SCBWI Summer Conference 2013 – What I’ve gained and why you should go.

-Resources-Image-scbwi-logoH66W170A1The SCBWI LA Summer Conference is only one week away! I’m so excited. I’ve been packing for a week already. Next step — meal planning! I have food allergies. Eating away from home can be difficult. And on top of that, hotel food can get pricey.

There are a few spots still open for this life-changing conference extravaganza. Don’t delay! Register today.  (Sorry for the rhyme. Couldn’t help it.)

What have I gained from this event? One word describes it. As was featured in keynote speaker, Bruce Coville’s talk in 2011 — ripples.

Rewind to 2011 … my first summer conference. I didn’t know anyone. I went online seeking an SCBWI buddy in my area. I found one immediately. We started out as coffee buddies, and then conference buddies; now we are close friends.

Fast forward to 2012 … my second summer conference. I knew a small classroom full of people. And I built even more connections. This is the year that my big take away was “dig deeper.” They were several moments of bawling at this conference, but it was breakthrough bawling, which is totally ok.

And now it’s 2013 … I’m actually attending a Pre-Conference party on Thursday, and dressing up with a group for the gala (which I’ve always wanted to do.) Me — shy, little me!

This event helped further my writing career, feed my soul, and shed my introverted skin so I could interact with some of the most amazing people I have ever known. I hope you will think about attending. And if do, and you happen to see me, don’t be afraid to say hello! I love making new friends, and will be happy to help out if you are new!

I also wanted to share the following comics below created by Debbie Ohi who has a great SCBWI Success Story!! Her comics capture the pre-conference newbie jitters perfectly!

SCBWInewbie-01 SCBWInewbie-06kidlitchat SCBWInewbie-07editor

Getting out of my bubble — My SDSU Writer’s Conference Experience

I love attending writer’s conferences, workshops, and critique groups with fellow children’s and young adult writers.  I get to spend time with like-minded, spirited individuals who love children’s books as much as I do.  And, I don’t get people looking at me funny for enjoying them either!

This past summer, I received a wonderful piece of advice while attending a Children’s Writers Schmooze — ‘Expand your horizons.  Don’t limit yourself to events just for children’s writers. Branch out! Explore events for other genres as well.’

I percolated over the idea for some time and finally decided to take the plunge.  I signed up for the SDSU Writer’s Conference in San Diego, and will be posting recaps of it very soon! Writers from all genres were present at this event — and I was very nervous to attend.  I am so happy I did! Most sessions didn’t address my genre specifically, but nonetheless I was able to pick out information relevant to me and soak it all in. I was also exposed to many ideas about the new digital and technological world of publishing (more on that soon too.)

One of my favorite sessions was put on by author, Angela Hunt, entitled Evoking Emotion.  It was wonderful!  She had a box of tissues on the counter for all of us — just in case.  I didn’t think I would need them, but oh how wrong I was about that!  She used various videos as discussion points in discovering how they evoked such a strong emotional response.  Take a look at the video below about Christian the Lion Cub and see what I mean.  (The singer featured in the video is the Late Whitney Houston.  May she rest in peace.  My heart goes out to her family and friends.)


Did you miss WriteOnCon?

What is WriteOnCon?
WriteOnCon is a free online conference designed to give Writers many of the features of a live, in person conference in an online setting.  WriteOnCon is the brainchild of seven writers who wanted to “pay it forward” and give something back to the writing community. The curriculum is focused on Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Writers, however the information is relevant for all writers.

Sounds fabulous! How do I attend?
Well, here’s the thing. WriteOnCon 2011 has just finished. This year it was August 16-18. Not to worry though! The schedule is archived and still available for viewing. You will need to sign up to use the forums but you can view a link to the schedule of events here.

The sessions with publishing professionals are full of amazing information.  I attended as much of the live events as I could this year and am still not caught up!  I hope you take a look! You won’t regret it.

My favorite sessions: (so far)
Puzzled by Picture Books with Author Sarah Frances Hardy – Ms. Hardy gives a thorough talk about writing character driven stories from conception to storyboard.  Her talk is designed for both Authors and Illustrators.
Your novel isn’t ready for submission because… by Author Tom Leveen – Mr. Leveen speaks openly to authors about the many reasons why your novel (or picture book) is not ready for submission and in turn provides ideas that help you become ready to submit in the future.

Super SCBWI Summer Conference 2011

I gotta admit. This is a weird feeling.
Why doesn’t the CVS cashier know I’m a Children’s Writer?
How come the people in the fresh juice line don’t want to talk to me…about writing…and illustrating…and publishing children’s books?
Oh yea…I’m not at the SCBWI Summer Conference anymore, that’s why!

This year I attended the summer conference for the first time. On my first day I quietly sat in the lobby, trying to muster up courage to talk to people. That’s when I saw them…sunflowers! In the lobby of the hotel! As I have mentioned in a previous post, sunflowers tend to show up during significant times in my life. I think this experience certainly qualified as significant.

I don’t know yet what will come of my conference experience. What I do know is that at times I felt inspired, moved, excited, anxious, nervous, and encouraged. I met postive, like-minded, quirky people. I witnessed the diversity in writing, speaking, and art.  I was also reminded to believe in myself, my voice, and my vision.  I am so excited to write this week!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the conference:

“Everything we do moves outward, like ripples in a pond.”  – Bruce Coville

“I write what I need to write.”   – Donna Jo Napoli.

“Writing not only changed my life, it saved my life.”  -Judy Blume

Writer’s Day in L.A.

Yesterday I attended the SCBWI-LA’s 30th Annual Writer’s Day. It was my second official writing conference since taking up writing seriously again.

I was a little anxious about attending at first. I kinda felt like that little five year old girl I once was. I was always nervous about having to move for the 3rd time in two years and then go to a new school and make new friends all over again.  Well I’ve come a long way since then and I am happy to report – I loved every minute of it!
The camaraderie with fellow writers was excellent. I also felt very inspired by the speakers of the day which included: Susan Patron- Author, Margaret Miller-Editor at Bloomsbury, Toni Johnston-Author, Bruce Coville- Author, and Rachel Cohn- Author.

The conference took place at Clairbourn School in San Gabriel ~ a truly beautiful campus with white picket fences, pristine playhouses and equipment, quaint buildings and bright green lawns.  I kept trying to envision children on this campus ~ and inadvertently may have created a character for a new story.

The day was jam-packed full of precious, eye-opening information for any aspiring children’s writer. I walked away with a bag full of freebies, a page full of notes, and a head full of ideas. If you have a chance to attend this event next year- you are in for a treat!