Once, when I was in middle school and involved in community theater, Dad told me I should audition for a play my theater teacher was directing and name drop other directors I knew. I told him, “no” that I only wanted to get the parts that I deserved on merit, not on who I knew. I spent a lot of time in the chorus or bit parts that year.
And I wised up the next.
Dad gave me my very first lesson on networking in those theater days. Even though it took me awhile to catch on, it is a lesson that has served me well both in my career as a public relations professional and as a stay at home parent/advocate for my kids.
After Dad died, I re-dedicated myself to my next adventure. Writing a novel. He believed in me and my abilities, so I felt it was time to make good on that faith. And I’m approaching it the way Dad would want me to.
I joined an organization. Specifically, The Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators. I joined a writing “support” group. I signed up for seminars. I am reading more in the last year than I have in the six years since Kate was born.
And today I took the biggest step of all. I registered for the SCBWI’s Winter Conference. In New York. This is a huge expense and a giant leap of faith. But I’m just doing what Dad taught me. Meet the people. Certainly, be good at what you do. Work hard. Be professional. But meet the people. Build the relationships. So I’m going to New York and I can’t wait to see who I meet.
This is for you Dad. Hope I’m making you proud.