There is an old saying that being a successful creator (writer, film maker, visual artist) takes 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. I agree totally, but I would like to add that having a network of like-minded people around you, or at least accessible to you, probably makes up about half of the 10%.
I have always been a bit of a loner and it’s only since I joined our local branch of the International Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators that I have fully appreciated this. Even when things are going along relatively smoothly for me I enjoy their company and try to help out when I’m needed. But I find my SCBWI friends absolutely vital when I have a knotty problem with a manuscript or a dilemma about which way to push a new story. Those are the times when sharing my work-in-progress with people I trust can make all the difference. Sometimes it just takes a throw-away line, an off the cuff remark, even their musing on an idea, to turn the story around and set it going on a different tack – as happened at the weekend with my new work Parallel, which you will be hearing more about, soon.
I am mystified by how the whole chemistry of the group thing works, but it does and I am constantly grateful. Thanks guys!