Early in my writing career, a colleague mentioned that the writing is life is not for the thin-skinned. After all, she said, why would you want to be in a business where two of the most frequently-used words are “submission” and “rejection?” At the time, I laughed at the light-heartedness of that notion, though I do understand its profound truth. And yet, we keep at it.

In these times, I would add “isolation” to that notion. Yes, isolation has always been a part of the writing life. But that’s exactly why I have always treasured my time with writing friends—whether a chat on the phone, an all-day marathon of clicking keyboards, a workshop, an in-person critique, or a conference.

My gratitude for connections with writers is amplified during this challenging time. It has taken on different forms and seems more essential than ever. Before I delve into that, though, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude beyond that.

I’m grateful that my family is safe, that my parents have made it home from wintering in Florida, thanks to a brave and fiercely dedicated brother who retrieved them in a self-contained RV. I’m grateful for all healthcare workers, who despite the compromised environment, show up day after day after day—including family members, one of whom is a nurse in NYC. I’m grateful for the relative stability in my life. So many others are struggling.

Now, connection seems elusive, yet more important than ever. I continue to find ways to connect with friends and family. Huh, my kids thought I talked a lot on the phone BEFORE this! I’m so grateful to the kidlit community for the gift of online webinars and workshops. I’m learning every day. Thank you, especially to the SCBWI and Highlights Foundation. Each week, I look forward to seeing your exciting (and distracting!) offerings. I’m grateful for writers, like Kate Messner, who upon learning of tough times and challenges, immediately go into HOW CAN I HELP mode.

Thank you, all. Keep at it. We got this.