Wednesday, August 7, 2013
IWSG Wednesday: SCBWI Summer Conference
Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!
This past weekend was the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Summer Conference at the beautiful Hyatt Regency on the edge of Beverly Hills. There were about 1300 attendees from (I believe) 46 states and 14 countries. And with all those people swarming the hotel, I found fellow blogger, Morgan Shamy, within ten minutes of arriving! It was great to meet her and discuss all the joys and woes of writing with her and her blogging friend, Ryan Dalton. So for the first time in three years, I didn't have to walk into the ballroom and find a seat alone.
There is always an amazing lineup of keynote speakers, but my favorites this year were Laurie Halse Anderson, Jon Scieszka, and Matt de la Pina. I loved Laurie's speech so much I attended one of her breakout sessions that extended halfway into lunch, though no one seemed to mind. She's also a children's book writer with the voice and potty mouth of a Drill Sergeant--quite entertaining. One big takeaway I got from her was the commitment to write at least 15 minutes every day to build discipline and momentum. There are so many days with huge time constraints and prior commitments, but you can always find 15 minutes (if you're committed). I needed to hear that.
The other new experience I had at this conference was receiving a professional consultation from a literary agent. I had the pleasure of meeting with Jennifer Azantian, from Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She gave me feedback on the first chapter of my new story, Project Winter. Overall, she seemed to enjoy it and expressed that the story had a unique and marketable concept. I have to admit that I've been procrastinating on this project, anxious of what comments would come from my consultation. It was a great experience and I'm excited to continue writing. Thanks, Jennifer!
And if you read Morgan's recap of the SCBWI conference earlier this week, you may remember her mentioning a "table war" with Arthur A. Levine. Well...it was less of a war and more of an immediate surrender. Sorry, Morgan...haha. We were hungrily searching for a table to eat our lunch at a nearby food court. There were blood-thirsty lunch lurkers everywhere diving for tables at just the hint of someone about to stand up. And then as fate would have it after a fortnight of searching, we found an empty portion of a table. Just as we were about to sit down, Morgan looked over at two men approaching and stepped away from the table saying, "I can't steal a seat from you." [may not be an actual quote...but it's close] The men were hesitant, but eventually graciously took our seats. I was like, what just happened? As we walked away to find another elusively empty table, Morgan told me that one of the men was Arthur A. Levine (the guy who published the American editions of Harry Potter). Oh... Now I understood. We should have gotten autographs--or left a manuscript on the table.
Well, my August is off to a great start. How about yours?