I’ve only attended the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) summer conference once — back in 2014 when I served as New Mexico’s assistant regional advisor. This year, with the pandemic, the conference moved online. It was four and a half days of wonderful conversation between authors and their editors, illustrators and writers, and other industry pros.
My favorite session was a talk with the incomparable Jane Yolen (who at 81 is 450+ books into her “long and varied career”), led by her daughter and writing partner, Heidi Stemple. (A writing friend described Jane as the Fairy Godmother of Children’s Literature, which is exactly right.)
The quote above is Jane’s answer to Heidi’s question “what advice do you wish someone had given you early on?” What a breath of fresh air her answer was!
As a writer, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the next sale or a book’s “success” or “failure” (those are tricky words and loaded words with a number of ways to define and measure — many of which can leave an author discouraged). This notecard (pinned to my office wall) is one more way I’ve been reminded to keep my focus on what I can control and to find joy in the process.
Thank you, Jane. You are a treasure!