Picture Book Inspiration from Dan Yaccarino – RMC-SCBWI 2015

I'm delighted to share (with DY's permission!) my Sketchnotes from the fabulous author/illustrator Dan Yaccarino. Dan  spoke about the journey from inspiration to publication at the Rocky Mountain chapter of SCBWI a few weeks back.

In this talk, he explained the difference between a protagonist and an antagonist in the world of picture books. He also covered a wealth of information on what makes a good story for young people...I wish I could transport you all back with me, so you could witness his enthusiasm and energy first-hand! Since I still lack those magical time-travel powers (alas), hopefully a little bit of Dan-style inspiration will come through these notes. Enjoy!  

Did you find this post helpful? You might also enjoy this month's subscriber-only download: 4 Easy Tips to Sidestep Perfectionism and Rediscover Joy in Writing. Click here to download your FREE PDF of tips to help YOU sidestep perfectionism and get rolling on your work-in-progress!

Powerful Ways to Counter Perfection’s 7 Most Common Lies

With the holiday weekend, I’m taking a break from blogging this week…but don’t worry! I’ve got a great post that will probably be new to most of you. Check out this post over at the Wild Writers, where I blog with my critique group.Use What Talent1

There should be a support group…

…for perfectionist writers. We’d all start off by introducing ourselves: “My name is Cheryl, and I’m a perfectionist” and then go on to share our stories of identifying, struggling against, and, perhaps, overcoming perfectionism.

I like this idea because perfectionists have a surprising number of traits in common with addicts.

  • We’re good at denying we have a problem
  • We often misdiagnose the problem (eg, thinking we’re lazy or disorganized)

Perhaps most important, perfectionists and addicts share many of the same cognitive distortions.
Head on over to the Wild Writers blog to learn more about perfectionism–and how to keep it from holding you back as a writer!

3 Steps to a Problem-Solving Mindset

Forgetful. Lazy. Wasting your time. Those are a few of the “name-calling” labels that came up in Monday’s post on the dangers of labels. You could probably continue the list with labels of your own–you know, the things your inner critic starts chanting whenever you don’t measure up as a writer or a person.

Labels are death to creativity.


Labels send the insidious message that you that you can’t change your situation. They keep you stuck.

Fortunately, you can fight back against those negative labels–by taking these steps toward a problem-solving mindset.

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Check the Label–and Avoid These Common Creativity Zappers!

Check the label! 

You probably do this without a second thought when you’re shopping. You check to see that foods contain healthy ingredients, to make sure cleaning products are nontoxic. Maybe you check labels to see where something was made, or whether it contains the kind of wool that makes Aunt Ethel itchy.

But how often do you notice the labels YOU put on things? Specifically, the labels you apply–probably without thinking–to yourself, your writing, your needs and desires?


We humans are hard-wired to name things, to give them labels. Unfortunately, our brains are also hard-wired to pay more attention to negative information–which means that those negative labels are often on the tip of our mental tongues.

Have trouble getting started on that next chapter? Your inner critic slaps on labels like lazy or  not very creative. Skip writing for a few days or weeks? That inner critic labels you “not serious about writing.” 

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