3 things I learned at NESCBWI14

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.



  1. A great reminder to connect … no matter who the person is! Glad you had a great time and met new people and people you know in person.


  2. Kirsti if you were ever an introvert (Hard to believe since I’ve seen you singing in your own little rock band!), you are no more. You are solidly in the Create Bravely and Kidlit People club. and it’s awesome that you got so much out of the weekend. Calliflower Studio is fun.


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