I know all about how easily things can go up in smoke. When I was sixteen I decided one day to attempt to bake some cookies. It didn't matter to me that I didn't have the right ingredients or that I really didn't know what I was doing. I presumed it couldn't be that hard to do and with the eagerness of ignorance propelling me forward, I called myself a baker. I threw a few things together and put my creation in the oven to bake while I went to celebrate my easy victory over the cookie problem.
Forty-five minutes later black smoke was rolling out of the kitchen and I quickly realized that there was more to this baking thing than I first thought.
For me, writing is kinda like baking. You have to have the right ingredients to produce a finished product that the world can enjoy. People who presume that it isn't too difficult to write a picture book story will usually throw something together based on little writing skill and claim they are a writer. Just a little smoke clouding their judgement.
These writers might even say their creation MUST be great because their neighbor's child loved it. And if they go so far as let a critique group look at it and the comments aren't so favorable, those writers simply think THEY must not know a great work of art when they see it. That smokescreen is making it really hard to see things clearly.
Maybe when things get a little hazy in our writing we need to stop a moment and read the signals? Maybe all that smoke is trying to tell us a necessary ingredient is missing? It takes training, skill, open mindedness, dedication to improvement, and luck to become a successful children's book author. If we just start throwing things together, do we run the risk of everything going up in smoke?
I'd rather take my time and train to be a strong writer. Make sure I have all the right ingredients in my work so that the path in front of me is free of distracting smoke. I can clearly see my destination. All I have to do is stay on the right path.
Looks like smooth sailing straight ahead.