Logging several miles already, I’ve decided to blog about my journey from unpublished children’s writer to seeing my stories in print.  Next stop: having my third picture book manuscript critiqued by my writing group. 

Three fellow writers and good friends mark each other’s pages with red pen and constructive comments, allowing us to polish our tales.  We discuss the merits and shortcomings of our manuscripts and go home feeling a little bruised—yet inspired to do better.

A critique group is an absolute must for any writer serious about their work.  Don’t listen to friends and family, who can often be too complimentary or too harsh.  Don’t rely on the reaction of your own children because they consider you a mommy-goddess no matter what you churn out.

I’ve been with this group for the past 18 months, although I had a long leave of absence after the birth of my second daughter last year.  We’ve lost members to other interests and added one new friend, and this smaller group is now more tightly knit than an eskimo’s sweater.  We’re having fun and improving our work. 

Now I just have to learn how to tuck each one of them into my pocket so I always have an encouraging voice egging me on.