In her keynote speech at NESCBWI, Sharon Creech mentioned, “Words generate words.” She was talking about the act of inspiration, and how ideas come to you, but I think this is also a good lens with which to look at rest of the weekend. Enthusiasm sparks more enthusiasm, creativity creates more creativity.
Which is one reason I like going to conferences like NESCBWI. When you put a bunch of writers and illustrators in a room, our excitement and dedication and talents are amplified, which is a pretty cool thing to be a part of. Writing can be a very solitary business and even though the internet has made it easier to connect with like-minded people, you can’t beat the feeling of gathering in one place for a weekend.
Last year was my first at NESCBWI, so I didn’t really know anyone and was afraid of not having anyone to talk to. This year, I felt like I kept seeing people I knew, both from real life and from social media. I wasn’t just someone at a conference; I was part of a community, a vibrant community that supports its members.
Of course, I got to experience lots of great panels and workshops and speeches from awesome writers and illustrators. A few conference highlights:
- Great keynotes by Sharon Creech and Grace Lin. I want to take a poetry class with Creech, who quotes Rilke and Robert Frost and Walter Dean Myers in her speech. Creech also mentioned the importance of taking naps for inspiration–duly noted! And Grace Lin was so dynamic and enthusiastic. Not being an illustrator or picture book author, I didn’t expect to connect with her speech as much as I did, but she was honest and thoughtful and energetic. Between her humor, her spirit, and her talent, Lin’s one of the coolest people ever. (And she dresses snazzy, too!)
- My critique group got matching t-shirts to celebrate member Tara Sullivan’s upcoming publication of Golden Boy. We rocked the guerrilla marketing.
- Very cool panel about the review process. Leila Roy of bookshelves of doom represented, which made me go all fangirl. Her blog has been a favorite since back before I knew I wanted to focus solely on writing YA. Also, very glad to hear that professional reviews really want to love every book they start, and that they want to find ways to connect books with potential readers.
- Workshopping first chapter/pages with Nova Ren Suma. She led a great session, and the other workshop attendees were all thoughtful critiquers. (Lots of us are trying to keep in touch online; can’t wait to see how all those first pages end up!)
- Great session on writing characters outside of your culture. It’s something several future novel ideas of mine involve, but I want to make sure I represent these characters and their backgrounds accurately and thoughtfully. One suggestion I liked was not to be afraid to go beyond the “romantic” parts of a culture, like holidays and folk traditions–get into the messiness of real life.
- On the social media side, one session about connecting with book bloggers (something I need to prepare for in the debut process) and making videos (something I should be doing now). My goal is to start a regular video feature here, so get ready for some visual aid.
- Getting to spend a weekend with my awesome critique group members, getting to see other friends and making new ones.
Thanks so much to this year’s organizers for putting on a great conference. I’m already thinking of next year when might book might be out, too. Eee!
For more conference recap goodness, check out these other posts. If you went to NESCBWI this year and have a recap post/thoughts about the conference, please share in the comments.
11 thoughts on “Blue Shirts, First Chapters, and Naps for Writers: the 2013 NESCBWI Conference”
Great recap! I meant to ask someone about those blue shirts–what a great idea! So glad to have met you in person. Looking forward to next year already!
So glad we got to meet! Hopefully we can catch up soon–definitely before 2014. 🙂
Great wrap up! It was a fantastic conference. 🙂
Agreed! And I love how everyone’s recaps are so much about how awesome the people are.
Awesome recap! So psyched to see those first chapterers continue. 🙂
Me too! Thanks so much for organizing all the first chapter group stuff. 🙂
Thanks for posting this. Loved all of your recaps, and am sure I met many of you in the elevator at one point or another. It was great, wasn’t it? I’ve got a thank you to EVERYONE on my blog at http://www.lesliebulion.com/blog.htm?post=910291
Thanks, Leslie! Loved your recap. I know I saw you during the conference, and I kept trying to figure out if we’d met before (maybe at NESCBWI 2012?).
Great recap! I’m so glad we met this weekend. I’m excited for next year’s conference, and to read your book!
I just posted my recap. 🙂 http://ghenetmyrthil.com/2013/05/09/nescbwi-2013-conference/
Thanks Ghenet! Awesome recap too. 🙂 So great to meet you, and hope to see you again before next year’s conference!