I’ve never been good with change. I’m in no way paralyzed by it; I think I just have a slight level of fear of it. I focus on who I’m leaving behind or what I’m losing. However, I must say that I love the moment when I stop and realize what I’ve gained from change—in my case, a cross-country move from the East Coast to the Pacific Northwest.
As an aspiring author and children’s book illustrator, I can’t help but think that thanks to and since moving to Seattle I have found, what feels like a more approachable, disciplined, informed, inspiring path to be on to write and illustrate. We moved in the summer of 2016. In the fall of that year, I joined the Writing for Children Certificate program at the University of Washington. Taught by writer Jolie Steckly, it was such a useful and fun program that allowed students for eight months to be readers, writers, creators, critics, agent searchers and editors. Jolie helped us prepare for pitches and round-table critiques before attending the Western Washington SCBWI Conference, and she invited many authors and illustrators to come talk to us and answer our questions.
When that ended, my main goal was to think of a way that several of my classmates and I could work together by starting a writing/critique group. And lo and behold, one year later, in the fall of 2017, our group began with 5 members, all from that class. A few months later, we invited a 6th member to join us. Having our writing group has been fantastic, and none of this would have happened without change.
Although the Certificate program ended (and sadly now it's not offered in the same format), one way I’ve continue to learn more about Children’s books is by going to author and illustrator events here in Seattle and in Portland, OR. There’s a surprisingly (to me) active Children’s Book community in this area, and I’m loving it! Another way I’ve been learning a whole lot is from podcasts. My husband introduced me to podcasts a little while back, and little by little I’ve been adding to my list of subscriptions. So, here I want to share with you what I’ve been listening to (in no particular order). If you have any additional suggestions on KidLit podcasts, I’d love to know about them…
Host: Shawna JC Tenney, Author & Illustrator (@shawnajctenney)
All The Wonders: The Children's Book Podcast
Host: Matthew Winner, Elementary Library Media Specialist & Author (@MatthewWinner)
Books Between Podcast: Helping you connect kids between 8-12 to books they will love
Host: Corinna Allen, 5th Grade Teacher (@corrinaaallen)
The Picturebooking Podcast: A podcast about creating and sharing picture books
Host: Nick Patton, Picture book Author & Illustrator (@nickpattonillo)
Hosts: Colby Sharp, 5th Grade Teacher & Writer (@colbysharp) &
Travis Jonker, Elementary School Librarian & Writer (@100scopenotes)
Travis also writes for The Niblings, Children's Lit Blog Consortium (@TheNiblings4)
Host: Jennifer Laughran, Literary Agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency (@literaticat)
Host: Michelle Kondrich, Commercial Artist and Animator (@MissIllustrator)
Hope this is useful to any of you who are just discovering podcasts, or starting on the path to being writers and/or children's book illustrators.