When I was a new writer, dreaming about the books I would write and what they would become, I came to conferences hoping to learn. I was in starstruck awe of everyone, from the seasoned attendees and published authors to the agents and editors.
After a few years, I came to conferences hoping to be inspired and learn something from workshops, but I also hoped to earn critiques with agents or editors who might be interested in my work. I knew some of the authors and quite a few attendees. The agents were familiar from the lists I had researched to query my manuscripts. I was no longer starstruck, but I had great respect for authors, agents and publishers.
A couple weeks ago I attended Florida's SCBWI summer conference as an agented writer with a book on submission to publishers. My respect for everyone in the children's book world hasn't diminished, it's grown. I'm in awe again, not starstruck-new-writer awe, but the kind of awe that comes from learning how hard everyone, from regional volunteers to agents and editors, works to make published books happen.
As I sat in the conference gathering room, waiting for seats to fill and our Regional co-leader Linda Bernfeld to welcome attendees and send us off to workshops, I realized this year was different for me. I was no longer here just for learning or publishing opportunities. I was here because of the people. The writers, young and old, new and seasoned, published and unpublished. We need each other, and I'm one of those seasoned writers now. I want to support new attendees. I want to support the regional volunteers who devote hours and hours for the good of children's writers. I want to be a link in the bond that weaves us together and makes us strong.
11/10/2018 08:52:03 pm
I love this post. As a new author, I can certainly relate to all the aspects of the starstruck feeling. It is refreshing to see how honest and open you are about the writing process!
11/11/2018 02:33:45 pm
Thank you, Angela. Best of luck to you with your writing!
10/12/2019 12:26:00 pm
Hi, Susan, thank you for sharing what your experience was like in attending writing conferences. I haven’t had the opportunity of attending on, yet, because of my busy schedule. I think it would good way for me to network, so for that reason I’ll probably give it a try.
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I write middle grade and young adult books with a magical twist. I'm represented by the fabulous Leslie Zampetti of Dunham Lit.
Lorin Oberweger - Freelance Editor