This weekend was my second year attending the NJ-SCBWI conference. Now, Robin Newman has all the pictures from the event; check them out here. (Scroll down and you might see me in full detective gear to help Robin celebrate her book, “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake,” which is a fun and funny read, and includes a carrot cake recipe.) Tara Lazar (who wrote this and it is great) has a wonderfully detailed writeup of the event here that I am not even going to compete with. I am going to complain about my shoes.
Last year, I wore my way-gorgeous strappy high-heeled sandals all day, and by 5 p.m. my feet had declared they were going on strike and would not be speaking to me again without a mediator. This year, I bought cute, low-heeled, cushioned sandals. Aha, I am being smart, I thought. And then the low-heeled sandals gave me blisters. Next year I’m going to just wear fuzzy bunny slippers all weekend, so I hope that’s OK with everyone.
There’s a lot of walking, is what I’m saying. Much to learn, and many conference rooms to travel to.
Last year, I made the classic newbie mistake of walking into a writers conference and thinking that some agent was going to sign me on the spot. Yeah, uh, no. Doesn’t work that way. (Read “Bird by Bird.” Anne Lamott says so.) After the conference, I made the second classic newbie mistake of being gloomy about the whole thing, and thinking, woe is me, I’ll never be a real writer, I’ll never get a single thing published, etc. I had to work through that, and take a look around me, and realize that this is the process for everyone. It’s not a quick process. You have to be patient, and keep at it. And looking back, I wasn’t ready last year.
Outgoing Regional Adviser Leeza Hernandez (who is awesome, and also we are fans of this at our house) talked in her speech about when she went to the New York conference for the first time, and how big it was, and how overwhelmed she was. She said the hardest thing she did was go back the second day. And I think that’s true: The hardest thing I did was come back this year, knowing there are no guarantees of anything, and being a writer means you keep writing no matter what.
I’m glad I came back. I had way more fun this year, and I’m happy with the feedback I got. I can’t wait to take the industry and craft insights I got and put them to good use, and I’ve got some revising to do.
But already I’m looking forward to next year.
When I will be wearing fuzzy bunny slippers.