Wow! Those New Englanders know how to do it!
BH and I spent a high-energy weekend at the New England chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrator’s” conference. It was HUUUUUUUGGGGGEE!. I think someone said there were 550 people there. Amazing. And incredibly well-organized. They even had vegan lunches for people who didn’t want beef or turkey or tuna. I was impressed.
I gave the keynote Saturday morning. It was a poignant moment for me. When I started writing for kids, all I had was a handful of dreams and a lot of ambition. Along the way I made every mistake possible, and a few that no one had heard of before. And somehow, I’ve moved from the newly-hatched dreamer in the audience to the person standing (well, pacing) behind the podium. Very, very strange and wonderful.
During the speech, I held up my rejection file, and read a few of those dastardly polite letters that hurt so much. I will never forget what it feels like to get those in the mail. I remember the tears and doubts and the fears. What am I talking about – I still have them!
That is the cool thing about writers’ conferences. It doesn’t matter where you are on your creative journey – published or pre-published – we all sit on the same raft in an ocean of doubt. Thank you to everyone for such a warm welcome and much-needed boost of camaraderie.
Mitali gave a wonderful workshop about using the Internet to promote books. She should know: she has a wonderful site and a delightful blog. I took many, many notes! She is one of the forces behind Readergirlz which is featuring my book PROM in June. You’ll be hearing more about that later.
Enjoyed dinner with Sarah Aronson (left) and Tanya Lee Stone (right), who has a great picture book biography about Elizabeth Cady Stanton out soon. Also saw Kate Messner there, and Kelly Fineman, and Harold Underdown (I’ll be talking about his new book in a couple of weeks), and Debra Garfinckle, who graciously signed one of her books for me.
Jo Knowles – were you there? Did we talk? I could be blanking here (I’m still pretty tired). Help me out. What did you think of the conference?
Here are a couple of the hard working souls who put the conference together: Jan Kozlowski, Sally Riley, Janet Arden, and J.L. Bell, who writes one of my favorite blogs: Boston 1775. The other organizers kept moving so fast, they appear in photographs as a blur. BH and I thank you all for a wonderful weekend!
The theme of the conference was “Stretch Your Wings”. I am flapping mine with great vigor as I head back to the Cave of Revision.
How was your weekend?