My beginning in the world of books is different than many writers—I actually started my book career by working in publishing. I’ve always been grateful for everything I learned during that time. But after fourteen years behind the scenes, my children’s books began to be published. I was thrilled to be able to officially call myself an author! In fact, I liked it so much that after a couple of years, I moved into writing on a full-time basis.
I’m thinking about that transition at the moment because I’m getting together with the editor of my first two books this week. I’m really excited about the chance to catch up with her on a personal basis, but it’s also an important reminder about how much relationships have mattered to me as a writer. If you asked me to list the three most critical things you need to do to become a published author, I’d tell you that nurturing your writing connections is one of the biggest investments you should make in your career. (Look back over the blog entries we’ve posted here for the past few weeks for some ideas about how you can get a jumpstart on building your own writing network.)
Sometimes nurturing my writing connections—what I think of as “feeding my food chain”—means paying it forward by helping out writers who are less experienced than I am. I’ve been doing that for the past few months by coaching a new writer through an exciting project. I can’t yet talk about publicly, but it’s been really fun to be able to help open the doors to authorship for somebody else.
Feeding my food chain has also involved several recent meetings—as the New Year kicks off, I’ve been strategizing and goal-setting with some of the people with whom I’ve built collaborative partnerships.
And sometimes feeding my food chain means continuing to invest time and energy in the long-term relationships that have turned me into the writer I am today. That’s why, even though she’s no longer an acquiring editor, I’m so excited to sit down with the editor who once changed my life with a phone call. “We’re going to publish your book” is still one of the most exciting things I’ve ever been told!