to be prepared to do it. It's not something to start half-heartedly.
Choose either the full marathon (26 picture book drafts in 28 days) or the half marathon (13 picture book drafts in 28 days). For illustrators, that translates to 13 or 26 rough picture book covers or inside spreads. The marathon is set up so that you complete one draft per day until you reach 26, allowing two rest days during the month.
Step 2: Prepare. Today's post, the first of our training tips, is about clearing space. It's really a three-pronged effort.
First, clear the physical space where you work. Clean up the piles, put away the stuff that doesn't belong there anyway, shred those documents you've been meaning to get rid of. Good thing I do the Picture Book Marathon every year, or I might never see the top of my desk.
Second, start clearing your February calendar (or keeping it clear) of unnecessary engagements. Figure out how you're going to make the time to write or illustrate each day, considering that you still do need to do things like sleep, eat, and work. Will you get up an hour earlier each day? Use your lunch hour?
Third, open up mental space. Clear your thoughts so that you can be receptive to the ideas that come your way. Start turning your mind to the month ahead, and what you want to accomplish. What are the ways that help you to do that? Do you meditate, journal, run? Figure out what works for you.