Yesterday, I spent 10 full hours with 160 weirdos, shuffling back and forth between six windowless rooms. And I loved every moment!
I attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators spring conference. It was my first writing conference and my first SCBWI function and I was nervous as hell. As I’ve heard from a lot of writers, I feel like a total imposter. “I’m not a real writer. I’m not good enough.”
Bullshit. That’s what yesterday taught me. Those feelings are bullshit. Everyone there was crazy approachable and average, and I mean that in a good way. No one walked on water. No one made it rain with $100 bills. Everyone in that room was just like me- passionate, quirky and in love with writing.
If I walked away with just that realization, I would have felt accomplished and completely satisfied with my first conference experience. But yesterday, I was given so much more than that.
You know when you’re on a cruise or at a charity event and you’re forced to make awful small talk with strangers at your table? SCBWI wasn’t like that. Sure, the circumstances are similar but you’re not talking about football or the weather in Florida, you’re talking about your greatest passion with people who feel exactly the same way. It’s magical. I told my fellow conference goers things I have never said to friends. We shared our fears and our hopes and things that have broken our hearts. It was weird and beautiful.
I learned about developing your voice and building character from agents. I learned tricks and tips from published authors. I traded business cards. I turned our lunch table into a critique group. I walked away motivated, excited, hyped up and ready to move forward.
And the food wasn’t too bad.
Check out these speakers if you ever get a chance: Martha Brockenbrough, Emily Mitchell and Ruth Musgrave.