Mentors. We need 'em.

This past weekend I was named the Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award Winner by the Austin Chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). I submitted a young adult novel in progress to National Book Award Finalist Elana K. Arnold for a critique at our annual conference. I wanted to know if she thought the premise was solid. 

She did. So solid she chose my book for entry into the conference's one writing award. This past weekend, author Jennifer Ziegler chose it for her year-long mentorship. 

Read more about the award: 2018 Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Awards Chosen

We Need Mentors

Whenever we take on a new challenge, we bring skills and talents with us, but having the opportunity to learn from people who have been where we are now helps us to learn and grow exponentially. 

When I moved from account service into the creative side of the advertising business, I had talent, but I needed new skills. Mentors, including a boss who wielded Black Beauty pencils and had no problem cutting out 40% of the words I had written, taught me what I needed to know to face new and different challenges successfully.

This is my first young adult novel, and I have the opportunity to learn a completely new set of skills. What a gift to be able to walk this path with a mentor.

 Jennifer Ziegler, second from left, front row, looking adorable. Me, next to her in my go-anywhere chicken dress

Jennifer Ziegler, second from left, front row, looking adorable. Me, next to her in my go-anywhere chicken dress

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