Posted by: nancyisanders | April 7, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book in 3 Weeks: Calendars


I’ve posted two calendars at the site of my feline writing buddies, Writing According to Humphrey and Friends. Scroll down to the section marked CALENDARS, then download and print out both of them:

3-week Blank Calendar
3-week Nonfiction Picture Book Calendar

The 3-week Nonfiction Picture Book Calendar features the tasks I’m completing each day, Monday through Friday, for the next three weeks to write the first draft of my nonfiction picture book. You can follow along, too, and get yours done as well!

The Blank Calendar is there for you to use if you want to rearrange some of the tasks to better suit your own personal schedule. For example, you may want to write on the weekend. Or you may have Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to write for 8 or 9 hours and not be available to write on Tuesday or Thursday. You can use the Blank Calendar to regroup the list of tasks to complete on the days that better fit your schedule.

The 3-week Nonfiction Picture Book Calendar
As you can see on this calendar, the very first Sunday lists pre-writing tasks that were important to take before you begin your writing journey.

1. Make a commitment to follow through for the next three weeks to write the first draft of your nonfiction picture book from beginning to end.
2. Do what it takes to get motivated to sit down and actually write!
3. Gather a stack of potential mentor texts, current nonfiction picture books that you want YOUR picture book to look, sound, and feel like.
4. Choose the broad topic you want to write about. My broad topic is the biography of a famous American founding father. I haven’t yet narrowed the topic on what exactly I’ll be writing about, but I chose this broad topic so I can get started on my research.
5. Gather in a stack of potential research books on your broad topic, both books for adults and children’s books.

MONDAY, our first day
Today, if you haven’t yet done this, set up your research center. That’s a picture of my research center at the top of this post. I actually set it all out on our dining room table to see what books I had to work with, but then I moved it into my office where I can leave it for the next three weeks. On the far left you can see the pocket folder I’m using to organize all my papers. Next to that is my stack of potential mentor texts. You can see the copy of Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library on top. I’m seriously considering using it as my mentor text. And on the right you can see my stack of potential research books, both for adults and for kids.

So have fun setting up your research center, too! Not only is it a lot of fun to see this all put together, it will help us focus and stay organized for the next three weeks.

After you’ve got your research center all set up, choose a book or two, and start reading! As you’re reading, focus on the goal of narrowing your topic. In other words, search for one gold nugget about your topic that you want to focus on. You want it to be a fresh and unique angle on your broad topic that also has great kid-appeal and will be of interest in today’s market. Jot down ideas as you research.

Now it’s time to actually choose one narrow topic to write about. CLICK HERE to find some tips on this process if you’re having a tricky time with it.

(Follow the next 3 weeks of posts for more tips on how to use this calendar.)


  1. I’m ready, and I got up early to get the 3 hours in. Thanks for the motivation and structure!

    • Oh Pat, I love your dedication and zeal! Thanks for sharing and encouraging us to jump on in on the fun!!!!

  2. I can’t start first thing this morning, but I Tweeted about it to get more people on the writing wagon. Looking forward to it.

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