Today is Insecure Writers Support Group day, a monthly blogging event hosted by the wonderful Alex Cavanaugh. On the first Wednesday of the month, participating writers are supposed to share about an insecurity they have on their blogs.
I'd just attended the 42nd Annual SCBWI Summer Conference. This was my first big SCBWI conference; 1,000+ people came. I actually didn't have any writerly insecurities about coming to the conference. But I did feel some uncertainty about how I would pull off a nursing/pumping regimen during the intensive, event-packed long weekend.
So before stepping into LA's Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, I established some DOs and DON'Ts for myself, which I'm happy to say that I stuck to:
1. Don't neglect my milk supply. I prefer nursing to pumping. But being away from my baby, I had to pump through most of the conference. To make this work, I skipped an event or two and occasionally showed up a little late to stuff. In spite of the hassle that came with all that pumping, I want to tell nursing mothers who want to come to this conference that they can do it!
2. Do observe agents and editors. I wanted a better feel for who the gate keepers of the kidlit world are. So I attended keynotes and breakout sessions featuring such industry folk.
3. Do make the effort to initiate conversations. I didn't order all those business cards just to keep them sitting inside my name tag pouch the whole time. I had as much fun giving away my cards as I did receiving the cards of colleagues.
4. Don't pitch. Nothing against the idea, but I decided I didn't need to put that kind of pressure on myself.
The conference was well-organized and the keynote speeches and breakout sessions were very informative. My consultation also went well. Right now, my brain is a heavy and wet sponge dripping with tidbits of industry wisdom. Here's some of that wisdom:
From author Laurie Halse Anderson's keynote speech: "We are the antidote to the disappointing grown-ups of the world." (I tweeted this, and my specific tweet was mentioned in a recent SCBWI blog post!)
From author Jon Scieszka's keynote speech: "I don't write books to put kids to sleep. I write to wake them up."
From editor Donna Bray's breakout session: "This is the most subjective business in the world."
One more thing. I got to meet my blog buddy and fellow kidlit writer Gina Carey in person! We sat next to each other at a couple of events and hung out at the Black & White Ball on Saturday night. It was loads of fun to connect with Gina.
For anyone who is on the fence about attending a big SCBWI conference, I just want to say that this was a very worthwhile experience for me.
Have you attended an SCBWI conference? Which writing conferences have you attended? If you haven't attended any writing conferences, which one(s) would you like to attend?