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nick-morrison-325805-unsplash.jpgI’m always grateful for the community and connection that comes from being a member of SCBWI. There’s no shortage of people willing to share advice, tips, and knowledge. And lucky for us, so many in the kid lit community have shared their stories and wisdom on the Kite Tales blog.

Whenever I need a creative boost, I like to reread Kite Tales posts for nuggets of inspiration.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Kite Tales stories this year. Hopefully they’ll inspire you too as you set your 2019 writing goals. Read on and click the links to see the full posts.

“If your story can entertain or help even one reader, you have been an active participant in making the world a safer place. Stories protect us and reset us, especially the youngest among us who might be struggling with problems at school or at home.” — Kayla Cagan, Author of  Piper Perish  and  Art Boss

The Language of Spells_FC_3D“I don’t think of categories, I think of voices. Honor the character’s voice and the story will find its shape.” – Garret Weyr, author of The Language of Spells and French Ducks in Venice

“’Fame and fortune’ may sound like a magic portal to happiness, but in truth, no  product  can possibly compete with the wholly thrilling and restorative  process  of creating whole worlds from mere words. Words live. Words heal. And those of us who are lucky enough to spend our precious minutes living amongst them?  We get to heal ourselves every day.” – Melody Mansfield, author of The Life Stone of Singing Bird and A Bug Collection

“Authors should always try not to take criticism personally. It’s not about YOU, it’s about the WORK. Have an open mind, be prepared to completely reinvent your work, more than once. Nothing is sacred or precious except that we all respect each other’s dedication to getting the best stories into the hands of young readers.”  – Victoria Wells Arms, agent and founder of Wells Arms Literary

9781626726031_FC“Realize that authors who make it big with their first books are the exceptions. Slow and steady is the way it works. You  join SCBWI  and you send your stuff out a lot. I had 390 rejection letters before I had my first sale.” – Aaron Reynolds, author of  Creepy Carrots! and Dude!

“Keep working.” – Dan Santat, author/illustrator of  The Adventures of Beekle and After the Fall; illustrator of Dude!

“I would do practically the same drawing over and over again, eight hours a day, five days a week, and my drawing ability improved exponentially the first year of doing that.”  – Kent Culotta, illustrator of D is for Dump Truck and The Twelve Days of Christmas in Kentucky

“It can be hard to believe that what you’re doing is of value and will have value to someone else someday, some kid reader out there, especially when the outcome is uncertain. Part of the process, in my experience, is  trying  to believe, despite everything. It makes you both more rigorous and more gentle with yourself. That belief — that your writing has value — is the boat, the compass, and the shore.” – Danielle Davis, author of Zinnia and the Bees.

bear“As far as what I wish I’d known — maybe that rejections were not worth worrying over? I sometimes think of the alternate universes where I ended up with one of those agents that rejected me or ghosted me in the past. Are the Cassandras in those universes happy? I don’t imagine so. I conduct that little thought experiment with other parts of my life too. It gives me some perspective and reminds me to be grateful for everything I have.” – Cassandra Federman, author/illustrator of This is a Sea Cow.

“I think my tip would be this: write with honesty. There is nothing so false as a conventionally happy ending after a time of real hardship. It seems to me stronger to admit honestly that hardship is going to affect a character and change that person forever.  Middle school kids don’t just get over pain; they carry it. We all do. – Gary Schmidt, Newbury and Printz award winning author of Wednesday Wars and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy.

What are your favorite quotes about writing, illustrating, and the creative life? Share them in the comments below. 

Stock photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash. Illustration by Cassandra Federman.

For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators today! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.


Erlina Vasconcellos is the Kite Tales assistant editor. When she isn’t working as a journalist, she writes pictures books and middle grade. Find her on Twitter: @noterlinda