Hey. Maybe I'm going to sound like a sports star giving a "shout out" to the camera, but when it comes to writing, the first person I'd like to thank is my mother. She was my first editor, a fact I was not too thrilled about when I was younger. "Use a stronger verb," she'd say. "Shorten this. Add more here. Be clearer." It seemed my work was never done well enough for her.
But I have no doubt my mother's attention to detail and insistence on my need to re-work projects before I submitted them made me a better student and prepared me for all the rewriting I do today. And by the way, as a parent, I do the same thing with my children... Something they're not too thrilled about either.
Today, my current writer's group (everyone at Route 19 Writers) is most responsible for keeping me in the game. Their ongoing support, fine critiques and sage advice are the shot in the arm I need to help me muddle my way through the ups and downs of writing. Also, I think it's fair to say I may have gotten thrown off track before I'd gotten too far into the course if it hadn't been for Pat Easton, and my first writer’s group. Pat and the group, with patience and the right touch of criticism, eased me slowly into the world of children's writing. Our weekly meetings at Peters Township Public Library helped to build the confidence I needed for success.
I recommend a writing group to everyone, particularly those who are just beginning. If you live in or around the Pittsburgh area, especially southern Pittsburgh, visit the Peters Township Library to see if there is room in one of the writing groups held there. http://www.ptlibrary.org/ Check out your local library to see if there is a writer’s group in your area. Join SCBWI, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. http://www.scbwi.org/ They have many local chapters you can join and many supportive members who are ready and willing to help.
If my mother were still with us I can imagine her being very eager to offer critique to my work, but I know in my heart she'd certainly be happy knowing that in my writing groups I've found a place to share stories and improve my writing. And that makes me happy, too.