Anything is Possible (or my thoughts on SCBWI LA 2015)

Possibilities, possibilities, possibilities! That’s my one-word description of the 2015 SCBWI Los Angeles Summer Conference.  Oh the places I know I can go!

As a first-time attendee, I didn’t know what to expect. I did my research and talked to writers who attended in previous years. I read and heard nothing but “You’re going to love it” and “You’ll be so inspired” and “Children’s book people are the kindest people you’ll ever meet!”  I figured I would enjoy myself, leave with a story idea or two, and maybe meet a new friend. Little did I know that my expectations would be met and multiplied by ten!

I loved the conference. I REALLY loved it. I loved the 10-hour days, I loved the energy of the speakers and attendees, and I loved the sense of community that dripped from everyone and everything. In the spirit of the Old Spice guy, I swan dived into the best weekend of my writing life. Finally, a group of people who speak my language! I laughed in every session (kid lit writers and illustrators are hilarious) and shed tears in others.

Inspiration is seeping out my eyeballs right now. So many wonderful quotes have been replaying in my head all week. Especially this one from Shannon Hale: “Write what you’re passionate about. Write what you want to know.” I want to know a lot of things, so story possibilities are endless at this point. My fingers are struggling to keep up with new picture book ideas. I can’t believe how long my list of “to-write” projects has grown in less than a week. And I’ve started revising two current projects and writing three new stories!

I finally met with members of my SCBWI regional chapter. I had been in correspondence with my advisor for a couple of months, but due to distance, was unable to attend any events.  Not only did I meet some fantastic local writers and illustrators, but I found a new critique partner. We’re already planning to meet in a couple of weeks to swap stories. Hooray!

In the words of Dan Santat: “If you have a closed mind you’re not going to find the beauty of things.” The conference opened new doors for me. I feel so energized and ready to dig into my writing. What’s possible? Everything. Am I capable of writing captivating PBs? Yes. Can I make those stories go places? Yes. Will I make those stories go places? YES!

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