Yes you can complete a children’s book

My fourth children’s picture book to the editor so thought I’d share with you a bit about my process.  kid reading a picture book

Writing a children’s picture book isn’t easy, but it doesn’t need to be daunting.

As with all stories, it begins with an idea.

ideas scribbled on paper

Here is how my new idea began. A friend’s grandson gave me the spark of an idea when she shared his reaction to A Reluctant Little Prince. Apparently, he was fascinated with the firefighter page.

flame in handA nugget of an idea began to form in the back of my mind. As the days and weeks passed, I played with several versions of what to do with my flickering flame.

Eventually, the story came together.

Now I must decide whether to attempt the illustrations myself or find an affordable illustrator.

Hope to have the new book released in the fall. Wish me luck.

If you have an idea swirling around in your mind, go for it. Here are some tips that might help.

Josh Funk’s Guide to Writing Picture Books

Check out the other posts I’ve written in the past about writing picture books.

Do you think writing a picture book is easy?

What you need to know about writing a children’s book?

I love reading your comments, so tell me… 

Have you written a children’s book? Leave a link in the comments section. I’d love to pass on the info.

Are you thinking about writing a children’s picture book?

Are you an illustrator? I hope you’ll reach out to me. I’d like to see your work. 




Do you need encouragement to overcome Summertime blahs?

Time for me to review an oldie but goodie.

Sheet music

I’ve had the post-holiday blues. After returning from Europe and spending time with my daughter and granddaughters, I have no motivation.

Yet, my editor is waiting for my next picture book manuscript and I’m sitting here staring at my half-finished novel.

Sigh, so much to do and so little desire. Although my characters keep me awake every night. Instead of encouraging me, I feel as though these characters are little devils on my shoulder. LOLDevil on my shoulders

So, time to put action to words and take my own advice. Wish me luck.

Hope this review helps you too.

Do you need to overcome Summertime writer’s block?

How about, not 10, but 33 tips to jumpstart your writing?

The long, hot days make me lethargic. I want to play, putter around with my roses, or read a good book. Even my muse, complains it’s too damn hot to sit at a computer. Now, who am I to argue with inspiration?

Summer time fun bitmoji

But, writers must write.

So if you’re searching for something to help, keep reading.

I found a great answer on Quora. Who knows? After you read the article, even during these dog-days of summer, maybe you will find one that suits you.

Here’s my take on his 33 tips. The ones I think will help me are in red.

  1. Not me, I’m a start at the beginning kinda gal.
  2. Jot down the facts, just the facts. Cool idea.
  3. Now take a fact from #2 and turn it on its head. What if it’s a lie.
  4. Prompts? I love prompts.
  5. Free write, hmm might just work. Gonna give it a try. With #4 of course.
  6. Break? Took too many already this Summer.
  7. Get moving. But remember to come back to WIP.
  8. Meditate. Nah, not for me.
  9. Ditto. I don’t like confrontations. Even pleasant ones.
  10. Yay! Learned something new.  Oblique Strategies 
  11. I like it quiet when I write. But I’ll consider it.
  12. This I do, sometimes moving to my back porch.
  13. Write 10 ideas a day? Yikes. Too much pressure.
  14.  Outlandish ideas? Might work.
  15. Swipe File is a great idea. Setting up some today.
  16. Book is a cousin to #15, don’t like to duplicate work.
  17. Journal about feeling blocked. Too whiny.
  18. Timed writing? No, I’ve enough pressure see #13.
  19. Unplugging is something I should do more often.
  20. Pen & Paper, tried and true.
  21. Set a deadline and broadcast it. Geese more pressure.
  22. Make a brag list.
  23. Make a to-do list. I like lists. 
  24. Reread one of your favorites and rewrite for practice. I’ve done this to get juices flowing. Works.
  25. Write down how you feel about your WIP. Nope, see #17.
  26. Which parts of WIP is best and strongest?
  27. Look at which parts are weakest.
  28. Consider different POV. I’ve done this and it does help.
  29. Review annotations in books you’ve enjoyed for inspiration.
  30. Decide on what you’re trying to accomplish.
  31. Lists of single words to identify key themes.
  32. Stop editing. This is my hardest thing to overcome.
  33. Recite the prayer of the Muse? Not into that much Zen, see #8.

