A Surreal Moment

By Deb Dudley
About five years ago, give or take, I attended my very first writing event.  A newbie to Richmond and children’s writing, I remember leaving my house several hours early.  My printed directions (it was my Pre-iPhone era) estimated travel time at 40 minutes. I think we can all agree, “estimated” times are generally calculated for the directionally savvy traveler. So, if something is important, and I want to be there, I ALWAYS add a huge buffer.  I’m a writer, not an explorer.
I’d love to tell you that I arrived with oodles of time to spare, but let’s just say I made it there.  And, although I was incredibly nervous about finding the place, and being around other writers who knew more people and more about writing than me, I bravely took a huge step outside my comfort zone.  And, I’m so happy I did.  Because, it was on THAT day, at THAT event, I decided to become children’s book writer.  Although I was totally new to the world of children’s literature, I had miraculously stumbled into an event with two of the best children’s book writers in Virginia.  Gigi Amateau and Meg Medina.  And as they shared their stories and as I listened to them talk, I grew to like them. I became genuinely happy for each of them and their success. And as they confidently chatted about their craft, I felt as if they were encouraging me and the rest of the crowd to embrace our dream of writing.  To become fellow writers.  To join them.  Before that day, I toyed with the idea of writing stories for children.  After that day, I decided it was more than just a passing urge.  I knew I needed to write stories for children.  And so I did.  
Over the past five years, I’ve learned quite a bit about writing and who I want to be as a writer.  I’ve attended countless events, created mind-boggling manuscripts, made several friends and joined one incredible critique group.      
AND then last Thursday, on June 27, I had the honor of sharing a stage with Meg Medina and two other talented writers on The Writing Show with James River Writers.  We talked about the writer’s platform, branding, websites, tag-lines, social media, networking, book launches and community involvement.  We discussed the importance of being authentic.  Sitting next to Meg and listening to her voice, I remembered how her words had inspired me years ago. It was an incredibly surreal moment.  
For more information on James River Writers, visit the Shout Outs tab on my website at www.debdudley.com
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