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Autumn in all its glory

I've been lucky enough to observe peak leaves twice now, once ten days ago on the trip I made with my sweetheart to Massachusetts to visit Maggie at college, and again now, here in New Jersey. Autumn is really flexing its muscles this year, with a truly blustery day yesterday, and lots of leaf-fall as a result. I hear that Winter is trying to sneak into various areas of the country early, with snow to the South and far North of me in the past few days. It reminds me to be thankful for our house and for the ability to afford heating.

I read a terrific fall-related piece yesterday, Not If, But When, written by Dani Shapiro. It's about autumn, and also about mortality. I'm okay with mortality, really, and with death, and talking about it, even though I know folks who aren't. But her post was lovely, and so here is a link for you: Not If But When by Dani Shapiro.

It being November, I started both Picture Book Idea Month and Picture Book Month this year on the 1st of the month, though I'd already set up my notebook and been taking notes on the "pre-PiBoIdMo" posts. If you are interested in picture books, I recommend Picture Book Month for sure. Each day, an author or illustrator puts up a post about why they feel picture books are important. You get to learn a bit about the author or illustrator, too, as well as their books.

If, like me, you are also interested in writing picture books, then Picture Book Idea Month may be for you. It provides inspirational or motivational posts or posts containing good advice every day during the month of November. The goal is to come up with one idea (or more) each day for a possible picture book. At the end of the month, with just one idea a day, you'll have 30 ideas - plenty to work on for an entire year, if they're all workable! This is my fourth time participating, and it has helped me to formulate or find lots of ideas, some of which totally suck, but some of which have become manuscripts. (I am certain a few of them will eventually sell. I am slow at sending out submissions, however, so "eventually" is the key.)

If you are engaged in NaNoWriMo, then (a) I doubt you have time to be reading this and (b) I nevertheless am cheering you on and wishing you luck. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you are (a) probably retaining your sanity and (b) it's National Novel Writing Month, wherein people commit to drafting a 50,000-word novel. They start on November 1st and are supposed to be done by midnight on November 30th. That means 1,667 words per day, each day. The NaNoWriMo site offers incentives and encouragement and, probably, floggings - whatever it takes to keep people typing. Maybe I'll do it someday, but that's more of a "never say never" thing for me than an actual desire to try it. At least for now.

Edited to add: I forgot that November is the Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge over at Poetic Asides, Robert Lee Brewer's blog at Writer's Digest. Which I totally meant to do, so I'm jumping in. Good thing I caught it on Day 3, yes?

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