I lay in bed Sunday night, having returned home from the SCBWI Western Washington conference, and tried to sleep. My head buzzed. Not from the drive home on I5 from Seattle to Portland, or from caffeine, but from ideas swirling and mixing, colliding together. There’s nothing like getting a group of people who are passionate about what they do, presenting their strategies, concepts and insights to a group of people who are equally passionate about the same subject. As an attendee, you come away inspired, awed and somewhat cowed by the sheer talent and prowess, but ultimately encouraged and revitalized. (P.S. Check out the SCBWI Western WA Chinook Update blog for more information on all the presentations at the conference.)
The guy I most wanted to see and hear from was Peter Brown, author of CHOWDER, THE FABULOUS BOUNCING CHOWDER and THE CURIOUS GARDEN (all by Little Brown, BFYR). I was lucky to attend several of his sessions at the conference and his keynote at the end was a knockout. He spoke about his goal from the age of 7 to become a children’s book author and illustrator and proceeded to outline his “Plan” to do just that. At turns hysterical and wise, he gave us the outline for his success (THE CURIOUS GARDEN spent many weeks on the NY Times bestseller list). The takeaway for me was to “work hard and smart”; fill your life with activities and friends to help balance all the hard work and to think holistically about career and life. Thanks, Peter Brown!
I was excited to learn that a writing sample I had offered up for critique during the “First Pages, Picture Books” breakout session was included in the Most Promising Works-In-Progress. It’s wonderful to receive such encouragement from professionals in the children’s book publishing world.