So many generous people have helped me along the way. And I’ve devoured so many knowledgeable books and taken part in so many useful classes and programs on my writing journey…It’s hard to know where to begin!
- Just keep swimming. Take Dory’s advice and just keep on keeping on. There are seasons in this life. Be patient with yourself if you need to stop, go faster and write more when time allows. Follow the current and the shifting tides but whatever you do, KEEP WRITING! You won’t get anywhere if you don’t!
- Take advantage of today’s wonderful online resources. Whether you write for children or adults or you ARE a child or an adult, there’s bound to be a class or two or a trillion for you…and a community for you! I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of 12×12 and S.C.B.W.I. in particular. They are the go to, in crowd, ground zero place for picture book writers. If you’re into non-fiction for kids, I highly recommend Kristen Fulton’s Nonfiction Archaeology class.
- Have patience and develop realistic goals. Of course you want to be a published writer. Doesn’t everybody? It’s just that easy, right? Contrary to popular belief, publication is A LOT harder than it looks! Take your time to learn your craft and take advantage of the nicest, most knowledgeable, most generous folks around. The kidlit world is AMAZING!!! And kind. And patient. And helpful when you’re dealing with the umpteenth rejection…
- Find great critique partners. In person, online, some combination…it doesn’t matter. Just find what works for you. And strive to be the best critique partner you can be. You’ll be amazed how this can boost your own writing. I’m a much better writer because of my critique partners. And hopefully I’ve learned to help them as much as they’ve helped me.
- Keep reading! New stuff! Different stuff! Favorite stuff! It always annoyed me when people suggested that the secret to great writing was to keep reading but it is true! You must stay current about what’s being published, what’s on the market right now, what’s not selling…PLUS it’s so refreshing to read something great and inspiring or totally unlike your own writing when you need to pump yourself up to continue down this roller-coaster after the umpteenth rejection.
- Develop THICK skin. I’m very sensitive. This path is not for the faint of heart. You’ll receive candid feedback (at best) or radio silence (at medium) or flat out cold rejection (at worst) time and time again. DO NOT take it personally! Great writing has to be rejected time and time again. This is a TIGHT market. As they say, it’s a bunny-eats-bunny world. But try with all your might not to take it personally or be unduly discouraged. Keep the l-o-n-g eyed view, work hard, and just keep swimming…
- Celebrate your successes. Big or small, remember to celebrate the ups. There are so many downs in this industry it’s easy to get bogged down. Enjoy the actual act of creating. It’s as important to the very air I breathe!
- Keep learning. And while you’re at it, diversify. There’s always something new to learn, someone new from whom to learn, something new to try. Don’t get stagnant, bored, or predictable. Sure, it’s probably not a great idea to flit from here to there with every single project but trying new things helps you explore, allows you experiment in finding your personal voice, and can even sometimes make you more marketable. You may just surprise yourself!
- Find a great mentor. I’ve been so blessed to have official and unofficial mentors along the way. Seek them out. People are usually happy to help, to share their experiences, to guide new writers to solid resources. Don’t be afraid to ask!
- GO OUT AND CREATE! BE YOURSELF! THE WORLD NEEDS YOUR STORIES!