Each year I go to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator’s National summer conference, and each year I promise myself to type up notes and blog about the experience. And each year (up until now, huzzah!) this promise has gone un-kept. By now I’ve got a pretty good handle on how this happens — and I think other conference-goers can probably relate. This event is four straight days spent with 1200+ fellow writers, illustrators, publishers, agents, and SCBWI staff. It’s a social, informational, and inspirational whirlwind. SCBWI’s director and MC, the hilariously love-able, Lin Oliver nailed it when she said:
“This is what happens when a bunch of introverts get together and feel comfortable with each other.”
It’s the best kind of social+professional interaction. In fact, it’s come to the point where these events nearly match Christmas for me. I’m giddy and excited to geek out with hundreds of other children’s book, well, geeks for four days straight.
But, as we know about introverts, even small social interactions involve rest and recovery periods. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it takes me a whole 7 days after the conference to recharge (the entire first day involves lying face-down on the bed). A lot of that time is spent catching up on deadlines, emails, and binge-watching some tv series (usually involving bridal gowns, or food, or the 90’s). It also involves thinking “I gotta type up those conference notes while it’s all still fresh,” yet not having quite enough energy to take action. But this year I did it! It’s two weeks later, the dust has settled, but it’s still fresh on my mind.
The event highlights for me:
- my conference buddies, Debbie Ohi and Kimberly Gee
- meeting author Pat Z. Miller!
- the keynote speakers
- juicy breakout sessions, during which I always seem to collect new tips on craft, and get insight for my stories in progress
- seeing my agent, friends I’ve made from conferences past, and the SCBWI mentor/mentee group–we eat, we drink, we bond
- meeting new friends, and collecting cards at the illustrator’s social
- the Monday Illustrator’s intensive: all about inspiration this year