Sunday, September 14, 2014

It Takes a Village...of Writers

In the language arts curriculum materials in my 4th grade classroom, one of the units is called “The Writing Community.” It encourages kids to discuss, share, peer edit…you get the idea. I teach it, but never thought much about how it applies to me as a writer. 

Many writers think of themselves as loners. Islands. After all, books are published by individuals, not groups. Right? 


  I used to think like that too. Taking my first official children’s book writing class, I was super worried and dubious about having to share my writing. How were these people going to help me?Wasn’t everyone going to steal my original and amazing ideas? On top of that, how would I handle the harsh criticisms my classmates and teacher were sure to dole out?

            With each classmate offering praise and helpful suggestions for my book, the lightbulb over my head grew brighter. I had my "AHA moment." The writing community is actually amazingly supportive! Fellow writers don't steal your ideas, they encourage you! Writers work together, helping others get published, because they all know just how rough it is. 

If you don't believe me, take the book you're currently reading and flip to the "Acknowledgements" section. Count how many people the author thanks for helping them publish their book...usually the count is pretty high (i.e. more than just their spouse, kids, and pets). 

I am amazed how I'm continually learning this lesson. Most recently, I joined Twitter and discovered a whole tweeting community of writers. Within a month of joining I received awesome feedback on my query letter and first chapter of my middle grade novel--just because people volunteered to help me. 

I am indebted to the writing community and hope that my small contributions make up for the wealth of help & support I've received from others. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Jessica! Don't forget you're one of the prime players in my writing thanks :)