When I began writing, although I had the encouragement of family and friends, I was really writing alone. I didn’t have training, I simply wrote what was in me, I explored different genres, I wrote the kinds of books I liked to read, and I dreamed big dreams.

I knew that other writers took creative writing courses, joined writers’ groups, worked through their manuscripts with other writers – but for a long time, I couldn’t imagine doing these things.

Enter Emma Walton Hamilton and the online Children’s Book Hub.

I was delighted when, just as I was finishing Emma’s Just Write for Kids online/home study course in writing picture books, she announced that she was starting an online group for writers and illustrators to interact and to share resources. Emma indicated that she would also be providing resources and teleseminar interviews of key players in the world of writing for kids.

I could see immediately that this offered the opportunity I needed to be in contact with other writers as well as learning from real experts in the field. I didn’t realize that this would provide a community of people whom I would come to know as friends as well as colleagues.

I had blogged for several years, and already knew about the friendships that can develop through regular contact online. Now this was being extended into the writing community, thanks to Emma and the Hub.

Three other Hub members and I soon found each other on the Hub Forum, and began interacting there. One was in France, one in the United States, one in New Zealand, and one (me) in Canada. That didn’t matter online. We started blogging about our writing and supporting each other on our blogs. At Emma’s urging, we all joined SCBWI – the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Then we started putting forward the possibility of going to the summer SCBWI conference in Los Angeles. We began emailing each other, and eventually all four of us decided to attend – from our disparate locations around the globe. We were going to meet in person.

All four of us, proudly carrying our Children’s Book Hub tote bags, easily found each other in the crowds at SCBWI, and instantly bonded. We also found something else at SCBWI – we are a part of a huge, international “tribe” made up of some of the most supportive, encouraging people on the planet – children’s writers.

None of us has to be alone in our writing process any longer. We all are connected, by the Hub, by SCBWI, by other online writing groups we’ve become a part of.

It is the bond that has been built through the Hub and SCBWI that is In the Spotlight this last week of February – the bond of the community of writers around the world, symbolized by the four whom Emma brought together in the Children’s Book Hub a little over a year ago.

In celebration of that bond, there are three “Worthies” In the Spotlight this week. You will be meeting all the members of The Hub Four. On Tuesday, Joanna Marple will be spotlighted; on Wednesday, we’ll meet Patricia Tilton; and on Thursday, we’ll hear from Diane Tulloch. (You already know me!) One thing you’ll hear loud and clear from all of us is a heartfelt shout-out to Emma, for creating the Children’s Book Hub and for encouraging us and supporting us through the Hub, and through the Hub Facebook Group. Thanks, Emma!

 

Where do you find your community as a writer?

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