NESCBWI’s spring conference earlier this month crackled with creativity. It was almost palpable, a beating heart infusing life’s blood into every writer and illustrator at the conference. The theme, Create Bravely, helped me arrive determined to soak up knowledge and make connections. Here are 3 things I learned at the conference.
1. It doesn’t hurt to approach people. I’m a closet introvert. I force myself to talk to people because I know that’s what I should do. Talking to people I didn’t know all weekend was draining, but worth it. I met dozens of writers, illustrators, 2 editors and 2 agents. Each one of them was a real person just like me.
2. Connections happen when you make an effort to connect. I almost didn’t stop Peter Reynolds as he walked by, but I took a deep breath and told him how inspired I was by his keynote speech. Approachable and kind, he stopped to talk and gave me a round wooden chip.
“You are now a member of The Dot Club. Just make your dot, and sign the back of this and follow 3 rules:
1. Be creative
2. Inspire creativity
3. Share creativity”
He then told me to name my project room something other than “project room”. When I tweeted him our newly christened “Calliflower Studio”, he tweeted back: “Make sure you have a ribbon ceremony with your kids!”
3. Kidlit writers are my kind of people. Kidlit writers and illustrators are warm, kind and helpful. When I sang at Open Mic Night, I had 6 brave volunteers.
I met my phenomenal writing partner, Carrie Brown in person for the first time! She is just as wonderful in person as she is on-line!
I met with my fellow 12×12ers, whom I adore!
I met my lovely illustrator, Lisa Griffin. Her whimsical illustrations make my book shine and when she said my story resonated with her, I once again felt blessed to be part of the kidlit community.
It was surreal to see my book appear on the screen throughout the weekend. I came home ready to live, connect and create more bravely.