If you want to be the best you surround yourself by the best. You learn from the best, and if you're really lucky sometimes you find people that will mentor you. Lisa Wheeler came here to Maine this past November. I devoured everything she fed me, and learned things that I didn't know. Picture book techniques that tightened my stories and made them sing.
If you ever get a chance to have Lisa Wheeler come and present her Boot Camp workshop, do it. You will come away a better writer than you ever dreamed possible.