“The WriteMentor Hub feels like a library of knowledge and a year-round party rolled into one“
The Hub, WriteMentor’s community learning platform for children’s writers, gave author Tracy Curran fresh hope and a boost to take the right step forward in her publishing journey
I was in the middle of putting away the Christmas decorations last year, when my phone pinged. It was good news! I’d been chosen to receive a year’s scholarship to the new WriteMentor Hub.
The news made an instant difference. 2020, as for many, had been tough. I’d started the year on a roll, listing in competitions and completing courses, only for my progress to dry up with the arrival of the pandemic. In the second half of the year, I bombed out of every competition going and failed to nail that elusive agent offer. My creativity and self-esteem took a massive hit and I was struggling to afford new writing opportunities.
Starting the new year with fresh hope
But ‘New Year, New Start’ and joining the Hub gave me the boost I needed to start 2021 with fresh hope. Being both a picture book and a chapter book/Lower Middle Grade writer, there was a double whammy of things I could access. My instant favourites were the workshops and webinars by Writers-In-Residence Clare Helen Welsh and Vashti Hardy. I offered up work for critique, listened to their teaching and, thanks to the sessions being recorded, fitted them in whenever I could. This gave me focus and inspiration and, unlike in 2020, I didn’t feel so alone anymore.
The benefits didn’t stop there. Over the course of the year, through being a member of the Hub, I managed to book an agent 121, took part in Pitch Hero and got invaluable feedback on my new chapter book from a child reader – brutal, brilliant and necessary. Now, I’m looking forward to taking up the very generous offer of a free entry to the WMCNA, a competition that I’ve listed in for the past two years but, more importantly, has given me amazing feedback on my work. In September 2021, my debut picture book was published by a small indie publisher called Final Chapter and hopefully I’ll be able to start giving back to WriteMentor in 2022.
Surrounded by supportive, like-minded people
The WriteMentor Hub feels like a library of knowledge and a year-round party rolled into one. You’re able to improve your craft and do what you love surrounded by supportive, like-minded people. I thought I was a loner but I’m not. I need that community interaction more than I ever realised and, for fear of sounding cheesy, there is a true family vibe to it.
Celebrating every step forward
Despite being a carer and being on low income, I make sacrifices wherever possible to continue to fund my writing journey. However, being part of the WriteMentor Hub is not something I could have prioritised or stretched to this year and, with the new Writers-In-Residence arriving soon, I’m really sad to have to say goodbye to it. I’m really hoping that Santa brings me the means to carry on being a member as community is truly key. However, if that doesn’t happen, I’m so grateful for all the things this scholarship has allowed me to take part in – I think it’s made the difference between giving up and persevering and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s to celebrate every step forward.
Develop writing craft and foster close writing relationships as a member of WriteMentor’s online Hub.