I’ve gained so much by being a part of SCBWI over the years. (That’s Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, for those who aren’t familiar with the acronym.) Some of my first critique partners introduced to me many of the editors I work with now. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be earning my living by writing. I’ve also learned so much by attending conferences and critique groups. My fellow critters are among my dearest friends. They’ve not only shared writing expertise, they’ve also served as cheerleaders, psychologists, and shoulders to cry on. And who else could possibly understand the crazy compunction to put words on paper and send them out time and time again for rejections. And who can better understand the joy of those acceptances?
Since the start of the new year, my chapter has had phenomenal news. It’s thrilling to watch other writers’ careers take off. We’re less than two weeks into 2011 and already we’ve had a book make the NY Times bestseller list, one on NPR, several major award-winning books, a few authors who’ve found agents (n some cases, multiple agents), and several people who have books coming out this month. And there’s plenty more good news to come. It’s nice to know I’m hanging around with stars, and I love how their successes inspire the rest of us to keep on working.