Like most of my life, my writing takes me in so many different directions. Sometimes I’m writing articles for an online outlet, sometimes I’m blogging, sometimes I’m working on an article for an education site I work for, but when I’m writing for myself I’m usually writing children’s books or thinking about writing for children in some way.

I guess for a long time I’ve thought about my children’s book writing as my hobby. I’ve read other people’s writing and been a huge proponent of promoting children’s books and their authors. I blog about them. I connect with them on FaceBook and Twitter. I am a fan, but I am not one of them.

Though I probably write as much.
Though my work is damn good, if I do say so myself.
Though I’ve accumulated quite a volume of work despite my claiming it is a hobby.

Last night, out of the blue, I received an email from Barbara O’Connor. If you don’t know her writing, you need to. Her work and her thinking move me. We connected once when I was reading her book The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis to my first graders. She agreed to Skype with us. Her Skype was fantastic. She spoke to the kids as if they were adult writers. She told them what moves her and how she gets her ideas. It sparked a wildfire of writing in my classroom. After that Skype, I friended her on FaceBook and Twitter. She’s quite funny on both. We began communicating more and more. Our emails became more like letters between friends. She has watched me move from teacher to (dare I say it) writer. Barbara encouraged me to join SCBWI. When I asked her recently if I should spring for the New England SCBWI conference in April–her answer was “Absolutely!” So I paid for it and felt a bit like a fraud. I wondered what real writers wore to conferences. I wondered if I should bring pencils to stick behind my ear for the conference.

She must have known how I felt because her email to me said:

Be Brave. Be ready and willing to offer yourself up on a platter, exposed to the world…and open to judgement and critique.  

Be Brave and knock on the doors that need to be knocked on and be the person you may not be comfortable being yet need to be sometimes. 

Don’t be afraid of failure. It’s part of the process and makes the successes all the sweeter. You’ve got this, girl. You are smart and passionate and in love with what you are doing. A winning combination.  

EVERY SINGLE successful writer has been where you are. Every one of them. You’re ready to move forward now.  

*pushes you* No make that *shoves you* in the right direction.

Here I go, armed with not one but twelve (!) manuscripts and some research notes about a non-fiction book I’d like to try. This Friday I head to the NESCBWI conference.