amwriting, books, brainstorming, children's books, children's writing, imagination, picture book ideas, picture book manuscripts, picture books, Storystorm, Susie Ghahremani, Tara Lazar


Although we’re already into February I want to take a moment and celebrate January’s Storystorm!

If you’re a picture book writer or if you’re interested in writing a picture book, Storystorm created, coordinated, and hosted by Tara Lazar is the conduit to generating enough ideas to fill your new year.

The premise is to come up with 30 ideas in a month. An idea a day for all but the last or the first day of January, depending on your preference. To guide and inspire you, there are daily blog posts that come right to your email. What a nice way to start the day, or interrupt a day that’s heading south. Some posts are funny, some serious, but all are heartfelt.

I’ve participated in Storystorm for a number of years, even when it was in October and was called PiBoMo. But this year I’ve seen it through, for the first time ever, to come up with thirty ideas in thirty days. Actually, I came up with thirty three!

Now some of them are pretty wonky, but still . . .

Thank you to all who shared their writing journeys, their book journeys, and their techniques for idea-imagination creation via the blog posts. A huge thank you goes out to Tara Lazar for doing it all so well, once again!

Looking forward to pb manuscript weather systems propelling my writing this year!

Covid-19, creativity, in person sessions, quarantine, re-mote learning, Storystorm, teaching


January has been a difficult month. My school has quarantined multiple classes in both sites I visit, without sharing much information and without providing support to the therapists/teachers who continue to provide both remote and in-person sessions. According to my school admin., as long as you are have only been in a room or in contact with a student who was exposed to someone who tested positive for less than ten minutes you have nothing to worry about. As a teacher for pre-school students with delays, who are encouraged to wear their masks, but not required to, well let’s just say . . . I’m worried.

Worry compounded with a lack of compensation, yet increasing expectations has affected my personal writing time. I’m having difficulty attending to my personal creative efforts outside of the materials I create for my students. I can’t seem to lose my concerns by creating stories as I’m used to doing.

Thank goodness for Storystorm. For the first time ever, I have completed the challenge to come up with a picture book idea for each day of January. The guest bloggers on Tara Lazar’s blog Writing for Children While Raising Them had a good deal of positive take away thoughts that have helped me through the month.

I’m hoping February will be a better month both for clarity, and creativity. I hope it’s that way for you too.

Stay safe, stay well.

amwriting, book giveaways, brainstorming, children's books, children's writing, creativity, imagination, picture book author, picture book illustrators, picture book manuscripts, picture books, Storystorm, Tara Lazar, writing journey


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The StoryStorm challenge created by Tara Lazar and found on her blog Writing for Kids While Raising Them, is a fantastic way to generate ideas for potential picture books. Specifically, the challenge is to come up with a picture book idea for every day of January.

This being January 18th means that those participating are a little more than half way to reaching their goal. Are you participating? Is this your first year, or are you a returning challenger? If you are a returning challenger, have you always made it to the end of the month?

The median point of the month has notoriously been the time when work responsibilities gets the better of my attention (Special Education Annual Review Time), and my consistency with following the daily StoryStorm blog posts and brainstorming an idea a day peters out. In fact, I found a calendar template for last year’s StoryStorm and I’d made it until the 16th, so I’m already doing better than last year, and that’s definitely a plus.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on

This year, I’m determined. I’m going to do it. I’m going to make it all the way to the end of January. The featured guest bloggers for StoryStorm have been funny, inspirational, validating; the list of encouraging adjectives could go on and on. It’s amazing how many different ways there are to come up with ideas. Many of the guest bloggers recommend mentor texts which is another great source for inspiration and idea creation. One of my favorite posts was about process over product, written by Kirsten Pendreigh Has there been a blog post that spoke to you more than others?

I don’t know if I will come up with a picture book that goes to contract this year from the ideas generated, but it’s more likely that I might, if I keep my word and the challenge. Have you had a picture book come from one of the ideas you came up with in past StoryStorms? If you have, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear about it and I bet other’s would too.

12x12, 12x12 challenge, amwriting, children's writing, picture book author, picture book manuscripts, Storystorm, Uncategorized, wip, work in progress

Catching up is hard to do . . .

One week left in January and I’m still catching up from the holidays which is why I haven’t posted in the past few weeks.

Between the start up of school, and the creation of a proposal for a magazine that needed a bibliography, samples of writing etc., edits on an early chapter book, the heady excitement of a picture book manuscript acceptance offer from a publisher, getting my daughter set and back to college, trying to keep up with Storystorm, Tara Lazar’s challenge to create a picture book idea for every day in January see and her blog Writing for Kids (While Raising Them), beginning the though I’m not ready for its first manuscript deadline which is . . .Yikes-this Friday, annual review reports (those of you in special ed. know what I mean) that are due at the same time quarterly progress reports are due and . . .oh my weekly blog posts. Yikes!

Photo by Pixabay on

As you can tell, I’m still working on catching up, which is manifest in this post being written and published. Check, one thing done.

But nagging at the base of my brain is the mentor text I want to type over to get a feel for its flow and specific word count. Hopefully it will help me to continue editing a relatively new story (its a reworking of an older idea) that was finished in rough draft around the holidays and was only looked at again yesterday.

Once I dummied it out I found out its way over the 32 page picture book limit. Yikes, and more Yikes.

But its a work in progress, I keep telling myself, it’ll get there just have to keep working on it. That goes for all of the other above mentioned to do’s on my post list. Writing them out in a run-on sentence doesn’t look as threatening to me as a vertical list. Am I the only one who thinks this? Not sure if I want to know the answer to that one.

So, like Dory does in Nemo I’m just gonna, keep swimming, keep swimming. Thanks for the swimming lessons Mom. I didn’t appreciate them then, but I do now!

Photo by Jim De Ramos on

How have you been doing with catch up? Any suggestions on how to make it easier??