The Road to Publication

     For years,  I was that person at the cocktail party (or in my case, backyard barbecue), saying “I’m going to write a book someday.”  I let that dream percolate on the back burner so long, it almost got lost among the diapers and therapy reports and tax documents of life.  It sat and sat and sat, patiently waiting.
    How ironic, then, that as soon as I turned my attention to my dream in full, I expected it to come true pretty much immediately.   Actually, I thought I had a fairly good idea of the hard work it would take.  I wasn’t completely naive, but in hindsight my thought process was as simple as:  Poof!  Book written.  Poof! Book published. 
     After an initial period of discouragement, I began to embrace the process of educating myself.   The more I learn, the more I realize how unrealistic my expectations were.  However, far from being a “dead end,”  the journey of finding my way has become a very fun and pleasant walk down “Hope Lane.”  
     One of the best things I’ve done, and encourage all others who aspire to write books for children to do, is join the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).  This is a group of people, led by industry professionals, that exists to help educate, encourage, and celebrate children’s authors.  Through my membership, I was able to connect with a local critique group.  Once a month, I make a happy stop on “Hope Ln.” and get together with other children’s writers and enjoy getting and giving feedback on our work. 
     The SCBWI also runs fantastic conferences.  In two days, I’ll be heading to the NE (New England) SCBWI Spring conference in Springfield, MA.  Being together in one place with like-minded people can be inspiring.  It also reminds me how much I have to learn.  The encouragement/discouragement roller coaster is at it’s most dramatic when I prepare for a conference.  Reading the “faculty” bios is like reading  a “who’s who” in children’s literature.  Doubt:  I will never have a list of book titles and publication dates after my name!  Hope:  Going to this conference is a positive step towards my goal.  
     I don’t know how long Hope Lane is.  However, as long as I don’t fall off the roller coaster, and I keep putting one word in front of the other,  I know it won’t be a Dead End.

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