This is why we go:
SCBWI has been a large part of my life since I joined my first critique group back in 2006. Registering and attending the annual spring conference is one of the main writing highlights of my year. It begins with the excitement of choosing my workshop selections from the smorgasbord of options offered each year (oh, the possibilities!), and it culminates on the conference weekend with three glorious days spent learning new aspects of the craft and engaging in heartfelt conversations over lunches, dinners and evening glasses of wine and tea. Yes, most years it requires an act of God to pry me away from my family demands for three days, but I've never regretted the time spent among my fellow writers and illustrators or the effort it took to get me there! The craft discussions and key note talks replenish my writing well, and the camaraderie amongst my colleagues sustains me through the deadlines and projects that lie ahead.
When I first got serious about writing, I had no idea where to start. I had a good, solid picture book manuscript, a beginning to a novel, and a bunch of cute ideas. A friend of a friend suggested I join SCBWI. After a Google search, where I learned about the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, I became a member just in time to sign up for one day of the Spring conference.
Like a giant wave that is both majestic and terrifying, that day overwhelmed me. I walked away with a deep conviction of how little I knew. I walked away in awe of the process involved in making a book and with my head bursting with new information. I walked away with an insatiable hunger to learn more, grow more, WRITE MORE!
And so, I return every year to discover those things that I still do not know; to learn and be inspired by amazing authors; to rub shoulders with agents and editors and put faces with names; to volunteer and serve; to connect with like-minded people who share my passion for words and stories and books; and to fill my writer's cup. So I can pour out stories onto pages for another year.
Oh, and that solid picture book manuscript that got this whole thing started. Not so solid. I learned that too.
"Seems like a lot of mice scrambling for a small piece of cheese,” I commented to the stranger setting next to me at the SCBWI conference. I was overwhelmed looking at the crush of SCBWI conference goers heading to their next seminar.
“It’s a big piece of cheese,” she replied.
“Really?” I asked. “Say that again.”
She did, and then she started our support group, is my partner in 24 Carrot Writing and without a doubt the most wonderful reason to go to the SCBWI conference.
You will find inspiration from the wonderful speakers and enhance your craft at the informative workshops, but the best reason to attend an SCBWI conference is the opportunity to connect with a fellow writer. Strike up a conversation with the writer who sits down next you – you may just find your Francine!
Annie feels so strongly about conferences as a way to connect with others in the writing community, she wrote a whole post about it here.
Hope to see you in Springfield,MA April 24-26! Go! Sign up!