The power of a network and great writing friends

Posted by kate Poels on Thursday, November 22, 2018
Last weekend some of my critique group and I packed our bags and checked into a fantastic Air BnB in Winchester in preparation for the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) annual conference.  
It felt like living the best parts of student life again, funky attic apartment with plenty of floor cushions and bean bags, wine in the fridge and nothing to eat but toast and biscuits!
This in itself was a real treat as my crit buddies are genuinely some of my best friends.  I think this is partly because we have known each other for several years now and meet up regularly (officially to critique but there's always wine, usually tapas and definitely lots of giggles.) But more than that they are the people in my life more than any other who understand the ups and downs of writing.  We support each other, cheering the highs, the agent success and publishing deals but also mopping up the crushing lows when they happen.  
They are the first port of call when I bubble over with excitement from some publishing interest or a phone call with an agent,  but they are also the only people I know who really understand just how difficult this business is.  If I was on Steve Wright's weekend show I might call them 'my rock' but as I hate a cliche I shall avoid that.
For the entire weekend we were immersed in a SCBWI world full of other friends who are also on the strange and wonderful children's publishing merry-go-round.  I caught up with friends with lots of very successful books behind them, some award winners and at the top of the game, and also with friends just starting out trying to find their way.  There were no airs of a pecking order, just lots of people who love children's books supporting and helping each other out.
My point?  This isn't just my chance to gush about how wonderful my writing buddies and the SCBWI are, it's my way of saying 'find your people.' 
Get out there and find people who do what you do, who understand and can support you, cheer you on and pick you up when it all feels hopeless. I couldn't be without my network and finding yours might just be one of the best decisions you ever make.