Virginia Law Manning

Power of the Pack

Virginia ManningComment

In early December, I invited a group of fellow authors and illustrators over for a holiday celebration. Most of the guests were members of my various critique groups; others I’ve met over the last two years while taking classes, attending SCBWI meetings or participating in the Rutgers One-On-One Conference. Everyone who attended is passionate about children’s books.  

It was wonderful to spend time with this group and have the pleasure of introducing my friends to each other. I believe there is something to be said for the power of the pack.

As artists, we spend a great deal of time alone—at our drawing boards and in front of the computer. The journey to get our first book published will be long, the road littered with rejections and unreturned emails to editors and agents. The costs of the three Cs--courses, conferences and critiques--add up and this financial burden may cause some artists to exit before their final destination. 

If we surround ourselves with other writers and illustrators who are training for and running the same marathon, we have a better chance of crossing the finish line. By critiquing my work, these friends help me improve my writing and art. They recommend books, articles and courses on the craft. They support me when I’m doubting my talent or find life has sprinkled speed bumps in my lane. 

Let the road be winding. I’ve traded in my motorcycle for a comfy school bus. My friends are on board. We’ve got a good map and will sing show tunes along the way. 
I’m with my pack and feeling good!