For more detailed descriptions and explanations, click and read:

How can an aspiring writer get around writer’s block? by Bryan Collins

Now your turn. Tell me…

Which one of the 33 tips did you relate to?

Is there one that caught your interest?

Are you ready to try something new?

Give me your thoughts on these ideas.

Don’t let the Summertime blues stall your creativity. Get writing!

I love reading your comments. 

Please head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and

Please stop by and say “hey!”  I’ll leave a light on. 

How to use powerful emotional writing to engage a reader

I’ve been reading a lot about how to show what my characters are feeling.

Putting emotions on paper, in words that pull in a reader is not as easy as one might think. From lovers, friends, enemies, coworkers, monsters, and strangers all experience emotions and we need to show them to the reader.

“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.”—Jack Kerouac

Luckily, there are several good writers who know just what I need to do.

A little food for thought…

  • Fear, anger, doubt, joy is universal emotions. Help your reader remember when they felt those same emotions. This enables the reader to connect with your characters.
  • There are two types of emotions. Primary and Secondary.
    • Primary is the first initial reaction, which is an unthinking, instinctive response. The Primary response often disappears as fast as it appeared, giving way to…
    • Secondary reaction.  Replacement by secondary emotions can complicate the situation, often making it difficult to understand the circumstances. For instance, fear turns to anger back to fear and then to flight.
  • Don’t forget the backstory that formed your character’s emotions. The biological, psychological and social factors led them to feel the way they do.
  • Remember to use inciting incidents and circumstances also shape a character’s emotions.
  • What is going on in the story to reinforce a character’s response?
  • What protective trait does the character have that will bring them to the other side and hopefully a good ending?

If you want to get a few great tips and examples of emotional writing, take a minute and click on these links.

The Connection between Character Emotion and Reader Empathy  in Writing for Life

Primary and Secondary Emotions by Changing Minds.

7 Tips to Crafting Emotionally-Meaty Monsters by Staci Troilo  

The 3-Act Emotional Arc For Showing Shame In Fiction by Lisa Hall-Wilson

Deepening Character Complexity with the Help of Psychology by Writing Coach





Do you think writers need more social media?

Do you find social media apps confusing or even a bit frightening?

Like, for instance, InstagramInstagram symbolI do! I can barely keep up with Twitter and Facebook. Plus, I don’t have a clue about how to use Instagram effectively. AND, I’m terrible at self-promotion. Which leads to panic every time I try a new social media platform.

Kid running away in frightBut, I recently learned a bit more about how to use Instagram without going nuts or running away in fear.



Using Instagram to Promote Your Book by Author Steve Boseley 

Thanks go to Steve Boseley for this enlightening and encouraging article.

What I learned from Steve…

  • Instagram has a free business account.
  • Millions of people use Instagram daily. (500 – 800 M) Which far outpaces Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Wow!
  • Make sure your Instagram name is easy to read and spell. Hmm…
  • Take advantage of the Bio link. With this, you can send readers to your landing page, website or newsletter.
  • With the free business account, you can link Instagram to your Facebook page. Using the phone app…
    • Click on your pic at the bottom, next click on the three lines at the top right corner, select Settings at the bottom, next select account and “Switch to a Business account.”
  • Don’t hit readers over the head with a hard sell. Limit sales posts to 30% of all your posts.
  • Make your photos unique. Instagram allows you to edit them with a range of filters and effects. Make your pics unique. Post high-quality photos with engaging captions.
  • You can add multiple photos on one post and the reader can scroll through them.
  • Size does matter, Steve gives us info on the best.
  • Readers love behind the scenes photos. Let them see your workspace and process as a writer.
  • Check the Hashtags of other users and follow their lead. Steve gives a link on how to not suck at Hashtags. Be sure and check it out.
  • To promote your books, post relevant pics.
  • Post often and regularly. YIKES! Now I need to find the time.
Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland with watch
Where does the time go?

Want to know more about using Instagram?

Be sure and click on Steve’s link above, and read his entire article. Because I only hit the highlights, there is much more to know about the media.





Don’t forget your favorite Graduate!