Wednesday, August 5, 2015



This cartoon made me laugh which to me, is always a good thing. However, I am late with this post and it was due to headlights... sort of. As you may know I was at the SCBWI conference for three days last week and my head was spinning from all the information I heard and needed to digest in relation to my work. What, you ask, was so impressive to make my head spin? Scroll down and I'll share a few tips with you.

Inspiring & Informative Quotes:

  • Don't just write what you know. Write what obsesses you. - Meg Worlitzer
  • Picture books are art that make you feel more than you understand. - Adam Rex
  • Shout your good news and allow others to celebrate with you. - Agents' Panel
  • Remember who you are. This business has many opportunities for rejection. - Stacey Lee
  • Success can be other things than just writing. - Lori Nichols
  • Do what you love and the work will find you. - Dan Santat.
  • Don't talk about it. Be about it. - Varian Johnson
  • Supporting characters are like our life-- we can't get through it (or the ms) without them. - Brandy Colbert
  • It might look like a long shot but you'll never know unless you keep shooting. - Kwame Alexander 
  • Joy is the soil in which books are grown. - Stephen Fraser
  • Telling an agent you have six manuscripts tells her you haven't been able to sell six manuscripts. - Julie Strauss-Gabel
  • Read, Write, and be Nice! - Agents' Panel

What I Learned:

  • The most important thing I learned is that if you haven't been to an event in seven years, what you need now is very different from what you needed then. I wish I had learned that on the first day instead of at the end of the second, but I'm glad I learned it before it was over. After ten years with SCBWI I realized I no longer need tips on how to write a query or polish those first ten pages, I got that. What I need is how to improve my technique and skill as a writer. I finally understood this and picked more fitting sessions for the writer I am now. Sessions like the standing room only talk by Brandy Colbert, How to Write Compelling Supporting Characters and Narrative Tension: How to Keep Them Up All Night by author pals Stacey Lee and Anna Shinoda
  • I also learned you should always find out if they validate parking so you don't pay $30.00 instead of $12.00. :(
  • I learned that even successful authors like Meg Wolizter have people walk up to her and ask, "Have I heard of you?" Her excellent come back is, "In a perfect world, you would have." Love it!!!
  • I learned that you should definitely attend all the keynote speeches, agents, editors, and authors panels. It's like an entire semester of writing tips and tricks in only ninety minutes!
  • One final thing-- have fun! If there's a party, attend it. If you're sitting next to someone you don't know, say hi. Children's writers are very friendly. 

Even my phone case sparkled. 
I could go on and on about the conference, but, as they say, a picture is worth one thousand words, so here are a few pictures. Some from me and some from my writing partner Mara Bushansky. 


Kite Tales lunch. DELICIOUS!!!


Party partners. 
Ready to Sparkle at the
Sparkle & Shine Party.



They kept us hydrated. 
Brandy and me.
Sparkling with new & old friends.
Andrea showing off her sparkle















How do you keep growing as a writer? Reading? Workshops? Graduate courses? Do you like partying with writers? Have you ever paid too much for parking?

P.S. I'm featured on the A to Z Blog for Themes That Rocked the A to Z Challenge. **squeal!!** You can check it out here.

10 comments:

S.P. Bowers said...

'write what obsesses you'

'Don't talk about it. Be about it.'

Love those!

Liz A. said...

Glad you got so much out of it.

Lexa Cain said...

The conference looks absolutely wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing the tips. I could really use that talk on How to Keep Them up All Night! It's great you got so much out of it - and managed to have fun too. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you had such a good time!
Success can be other things than just writing. - Lori Nichols - I really like that one.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Me, to, S.P., me too!

Thanks, Liz. It's always nice to be with other writers.

Lexa, I'm glad to pay it forward.

Me, too, Alex. Sometimes I think writers need that reminder.

Mary Malhotra said...

Great recap of the conference. And, yes, the parking was mystifying. I self-parked with no validation $12 Friday, $15 for the long long Saturday - and yes, ouch, $30 on Monday.

Chrys Fey said...

Sounds like a great conference and a wonderful opportunity. One year, one day, I'll go to one.

I love Meg's quote. I'll have to steal that one. ;)

cleemckenzie said...

You had way too much fun! I'm jealous. Loved that first quote by Meg Worlitzer. Such good advice. And the cartoon made me laugh, too!

Nick Wilford said...

You learnt a lot and had fun - sounds like a winner. "Joy is the soil in which books are grown" - I think that's my fave.

Melissa Sugar said...

"Telling an agent you have six manuscripts tells her you haven't been able to sell six manuscripts." Love that one and " Don't talk about it. Be about it." I'm glad you had such a good time . The photos are nice. Glad you got so much out of it. I've only been to one big writers conference and like many other people , I " thought," I was ready to be there and that my manuscript was ready to pitch or query, but I quickly learned that I had a lot more learning to do.
I'm eager to go to another conference now that I'm a little more grounded and I know what to expect. I clearly didn't get the most out of my conference because I was ( prematurity) only interested in pitching and I missed out on many valuable lectures that I needed. I also didn't network enough. My husband went with me and that sort of kept me from pushing myself out there and getting to know new people. I will leave my comfort/insecurity crutch at home next time.

Share this: