I spent the past weekend in the Chicago suburbs at the SCBWI Marvelous Midwest Conference, which truly was a marvelous experience. I connected and re-connected with writer friends; learned more about the writing industry and took home some great ideas that I can apply to my manuscripts.
Additionally, I came home with some unexpected take-aways:
1. A feeling of hope: Agent Stephen Fraser delivered an inspiring keynote discussing the role of children's books in overcoming the "toxic negativity" found in today's world. He spoke of the rights of children to feel hopeful and to see the world as a beautiful place. He challenged writers to see the beauty of the world so that we can give children the books they deserve...the books that will help them make the world a better place. I wasn't expecting to feel so inspired and moved by this discussion, and the idea that I could truly make the difference in the lives of children (if only I can manage to get published!)
2. The realization that published writers are just like me: This may sound silly, especially as I've obviously interacted with many published writers throughout my path to publication. But, something about the conversations I had this weekend with people who have books on the market made me realize that published writers truly are "regular people," just like me. To me, this means that if I continue to put in the work, I will one day be on of those regular people who just happens to be a published writer.
3. Some out-of-the-box story ideas: Author Julie Berry gave a great breakout session about "writing what you don't know," the opposite of the maxim that we writers typically hear. This gave me some ideas of how to push myself to think - and write - in a different way than my default...
...which is what I plan to do now. Happy writing!