I attended my first conference ever on February 2, 2013. Not only was it my first; it was the SCBWI International Conference in the heart of New York City – attended by 999 children’s books writers and illustrators from around the world. Being in the midst of all that amazing talent was like manna for the soul. It was an inspiring, thought provoking, momentum-driven experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Speakers like Mo Willems, Shaun Tan, Jane Yolen, and Julie Andrews, to name a few are super craftsmen of the trade. They have ridden the rollercoaster of writing and publishing and lived to tell the tale. I have come away from that experience with little nuggets of wisdom that will forever direct me on the path I have chosen.
Thanks to Mo Willems, I will be on the quest to write a book that will change the life of a child, to be his or her friend, a book that will perhaps be the hope and light at the end of what may be a bleak tunnel. Tall order, I know… but what an amazing thing to aspire to. I have always written from the heart, and hopefully my words might someday touch someone else’s heart too.
Shaun Tan inspired me to write a story that would touch a cord so deep in someone, that it ceases to be my story… but theirs.
Jane Yolen helped me appreciate the long road ahead … that it is okay to have ups and downs but to never stop believing in myself.
And Julie Andrews, the amazing Julie Andrews who is the epitome of grace … stressed the importance of breaks, to walk away from something that is stumping you, and come back to it with fresh eyes; to give yourself a chance to recharge – something that we probably know, but don’t really follow when we need to.
I met special people and look forward to following the careers of these new friends (including Mo Willims – who, though he does not know me, inspired me “Mo” than ever). They are mentors to me now. I look forward to the next conference and hopefully to seeing some of these new friends again – maybe getting them to autograph their books, which are now part of my treasured collection.
Here are some of the pictures I took over the weekend.