STEP 1: OPEN YOUR MIND...THEN CLOSE IT
First you need a great idea, and anything and everything can be turned into a great picture book, amIright?
If you answered otherwise, you might want to take some more time to better acquaint yourself with the children's book industry. Inspiration is everywhere, but good ideas take hard work and proper filtration. It is essential that you feel completely intimidated by your own high standards before you even attempt to latch on to a potential picture book idea.
STEP 2: LET FEAR TAKE HOLD
Ponder your ideas sporadically for at least two, maybe three years. Write NOTHING down. You must earn the right to write by spending as much time as possible being terrified and mystified by the entire writing process. DO NOT attempt to alleviate this panicked state by trying to actually write something. That would be highly logical and therefore completely detrimental to your irrational fear.
STEP 3: CRUSH YOUR EGO
Continue to overwhelm yourself with feelings of inadequacy by reading so many books by authors you admire that you feel like you could never, ever, never ever in a million years actually create something worthy of being read by other people--especially those small humans called children.
STEP 4: GIVE IN
If, after all your self-confidence-diminishing reading and research, your original sprout of a kidlit idea STILL continues to haunt your thoughts like that neglected plant on the window sill slowly withering to death, you might actually have a decent idea for a children's book. And against all odds, you may just have to succumb to writing it down after all.
STEP 5: FORM SENTENCES
Spend one fine spring day in May (but no more than 2 hours) at your computer typing out the first draft of your first manuscript. After all, it's only 500 words - it shouldn't take you all afternoon...
VOILA! Two years of thought and two hours of actual writing and you've finally done it. You've written the first draft of your first ever picture book (apart from that one in college, which doesn't count). Now, whether your manuscript is good or embarrassingly bad remains to be seen. But you did it!
You may now proceed to STEP 6:
Creating Your First Picture Book Dummy In 150 Agonizing Steps
TO BE CONTINUED....