Summer SCBWI Los Angeles Conference – part 1

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

  • 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

  • Become the character you are creating.
  • Become a collector of things and ideas.

Stephen Chbosky

  • 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

  • Don’t create to the common core, write a good story.
  • Picture books are back!
  • Apps are not books.

Aaron Becker

  • Writers and illustrators are pretty darn musical. (J He had us singing: Don’t stop believing, by journey)

Maggie Stiefvater

  • Copying is bad and shallow thievery.
  • Look for the soul of a character or situation to find the truth.

Megan McDonald

  • 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

  • Writing is liquid.

Deborah Halverson – Market Report –

  • Picture books are back but aimed at a younger market. WHOOHOOOO!
  • Implementation of common core is increasing desire for non-fiction.

Linda Sue Park

  • DON’T bore the editor!
  • Adore, abhor, abhor, adore, abhor, abhor…

Sharon Flake

  • She intuitively feels her way through her novels.
  • Our creativity is not a genie in a bottle. Treasure it.

Tomie DePaola

  • 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

  • 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.

16 Responses to “Summer SCBWI Los Angeles Conference – part 1”

    • TBauerle

      Thank you so much SaDonna. The conference was well worth attending and very inspiring. Hope you can make it over there some time. Hugs. T

  1. kathalsey

    Ha, Tanja, I had not seen that pic before. Now do not forget your roommate “under the desk,” either. Great post. I feel so blessed to have experienced this particular conference and w/y’all.

    • TBauerle

      Ha, ha, ha, Kathy, I did not forget about you. I just felt so bad about you sleeping on the floor that first night that the trauma of it couldn’t let me write it down. It was such a great to experience with all of you lovelies. Hugs. T

  2. Sandy Perlic

    I feel inspired just reading your recap, Tanja! Wish I could have gone. I’m terribly curious about what Linda Sue Park meant about “adore, abhor….” What’s the story there?

    • TBauerle

      I’ll get into that a little more with my next post. In a nutshell, when working on a manuscript Linda goes though phases where she adores her story, but many more where she abhors her work. She was much more eloquent in explaining this, but I think that all of us writers could relate to it.

    • TBauerle

      Crazy how time flies. It was so nice to meet you in person finally, Laurie. Sending you many hugs. T

  3. sydney2you

    Thanks for posting this, Tanja. It sounds like you had a great time and picked up a wealth of good tips. I look forward to your next post!

    • TBauerle

      It was a wonderful conference. I am seriously thinking about going again next year. You definitely should go. 🙂 T.

  4. Patricia Toht

    What a terrific conference it was! As you noted, every speaker had words of wisdom that resounded with me. Yet my favorite part of the conference was meeting you and the rest of the crew. 🙂

    • TBauerle

      I completely agree with you Patty. Funny how it feels like we’ve known each other forever, don’t you think? Hugs. T

  5. Charlotte Dixon

    What a great post, Tanja. You and our roomies are treasures in my life. This was a fab experience and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. Hugs!

  6. angiekarcher

    I’m just catching up…I miss you and our roomies too! What a fun, amazing group…and we are sisters now for sure! Great post…thx for sharing Ms. T! Oh, and Happy Birthday! So glad we could celebrate at BJs with you! LOL

    • TBauerle

      Hey there my new sister. Miss you too. Remember: IT WAS NOT MY BIRTHDAY. Blahhhahahahah. What a funny evening that was. Hugs. T


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