Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Revealing ReFoReMo: Just the Right Inspiration, Liberally Applied with Lori Gravley

Lori Gravley was an active participant in ReFoRemo 2016 and we're happy to have her share her experience with us!  Welcome, Lori!

Guest post by Lori Gravley

My ReFoReMo journey began with promises I made to myself.  I committed to writing a poem a day in 2016.  I committed to writing a picture book a month.  Then, I committed to reading 1,000 picture books in the year.  That led me to ReFoReMo.

I joined ReFoReMo in March because it seemed like a great way to access a reading list beyond the new shelf and best book lists. And, I’d gotten a little tired.  By the end of February, I had run out of the driving inspiration to write poems that wakes me in the middle of the night or makes me pull over on the side of the road to write a line down. I needed something to inspire new ways of seeing my work and the world.

The wonderful list that Carrie and Kirsti sent out was just the inspiration I needed.  With list in hand at the end of February, I ordered books I’d never heard of.  Using the mentor text worksheet that I adapted from Romelle Broas, I started reading and taking notes on the books.

When Tammi Sauer talked about different structures on Day 5, it inspired a daily poem that became a picture book draft, a “How To” book draft. A draft I would not have written without  ReFoReMo and my practice of writing a poem a day.  ReFoReMo gave me the inspiration.  My poem-a-day promise gave me the motivation.  On day five, I checked off each item from my list.  Poem, done. Picture book, complete. Picture books, ten more books read.

Sure, I would have written a picture book draft in March, even without the reading challenges, but the picture book draft I produced has the potential to become a beautiful, highly marketable book.  It was a way to tell about something I’m passionate about in a new way.  Without the ReFoReMo and the exploration of new forms of picture book story telling, I would not have written it.

Some friends tell me that they could never be a writers.  For them, writing is a challenge not a joy.  Because I give myself appropriate challenges, writing becomes a joy.  It isn’t easy, but it is wonderful when the reading and writing worlds collide to make something new.  In my case, picture books full of possibility and (hopefully) responsive to the market’s current needs.

Challenge yourself to read and challenge yourself to write, then see how those worlds collide to form something wonderful.

Lori Gravley writes poems for adults and books for children.  You can find out more about her and her work at www.lorigravley.com.


  1. Your love of and joy in writing shows. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Unknown. I'm so thankful for ReFoReMo and the wonderful community of PB readers and writers I've found here. Can't wait until next year. Thanks Kirsti and Carrie!

  2. I find challenges inspiring as well. I love how all of your challenges merged into a promising picture book. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Mary, I'm glad I'm not alone in my love of challenges. The nice thing is, after a while, some challenges become the norm, and you can take the next step. Thank you.

  3. I love this Lori, we're so glad to have you here on ReFoReMo!

  4. Thanks, Kirsti. I'm so thankful for the wonderful month of reading you inspired, and I'm thrilled to be here. ❤️