Why the SCBWI Works–It’s Not Head Count, It’s Heart Count

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Family, Pondering, SCBWI, Writing, Writing for Children

I’ve been thinking a lot about the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) lately. Okay–I always think a lot about the SCBWI. Type #scbwi into my blog and you’ll find post after post about how this group has been an instrumental part of my growth and development as a writer. But you’ll also see posts describing how my tribe has given me a safe place to fall and supportive hands to push me forward when I’m weak and insecure. I love this group.

Simultaneously, I’ve also been pondering the state of the world around me. And one of the things I’m seeing is an increase in adult bullies. It’s in the news–countries bullying countries. Religious, racial and political terror grows like weeds. There are bullies in corporations, schools and neighborhoods. Sometimes it even comes from the people who are teaching our children how to be kind. Our supposed leaders. It makes my head spin.

But my personal response, to what I often consider an epic wave of ugliness, is to be the leader I want to see in the world. Some days I’m more successful than others. But even when I’m at my best, my world has a small footprint. And that is what has me thinking about why the SCBWI works so well and is so loved by it’s tribe members. It’s a safe place. As big as it’s grows, it remains a family like institution where we are encouraged to look after the person to our ¬†left and the person to our right. When you allow yourself to be close to people and to care about them in a very personal way, your small footprint overlaps with their small footprint and a clear picture begins to emerge.


This TED talk is a little on the long side, but well worth a few extra moments of your time. It’s amazing–one of my favorites.


The SCBWI is a great institution because it has great leaders, but I feel it’s an amazing institution because those leaders encourage everyone to step into the circle of safety and add their footstep–to be a leader in their own way. We continue to grow, not because of our head count, but rather because of our heart count.

If you aren’t a member already, put your best foot forward and join our circle of safety.



Tags: , , , , , , , ,


8 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. Yesssssssssss! <3

    • We’re only as strong as the people we surround ourselves with. <3

  2. Love this! I’ve only had the pleasure of going to a handful of events with SCBWI so far, but I LOVE being a part of the community. I love how open everyone is with suggestions and ideas and resources! So looking forward to more events in the future! Thanks for this great post, Kim! Aren’t TED Talks awesome? There are SO many good ones! Thanks for sharing!

    • You can’t beat TED talks and the SCBWI!!!! So glad you’re part of the tribe, Kerry. <3

  3. Thanks Kimberly for writing such a beautiful piece. You hit all the reasons I, myself, have stuck with this organization for forty plus years–like you it is my community in the truest sense of the word

    • Stephen–I can’t thank you and Lin and all your staff enough for what you do. It has been a life changer for me. I consider you all a part of my family–you mean the world to me. <3

  4. You have a wonderful blog, Kimberly. I found it through the SCBWI. I became a member little less than a year ago and then life got crazy. I haven’t been on the site as much as I’ve wanted but I would love to step beyond the hello I initially posted and become a part of this community. From what I have seen of people’s blogs I’ve been in awe of the heart you mention. How would you suggest that a new person such as myself – someone that is is in love with both illustrating and writing – might begin to get to know people, share and learn? Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this and for any advice you may share. Keep writing your blog, it’s great!

    • Hi Natasha!!! Thank you for stopping by to introduce yourself. (((((hugs))))) I’m so stinking proud to have my blog highlighted on the SCBWI website. It makes me even more excited to know that it’s helping to connect tribe members, which I’m passionate about. And huzzah for joining the SCBWI. You are going to love it. <3 As for life getting crazy--I can sympathize. My last year was a little nutty too. We moved and had some tough changes in our family. All the more reason to be in SCBWI--the friends I've made have helped me keep my head on straight while things got hairy.

      I think you've already started making friends *wink* A cyber "bump-into-each-other" is almost as good as a personal one. But be sure to spend some time on the SCBWI Blue Boards--the discussion group on the website. It's a great way to meet people. In fact, it's how I met one of my best friends and crit buddies. We bumped into each other in the bathroom at the NY conference and recognized each other's names from the Blue Boards. :o) And conferences local and national are a great way to meet people and to learn and grow. Find out where your regional group is and what they have to offer. I know I help out my RA by running a Hudson Valley Monthly Shop Talk group which continues to grow into a more and more rich and diverse branch of the tribe.

      And thank you so much for the compliments on my blog--that means a lot to me. If you want to find out more about conferences, the tribe or just writing, I've been posting about craft, inspiration and the SCBWI for a long time. And if you have specific questions, feel free to email me and I can help you with more specifics. Maybe we can even hang out at a conference soon.

Leave a Reply

By submitting this comment you consent to your contact details being stored in accordance with this website's Privacy Policy.

  1. Now Available

    Touching the Surface
  1. Follow Kimberly


  1. Archives



    agent Anica Rissi Apocalypsies blogging Bookanistas Book Review Class of 2k12 Conferences Contest Dad drafting Ellen Hopkins giveaway Jane Yolen Jodi Moore John Green Kimberly Sabatini Kimmiepoppins Kim Sabatini LA11SCBWI laurie halse anderson Lin Oliver Michelle Wolfson NaNoWriMo Oblong Books reading revision running SCBWI Simon and Schuster Simon Pulse The Class of 2k12 The Opposite of Gravity Touching the Surface WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN by Jodi Moore Wolf Pack Wolfson Literary writing writing style YA Author YA Book YA Books YA Novel YA Outside the Lines YA Writer
  1. Links

  1. The Apocalypsies
    The Class of 2K12