Writer’s retreats are beautiful things, my friends. Especially those put on by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
This weekend I attended the SCBWI Orange County Spring Writer’s Retreat in Temecula. I filled my notebook with insight and tips from editors and an agent. I enjoyed the intimate experience of a small event. And I soaked up Southern California wine country.
But of all that happened this weekend, I experienced three—count ’em, three—unforgettable, happy-dance-inducing, I’m-freaking-out-inside, WOW moments:
- All attendees in the room, including the editor and agent conducting the session, LOLed at my first page submission.
- An agent had a positive, LOL reaction to the same story during a roundtable critique.
- An editor chose my written critique submission for an impromptu face-to-face conversation. An editor. To discuss my PB manuscript. Because she LIKED IT.
All of this after I received feedback two weeks ago that indicated a massive rewrite to the story mentioned in the first two WOW moments above.
Getting these kinds of reactions to my work is huge. Connecting with industry professionals in this way is huge. Not only did my confidence skyrocket, but I finally saw glimmers of perseverance. I saw the results of long nights writing and revising, reading and researching.
This retreat marked a milestone for me. Progress. Improvement. Doors opening ajar. Validation that my passion is more than my own. That others see the value, too. That I should never stop trying. That I’ll get to where I’m going eventually.
To all the writers on the same quest, write often. Revise more often. Workshop your manuscripts. Get them critiqued by peers again and again and again. Go to conferences and retreats. Take those special opportunities to gain valuable insight from editors and agents. Put yourself out there, even if it makes your heart beat out of your chest.
Don’t wish for it. Work for it. It will pay off.