A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Society of Children’s Writer’s and Illustrators (SCBWI) summer conference in Los Angeles. My roomies for the weekend were Karen Moore and Cindy Prieto. We are members of the “Sassy Scribes” a local critique group.  We had an awesome, time. The conference was a great learning experience. I think we all came away with new ideas, and new techniques.

I felt this conference left me with the same rejuvenating feelings I remember having after returning from attending reading conferences years ago.

So many memorable events, schmoozing, bonding, sharing, learning, writing, and critiquing. Everything a writer and illustrator of any level could possibly hope for and more.

Some of the most important facts I learned (not including where the food court at the mall is located), creating stories with timeless elements, and memorable characters. Developing stories that combine voice, character, and plot. Mind you, although I took lots of notes, the difficult part will be writing and keeping these necessary details in my thought process as I create.

Who were the most inspirational speakers? I loved listening to and watching Mem Fox. She is a wonderful, creative, imaginative writer, and a very talented story teller.

Dan Santat was such an awe inspiring speaker. Made me stop and think about values, and what is important. Kind of don’t sweat the small stuff but listen to your inner voice and follow your dreams. We all have them sometimes it takes courage to step outside the comfortable box known as life that we create and move into uncharted waters. In my case this involves honing my writing skills, creating stories and then the process of submitting and waiting by mailbox or computer to hear or read about the fate of a manuscript. Right now I feel like I am one of the lucky ones because I have a publisher interested in my first story, “How Far Is Heaven?” Dan Dunklee has been an outstanding publisher and supporter.

I also learned that it normally doesn’t happen overnight. Many years of blood, sweat, and tears go into a project.