(Photo from SCBWI LA 2011 “Sleepover” Theme Party)
Ink and Angsters Tessa, Elle, Pamela and Kelly love rocking SCBWI!
“The Society of Children’s book writers and illustrators”
Why? It’s all about the learning, the fun, the networking. It’s about like mindedness. The contagious writer’s spirit, the pure joy of sharing craft with fellow writers, illustrators, agents, editors, bloggers, & publishers.
Hear from more talented writerly folks- Why they love SCBWI conferences!
Click the picks for awesome author links and websites!
Connecting with a community of other writers.
Learning great stuff.
Connecting with a community of other writers!
To escape writing.
For me, writing becomes an obsessive love. I love putting words on paper; molding characters; revising and in the process making my words stronger. A weekend conference takes me away from the routine I’ve established. Sometimes I leave kicking and screaming, but most times I realize the benefit: this mini amount of fallow time renews me. I come home either with new enthusiasm or with the solution to an irksome writing issue.
To surround myself with like-minded people.
We write in cubbies; offices; barns; corners of bedrooms, wherever, but we write alone. Most of us live with loved ones who don’t write. They don’t fully understand the isolation of writing. Conferences bring together bunches of people who spend at least a good part of each day in an imaginary world peopled by imaginary friends. In writing for teens and kids, we up the ante considerably. We must think like kids so to capture the right voice of our young characters. At SCBWI conferences, I spend time with adults who share my love of kidlit! Whether strangers or friends, they get what I’m doing and why.
I don’t have a degree in writing. I use SCBWI conferences instead. Don’t misunderstand: would that I could go back to university and kudos to those who have. It’s simply not an option for me, so I research and select conferences that will teach me what I need to know. I listen and take copious notes and hand-outs. The masters in children’s literature, both authors and illustrators, have been my instructors over the years I’ve belonged to SCBWI. Where else can that happen? Only through SCBWI.
THE WIG IN THE WINDOW
It’s tremendously rejuvenating to be surrounded by my fellow writers for three solid days! Those who aren’t writing and trying to publish are blissfully unaware of the challenges involved, so it’s lovely to spend time with people who understand. The children’s writing community is especially warm, open, enthusiastic, and fun.
The line-up of authors, agents, and editors who come to share their words of encouragement and expertise is second to none. Last year I met Judy Blume, for crying out loud! It’s moving to hear professionals’ share their own writing woes and loves, and I always leave energized to write.
I always come away from an SCBWI session on writing with some new insight. More often than not, I learn something that really revolutionizes my thinking. Last year’s intensive with Nova Ren Suma and Julie Strauss-Gabel about the editorial process was eye-opening and helped prepare me for working with my own editors.
THE HEALING SPELL
Yes, it’s intimidating the first time you attend an SCBWI conference, but the energy and inspiration can’t be found anywhere else. Plus you’ll make new, life-long friends!! Or find a crit group! Or get solid feedback on a writing project!
You will laugh. You will cry. You will come away a better writer and a better person.
There is no other conference where you’ll find so many editors, agents, and your favorite writers in the same place at the same time.
Getting to meet fellow writers, many of whom are at the exact same stage of the publishing journey as you are. There’s nothing like commiserating and feeling like you’re not alone!
Hearing insider information from industry professionals. I always felt like I had an edge after an
SCBWI conference, like I was in the know.
They keynote speeches leave you reinvigorated, enthusiastic and ready to get back and WRITE!
THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WHO PAINTED THE SKY
My fist incentive to attend was Marilyn Sachs, who said if I didn’t go to New York and go to SCBWI National, I wasn’t doing my share of my job.
The second was wanting to hear speakers that I admired, and wanted to learn from. I wanted to know what other CB authors were like and how they worked (and how they put aside their fear of failure).
The third was that by that time I had met so many wonderful people on the speaking circuit, it was the one place in addition to when we were speaking to meet up and share.
Sense of community. The conference may be huge, but there’s a very warm feeling of camaraderie. It’s impossible to walk away without having met lots of people at all different stages of their careers, even if you’re a shy, introverted type.
Fun! Maybe it’s the CA sunshine or the summertime vibe, but before I went for the first time, a number of different people likened the summer conference to camp, and it definitely rang true. Yes, we’re talking about craft and the painful ins and outs of publishing, but the mood is always lighthearted and playful.
Value. With so many workshops and incredible speakers, you WILL come away with wisdom that will change/support/improve your practice, give you greater perspective and inspire you to keep going.
GOOD READS WITH RONNA
To get that gem of a bit of advice that will resonate with me for years to come. Sometimes it’s a sentence, sometimes a philosophy or approach and other times it’s something completely new like the elevator pitch.
To reinforce what I already know, but hone it.
To network. I want to surround myself with writers in the same stage of their craft as I am and meet other writers in the next stage, too!
So there you have it! Tons of wonderful reasons to start networking! If it isn’t an SCBWI conference, let it be something educational, social and fun. Join writer’s groups. Learn. Grow. Write! I highly recommend SCBWI. Try it for yourself, just do it. Let me know what you think! And no matter what, keep those words coming. Keep on rocking your writing!
We’d love to hear why YOU love SCBWI! Leave your reasons in the comment box, and happy writing!