There’s a wonderful feeling you get after a writing conference. An excitement and energy that comes from spending a day or weekend with people who are just like you. With an SCBWI event, that feeling is even more exaggerated, due to the warmth and generosity of the writers and illustrators of children’s books.
I spent Friday and Saturday in Houston for the Houston SCBWI chapter’s annual conference and have that same energized glow today. The writers attending were at all levels of their writing journey, from those who are happy to be at their first conference to those who have a few manuscripts and conferences under their belts, and to those whose books are already on shelves or debuts are about to be released (including Crystal Allen, whose How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy sounds wonderful).
At this conference, I made new friends, hugged old ones, heard how illustrator extraordinaire Dan Yaccarino‘s penchant for trying new things has helped his career, how Penguin Young Readers Group considers books for aquisition (a handy title information sheet with hook, selling points and comparable titles), what agent Jennifer Rofe asks herself while reading a manuscript (so what? — that’s what she asks herself) and learned about the magic of chapter books from Scholastic‘s Jenne Abramowitz (a character that kids want to hang out with is important).
I also received the best gift: a nomination for the Houston SCBWI’s 2012 Joan Lowery Nixon Award from Dial Books for Young Readers’ Heather Alexander — Thank you, Heather!
If you’re considering going to a writing conference, do it! They are invaluable, even if all you take away is a bigger passion for writing and a longing to get back to your story.
Have you been to a conference lately? What did you get out of it?