Printed on a sticky note above my computer in bold letters with a purple sharpie reads, “ABC”. It’s my reminder to “Always Be Connecting”. There is value in connecting with other writers, no matter where you are in your author journey. Especially, during a time when connecting looks so different, we need authentic connection more than ever.
Connecting with other writers gives us a sense of community. There are others going through similar experiences. Those who have traveled the road before us and those who are currently on the same path. Previous years this has often occurred through face to face conferences, but the past couple of years, virtual conferences provided these opportunities. With my second picture book, Lila Lou’s Little Library releasing October 1, 2021, I gathered a group of other picture book authors having books releasing in the next two years. There are 16 authors who formed Picture Book Pals and we meet together once a month over Zoom. I anticipate these visits and always leave our meetings motivated. As well, Maria Dismondy, publisher of Cardinal Rule Press creates opportunities for her authors to connect as a community. Finding writing groups on social media is a great place to start looking for your community. Begin by checking out My Messy Muse Kidlit Group on Facebook.
Connecting with other writers will allow us to grow in our skills. Whether participating in seminars or joining a critique group, it keeps us accountable in our writing. When others critique our work and if we are open to feedback, it gives fresh perspective and insight on something we may have overlooked. We learn from others how to tackle writing dilemmas in our current work in progress (WIP). Joining a group such as Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge, Write for Kids, KidLit411 or Tara Lazar’s Storystorm gives opportunities to grow by hearing from other authors, participating in writing challenges and sharing your work. As well, there are twitter chats where you can ask questions and participate in discussions. Check out #MGchat and @kidlitchat on Twitter for connecting to grow in your writing genre.
Connecting with writers, whether published or pre-published, gives us inspiration. Listening to others’ journeys of success keeps us going forward. Hearing about an author who struggled and persevered against the odds reminds us we can too. Many author book launches continue to be virtually. It is a great opportunity to be inspired by signing up to attend and celebrating another author’s success. When we lift others up, we are also lifted up. The kidlit writing community are wonderful cheerleaders. Cardinal Rule Press virtually hosts various authors to celebrate special days. It’s a wonderful way to be inspired as a writer to listen to how authors’ stories make a difference in the lives of children.
Do you know an author who has inspired you or left a positive mark on you? Write them a letter! Authors LOVE snail mail. Cardinal Rule Press has created a FREE Letter to an Author Printable – download yours now.
Connecting with other writers opens up the door to opportunities. Authors love to support each other by hosting writers as guests on their blogs. There could be open submissions that you hear about through other authors. Seminars, writer’s workshops or an amazing book suggestion can all be from connecting with authors in groups or following their social media platforms. Don’t forget to comment on their posts. I’ve made some wonderful writer friends by just connecting on my social media platforms. Look for those opportunities, though in a genuine and authentic way. Remember connecting works best when it is a give and take, so make sure to share opportunities you know about as well.
This past week, my city and province faced devastating floods and mudslides. Our family is safe, but we are close to what has been happening. Just a one minute drive down the hill. For the past five nights we’ve heard constant helicopters and boats rescuing people from danger. We’ve been broken seeing those who have lost everything. When it happened, there were many authors who reached out to me to see how our family was doing, sharing words of comfort and support. Connecting with other writers gives community, growth, inspiration and opportunities. But I’ve also learned this week, it fills the heart.
Don’t forget to download your FREE Letter to an Author Printable – you can use this for yourself, or the children in your life, to write a letter to your favorite author, letting them know how awesome they are!
Nikki is an author of children’s books and writer of sweet romance. Nikki lives in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, just outside of Vancouver with her husband and two daughters. Being in nature is where Nikki gets some of her best motivation for writing stories. Most of her stories revolve around her love of critters, large and small. As a child, Nikki’s parents read to her and shared their love of stories. One of the best gifts they gave her was to foster a love of books and writing. Nikki became an elementary school teacher and loved using picture books and storytelling with her students. Her home is bursting at the seams with a plethora of books for young and old. Nikki believes in the power of kindness to create change, and that taking small steps will lead to beautiful journeys.