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What better way to understand my journey as a writer then through the helpful stops I’ve made along the way. Here is my personal GPS guide of how I got here. Your compass may vary.

 

If you’re going to write or illustrate kidlit you’re first fuel stop needs to be SCBWI. Join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for the greatest bang for your buck with local and nationwide events, workshops, and conferences. Some of my favorite SCBWI conferences are New Jersey, New England and Los Angeles.

 

On your writerly road trip you may want to visit The Children’s Book Academy for a one stop shop of children’s book courses.

 

For your next pit stop try Tara Lazar's Story Storm. Each day for one month you’ll fill your gas tank with picture book ideas that you can develop into winning stories.

 

Now that you have a trunk full of stories be sure to join a critique group. Find a dedicated group of writers where you can discover what works and doesn’t work in your story. Start with your regional scbwi.org chapter or Inked Voices connects people to online critique groups or Sub It Club a Facebook group to help you find critique partners.

 

For a high octane ride take Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 Challenge and draft one picture book per month. Depending on your membership level you also have an opportunity to submit your stories to agents.

 

Time to pump the breaks, slow down and take in your writer’s journey…perhaps a retreat.

 

The Highlights Foundation offers workshops for authors and illustrators covering a wide range of topics led by children's publishing professionals at their conference center in the beautiful Pocono Mountains.  

 

 

And most important, stop at the nearest book store, library or Little Free Library and read, read, and read, old and new picture books to inspire you on your journey.

 

Zoom, zoom…now you’re on your way!

 

But what’s a road trip without a few attractions—sites that are full of great writerly info, resources, news, interviews and more, to keep you going. Here are just a few...

 

All the Wonders Podcasts hosted by Matthew Winner, has a conversation with some of our favorite authors and illustrators.

 

Watch Connect Read The best way to describe Mr. Schu and his passion for kidlit is to wonder if he ever sleeps.

 

Are you writing a children's book? kidlit411has all of your favorite sources in one place.

 

Simply put, Julie Danielson host of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, offers food for the soul with gorgeous art and interviews with talented kidlit creators.

 

For a fun way to approach a story, try Storybird. Reverse visual storytelling by starting with the image and “unlocking” the story inside. 

 

If you love books, especially those written for children and young adults, then you are an honorary member of The Nerdy Book Club. 

 

Jackie Azua Kramer Writers Tips