Writing can be a lonely sort of business. It’s just you, a computer (or pen and paper, ink and quill, hammer and rock… ), and the vast array of imaginary people who have taken up residence in your head. No co-workers to meet around the water cooler to discuss last night’s episode of The Bachlorette. No one in the next cubicle to commiserate with over coffee. It’s just…
You. And the story you’re trying to tell.
Which is why I’m so grateful for the kidlit community. It can be easy to forget sometimes (when you’re struggling through revision #1,567,321… or another rejection… or a tough critique) that you are not alone. I really loved this recent Facebook post that perfectly illustrates this point by Newbery Award-winning author Kate DiCamillo:
Kate’s post was also a reminder of the other thing I love about the kidlit community–the incredible camaraderie and generosity found here. A simple Google search turns up countless sites where authors/agents/editors gladly share their expertise and advice. (I shudder to think how many rookie errors I would have made back in my querying days–besides requerying Mr. Awesome Agent with Awesome Book #2 immediately after he politely declined Awesome Book #1, oops… and sorry!–had it not been for the Blue Boards, SCBWI, Absolute Write, etc.) Not to mention, I’ve made some really amazing friends both on and offline, via this blog, on Twitter and through my agency. Incredible people who inspire and motivate me every day–even if we’re not working cubicle-to-cubicle. Even if we rarely see each other face to face.
Of course, there’s still nothing quite like meeting up with your peeps in real life–like a bunch of us did the other night outside DC (thanks to Mixed-Up Filer Amie Borst for organizing!). Much laughter was had, some delicious Italian food was consumed, stories were swapped… and I was reminded yet again: writing may be a solitary occupation, but none of us are really in it alone.
Jan Gangsei is the author of several Middle Grade series for Working Partners Ltd., publishing in the US, UK and Germany. Her YA debut, ZERO DAY, publishes with Disney-Hyperion on January 12, 2016.