What a difference a year makes!
As my debut middle grade, A Smidgen of Sky, approaches its first anniversary, I can't help but reflect on my growth as a writer over the past year. Last October I was biting my fingernails and impatiently awaiting the release of the book. I attended my regional 2012 SCBWI conference in Spokane, WA and just missed getting to sell my book along with the other authors by a couple of weeks. Jump ahead a year . . .
I just attended the SCBWI conference once again, but this time as a speaker and member of the faculty! I gave two presentations—one on the nuts and bolts of writing for children and one on developing voice in fiction. I got to hobnob with several industry pros, including Scholastic editor Grace Kendall, agent Fiona Kenshole, from Transatlantic Literary, as well as illustrator Carolyn Conahan. I was also privileged to critique four manuscripts from talented newcomers, sign several copies of A Smidgen of Sky, as well as share some exciting news—the sale of my next middle grade, A Million Ways Home, to Scholastic Press. You can read a summary here.
I've learned many things about writing and publishing for children over the past year. But two things stand out to me above all the rest. 1) The wide community of children's writers is close knit and welcoming, and full of writers who are willing to help each other along the way. 2) Dreams really can come true.
So if you're a struggling to achieve a dream, discouraged by rejection and feeling overwhelmed by all the effort it takes to succeed—don't give up. I didn't, and look what a difference a year made. Maybe this will be your year!
Happy reading! Dianna