As the regular post-Summer routine slowly resumes, I think back on last weekend which was spent with fellow writers and illustrators at the 2014 Summer SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles. This was the first time that I attended the Summer conference even though I have attended the Winter conference in New York previously. What an inspiring and energizing four days I enjoyed!
It was wonderful to meet in person so many friends that I had known online for such a long time. Our room included Angie Karcher, Patricia Toth and Charlotte Dixon and me. Having not met in person before, one might think that it was rather adventuresome that to share our quarters. Let me just say, that I don’t think I could have found more compatible roommates if I had interviewed a slew of people. We all got along so splendidly and have become the best of friends.
Don’t we look lovely?
My immediate impression of the conference, therefore, was that I found my tribe. Take a look at this amazing conference hall just prior to the opening comments by Lynn Oliver.
Lynn noted that this was the largest SCBWI conference to date with over 1200 attendees. Our Arizona chapter had the second largest representation, after California, with over 50 attendees.
This year’s keynote speeches were truly inspiring. There were twelve and each one was filled with encouraging and practical advice as well as eye-opening realizations and insight. I could write page after page about what touched me most during each keynote, but I’ll break it down to maybe a line or two for brevity’s sake.
Meg Rosoff http://www.megrosoff.co.uk/
- quoted Einstein: “If you want your kids to be intelligent, read them fairytales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales.”
- Treasure your faults, because your faults are powerful.
- Write a story you think no one will buy.
- Meg has a quirky accent like me. 🙂
Judy Schachner http://www.judithbyronschachner.com/
- Become the character you are creating.
- Become a collector of things and ideas.
Stephen Chbosky http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0154716/
- It’s not up to an editor to tell you who you are. Write for yourself and you write for the world.
- Study the classics to be better that you have ever been.
Justin Chanda https://twitter.com/jpchanda
- Don’t create to the common core, write a good story.
- Picture books are back!
- Apps are not books.
Aaron Becker http://www.storybreathing.com/
- Writers and illustrators are pretty darn musical. (J He had us singing: Don’t stop believing, by journey)
Maggie Stiefvater http://maggiestiefvater.com/
- Copying is bad and shallow thievery.
- Look for the soul of a character or situation to find the truth.
Megan McDonald http://www.meganmcdonald.net/
- Quoted E.B. White : “You have to write up to children, not down.”
- If you want to write, find your splinter; the one that won’t let go of you.
- No matter how isolated you feel, your friends will find you. (love this one because it is so true)
Cynthia Katohata http://cynthiakadohata.com/
- Writing is liquid.
Deborah Halverson – Market Report – http://www.deborahhalverson.com/
- Picture books are back but aimed at a younger market. WHOOHOOOO!
- Implementation of common core is increasing desire for non-fiction.
Linda Sue Park http://www.lindasuepark.com/
- DON’T bore the editor!
- Adore, abhor, abhor, adore, abhor, abhor…
Sharon Flake http://www.sharongflake.com/
- She intuitively feels her way through her novels.
- Our creativity is not a genie in a bottle. Treasure it.
Tomie DePaola http://www.tomie.com/
- Be courageous! Being an artist it the way you live your life.
- “Money is like manure. It’s only good if it’s spread around to help young things grow.”
Judy Blume http://www.judyblume.com/
- Do not let anyone discourage you. If they do, get angry not depressed.”
- It doesn’t get any easier
As you can see from just these few lines, there were many pearls of wisdom that the keynote speakers gave us. These were only the tip of the iceberg of knowledge which they provided. You need to come to the conference next year to be as inspired as I am from the experience.
My next post I will share what some inspirations from some of the breakout sessions that I attended.
Happy creating to you all.