The Oregon SCBWI Spring conference was last weekend. As is often the case I went in with mixed feelings. It’s no secret that creatively things have been rough over here. I’m really struggling. Not surprising that creativity would flee in the face of grief, but discouraging and frustrating nonetheless.
I am honoring this space of grieving, but I refuse to wallow and stay stuck here. I am forcing small steps forward and being open to the Divine breadcrumbs that will lead me to the next vision for my life.One of those baby steps was to sign up for this conference several months ago and send one of my nonfiction pieces in for a critique with an editor from Viking.
As the conference approached I felt more and more apprehensive, even to the point of dread. I am not in a place of confidence right now, neither personally nor in my writing, and conferences take a lot of confidence–whether it’s hobnobbing socially, networking with industry colleagues and professionals, or pitching your work to an editor or agent. Frankly, it’s exhausting when I’m at my best, so the thought of attempting it when I feel so very beaten down, had me verging on panic at times.
I decided instead of going in with only the hope of a book offer, which let’s be honest is what we all hope is the outcome of these things, I would make myself a list of alternate goals. Here’s what I came up with:
- Make connections in the nonfiction writing community.
- Spread the word regarding my critique and coaching services.
- Get more involved with the Oregon SCBWI chapter.
- Be open and allow connection and relationships with my fellow writers.
- Practice courage.
Well, I did it. I was able to meet every goal and then some. Practicing openness. Allowing goodness to come and being brave enough to meet opportunities when presented. That’s all it takes.
Here are some of the highlights from the conference.
I went to a workshop by Peter Brown. He talked about his process. It was totally inspiring. I learned that working digitally doesn’t mean giving up actual paint on my hands.
He also shared how he found his own “voice” in his art. He took something that is so nebulous and abstract and approached it in a very methodical and organized manner, something I totally appreciate. Super excited to try some of his techniques.
Some of my favorite Richard Peck quotes:
“The people I’ve met that I’d never have known.” (Regarding the best part of being a writer).
“It was the dream of my life to be a writer and it came true.”
“If I could have said the things I wanted to, to the people close to me, I wouldn’t have needed to write.”
It was such an honor to meet this man and hear him speak. He is a legend in the children’s book world and rightly so.
So many Divine breadcrumbs presented themselves at this conference and I was open enough to see them and then brave enough to follow them. They are leading me somewhere. I don’t know where yet, but I’m tentatively excited and cautiously hopeful. Hard things for me to admit or embrace.
So, my fellow creatives, I encourage you to push up against those comfort boundaries, ever so slightly, and see what happens. Also, next time you go to a conference or workshop don’t go passively. Make yourself some goals and then be open and ready for what happens next.