Tree of Thanks

I’ve had a lot of good luck lately. But I’ve also had a lot of help. I’d like to take this blogortunity to thank those who have had a direct effect in helping me get to wherever I am today.

This Is Not My Family
This is not actually my family

In chronological order, I begin by thanking my many many children, without whom I would probably never have had any interest in writing books for children. Once I began, however, the spouse formerly known as Mama Funk (my wife) encouraged me to write. She discovered a community education class taught locally by a children’s author and strongly encouraged me to join (perhaps she needed a night off from me every two weeks). I signed up for the class …

Jane Sutton’s newest book

Jane Sutton, along with a healthy following students (some of whom were taking her class for the fourth consecutive session) taught me the basics (and the advanced) of writing for children. The critiques from my classmates were both encouraging and enlightening. I learned that I might have potential. I also learned that I still had a lot to learn. One particular student, Ellen Cohen (who does not have a link here because she does not have a blog – START A BLOG, ELLEN), encouraged me to join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and attend our region’s annual conference. I signed up for the conference …

NESCBWI 2012 Logo

At the 2012 New England SCBWI Conference I met dozens of friendly people. I gained knowledge from the sessions and speakers (Kate Messner’s recap of her TED talk was unforgettable). But nothing was more influential than a short conversation at Friday evening’s wine and cheese gathering with LorettaJo Kapinos and Sera Rivers. In short, they told me that volunteering at the conference was great fun and a terrific way to meet people. If I remember correctly, their volunteer duties included acting as bodyguard for a guy who wrote picture books about bats. And that’s how they got their fancy yellow badges (whereas mine was boring white). They had me at yellow badges. In 2013, I signed up to volunteer …

Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
You could be Brian Lies’ bodyguard, too!

Prior to the 2013 NESCBWI Conference, I was asked to select volunteering duties. Among other duties (door watcher, sign-in checker), I chose Open Mic (I was probably going to perform, anyway).  Alicia Gregoire, the host of the event introduced me to a whole bunch of writers who had recently started a writing community called The Writers’ Loft (I recently learned that these writers were not expecting a nerdy white dude when they heard Papa J Funk would be stopping by, but that’s neither here nor there). After the conference, I began frequenting The Writers’ Loft …

NESCBWI 2013 Logo

The Writers’ Loft is a magical place where writers’ dreams come true. The Loft plays host to critique groups, craft chats, author panels, book launches, write-ins, think tanks – basically a year-long SCBWI conference at whatever pace you (the writer) want. For me, The Writers’ Loft is the people (“it’s the people, people!”) – many of whom have helped me edit manuscripts, brainstorm ideas, and teach me the ins and outs of writing for kids (and writing in general). Although I might have gotten here (wherever here is) eventually, I want to thank three particular Lofters (Heather KellyAnna Staniszewski, and Kris Asselin) who have guided me and made my life far easier than it would have been without their help and support.

The Writers' Loft

And of course I must thank all my critique partners and groups (Cousin Rachel, Deb O’Brien, Jane’s Class, my online group, and The Writers’ Loft PBCG). Without all of you, I wouldn’t be the unpublished (but represented!) writer I am today.

Thank You

And if I didn’t thank you (yes, you – the one reading this blog post), then I thank you, too.

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5 thoughts on “Tree of Thanks

  1. Don’t forget to thank yourself for working hard. In the end, it takes drive and determination to challenge yourself and succeed. Congratulations and thank you for your thoughtful post.

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