SCWBI Conference for the win!

My hope was that the SCBWI Midsouth conference would bust my funk…and it did!

There’s so much to say, but I have to begin by sharing that I feel very lucky to live in this region.  Ruta Sepetys won the Crystal Kite award and her speech was awesome.  She spoke at the school where I teach a few years back when we read Between Shades of Gray for the all school read.  She’s a great public speaker, despite saying that she prefers not to leave her house.  She said that she was standing there because she’s a “supported failure.”  I absolutely love that concept and can’t wait to talk about it with my students.

Laurent Linn gave the key note and it was everything I needed to hear.  He was inspiring.  He was humble and warm.  Hearing about his journey as an artist and story-teller was really powerful, and a great start to the conference.

I went to so many amazing sessions.  I learned a lot and my head was buzzing with ideas.  I love the feeling of having ideas!  I felt like manuscripts that were languishing in my stack suddenly got a second chance at life!  Ninja Queen lives!  (I really should make shirts that say that.)

Katie Carella gave a great presentation on the 4-year-old Branches line of early readers at Scholastic.  I absolutely loved that session.  I learned a lot and I loved her keynote with Jessica Young.  My son loves the Haggis and Tank books, so it was great to see how those books came into the world.  (I’m going to submit Ninja Queen to her.  Ninja Queen lives!  Gotta get some T-shirts!)

Linda Camacho did a great session on YA lit that fed my academic soul as well as my writer’s soul.  She talked about the origin of YA lit and what the trends have been like for each decade since then.  I appreciated her thoughtful and balanced outlook.

I had a great face-to-face critique that confirmed that the edits and revisions I’ve put into PRINCESS’S GUIDE over the last month were the right direction.  That’s a great feeling.  I can see how much I’ve learned about writing over the past 6 years.

I connected with old friends and made some new ones.  We’re already adding to our critique group and planning our next meeting.

My amazing husband and co-parent flew solo with the rest of our clan, and I was relieved that the weekend went smoothly in my absence.  This is the last conference where I’ll have to pump in the car in between sessions–yay.  I’m so happy that I was able to do this conference and that I am also a supported failure.

Based on my critique, I’ve put in a few more revisions on my YA novel, and I’m working on polishing my submission for Katie Carella at Branches.  I feel energized as I move into NaNoWriMo with my new middle grade project.  I signed up on the NaNoWriMo website and finally settled on a working title: Normal Girl (Reluctantly) Saves the Day.

Okay.  My batteries are fully charged and I’m ready to set off!

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