Cool Tools for Kidlit Writers and Illustrators

I started following ReFoReMo posts last year when it was featured on Carrie Charley Brown’s ‘Carrie On…Together’ website and this was the first post I saw:


I subscribed to the newsletter and from that point on, I read and studied every post and still do. @carriebrowntx

Starting over with a new career in late 2012, I knew I needed to start catching up on picture books and young adult books before I started writing books again. (I had written quite a few years ago but shelved them after they received so many rejections.) So from late 2012 through 2013 I read and read and read and wrote an occasional story just for fun.

In 2014 I got serious. I took a few online writing classes to hone some skills and then followed picture book author, Jamie A. Swenson’s advice to join SCBWI. Jamie is one of our children’s librarians at our public library which is how I met her. She also told me if I want to succeed in this business, I need to be aware of what’s out there and read, read, read. I had that part down. @JamieASwenson if you were a dog

So I joined SCBWI and went to my first SCBWI function in my home region of Wisconsin WI-SCBWI scbwiwilogo_400x400 and met so many wonderful people in the kidlit community. SCBWI is a must to be a part of if you are serious about writing kidlit.

Also in 2014, I discovered various writing groups on Facebook. I checked them out and in 2015 joined several including PiBoIdMo. piboidmo2015participant PiBoIdMo is writing down 30 picture book ideas in a month, one for every day of the month. This gives writers and illustrators opportunities to create ideas to work on throughout the year. I was all in coming up with not just 30 ideas but 36 total. Of those 36, I have eleven of them in various stages of revisions. PiBoIdMo offers so much more than just coming up with ideas so look into it. November is less than 2 months away.  @taralazar  normalnormancoverfinal

Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge  @JulieFHedlund was recommended to me by author Tara Lazar while I participated in PiBoIdMo. Tara is the founder of PiBoIdMo. She had sent me the link to 12 x 12 and ReFoReMo (the link from the beginning). 12x12_logo1 (1)

a troop is a group of monkeys

12×12 was the exact opportunity I was looking for to make my 36 ideas from PiBoIdMo shine. I started that in January and as March got closer I got excited for ReFoReMo which worked well with my 12 x 12 goals.

I found that just reading picture books wasn’t enough for writing good picture books. I needed to understand what secret to success each book held and not it’s selling success but what about the book made me like it or not. I measure a books success by readers enjoyment of the book. Yes, sales are great and necessary but the ultimate high is when a reader loves your book.

March 2016 brings me to ReFoReMo. I dove into the recommended reading list and the rest is history. What I gained from participating can be seen here:


The above article features me as a participant edited by Kirsti Call  @kirsticall  who is co-founder of ReFoReMo along with Carrie Charley Brown. the raindrop who couldn't fall

There are so many fantastic opportunities to be involved in your kidlit writing career if you choose to do so. These four are my top ones so far for getting me as far into my writing career as I am. I have confidence that I will have a long and rewarding career writing picture books and young adult books.

Oh, by the way, besides having talent, kidlit writers MUST HAVE PATIENCE! If you do not have patience then a career in writing any book is out of the question.

#justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting



#PiBoIdMo –

#12x12Challenge –

#ReFoReMo –


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