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. What a fabulous recap of your conference adventure! Love the whole Peter Reynold’s anecdote and your new project space name! You’re inspiring me to be a bit more outgoing next time I’m at a conference. I usually like to hide behind the food table. LOL!


  2. Great notes Kirsti! I also got a Wood chip from Peter! I was thrilled. We are both members. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Love this post, and your learnings! Peter Reynolds is a joy. Now I’m thinking about what I can call my Writing Room other than Writing Room. I’m glad you spoke to him. I’m sure your Calliflower Studio is glad, too! And I just have to say it — you and Carrie Brown could be sisters!


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