My Writing Journey: Mentors and Critique Partners

When I first took back up writing, my future wife introduced me to the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) which is an international non profit organization that brings like minded individuals together through meeting, conferences and educational classes, all in the pursuit of writing for children (0-18). My first thought was, “I don’t need this. I can read. I’ve been telling stories and writing for years!”

I was wrong. I needed a group to help show me the way into this unknown world of rules and formats and genres, of editors and publishers and agents. I needed people who could guide me and support me and celebrate with me.

You may not join SCBWI and may rather find yourself within another writing group or organization, and that is okay. What is important is that you find people to share your journey.

Writing can be lonely. It can be frustrating. It can be soul crushing. But writing isn’t done in a bubble. It is driven by the world around you and sometimes you need someone to laugh with or a shoulder to cry on or someone who is there to pick up the broken pieces.

During a writing retreat, I met a well known Alaskan author, Tricia Brown, who not only gave me a glowing critique on my manuscript that would become Pedro’s Pan, but she has gone on to share her experience, her knowledge and her friendship.

I’ve joined critique groups, some focused on the areas that I am writing, others not, but we all share our journey, our struggles, our successes and our unique viewpoints. Half the time it isn’t about the story I bring to share, but to have someone to share it with, to see them growing and being there to celebrate success, big or small.

So don’t make this journey alone. Find others who you can support and will support you too. Find people who understand your struggles and I think you will find the writing community is extremely generous.

Good luck with your writing and perhaps I will see you out there one day.

Author: matthewlasley

I am a school teacher and an author. I like to write picture books, middle grade, science fiction and short stories. I live in Alaska and I love history, so those two things often influence my creative writing.

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