Recent Writers Conferences

After spending the last two weekends at writers conferences (a different one on each weekend), I’m grateful for a weekend “off.”

So yesterday I plunged into my garden, waging war with the weeds that were about to engulf all those lovely spring flowers. After a morning of hacking and hoeing, dirt under my fingernails, and aching muscles where I didn’t know I had muscles, I claimed victory over lunch with The Music Man (aka my beloved husband who’d spent the morning alternating between playing the guitar and mowing).

“Done! I beat the weeds back. At least for today,” I exclaimed enthusiastically with my mouth full of chips. His response? Wait for it. “But Sweetie, if all the weeds are gone, where’s the conflict?” Now that’s a writer’s husband, isn’t it? Gotta love him. He listens.

Last night, I gathered my courage and read a four-minute piece of the second chapter of my YA novel to a group of writers. It was a first for me, but I figured it was good practice for the day I have my first book launch (positive thinking!). I think they liked it. They clapped. Good sign, right? We can only hope.

But I digress from the amazing writers conferences I attended. Over the weekend of April 20-22, I attended the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Western WA conference in Redmond, WA. Wow! What an incredible and inspirational experience. They really know how to host a conference. I came away encouraged about my novel, with several of the agents encouraging me to query them. They liked the premise. It’s a good first step. The speakers fueled my soul and sparked my imagination. Theme for me? Write with deep emotion. Make my reader laugh and cry. Tug at their heart with my characters. Pull from my own emotional experiences and let my characters express it…raw, ugly or beautiful.

A balloon parade opened the SCBWI-WWA conference!

And how could you not love a conference that started with a balloon parade? That charmed me from the start! This conference confirmed my lifelong love of kid lit.

Last weekend, I participated in the NW Travel + Words Conference in Port Townsend. This was a smaller group of about 50 travel writers and destination marketing professionals. The speakers had great tips about freelancing, querying editors and how to make a living as a travel writer. Cool! Travel more. Be inspired. Write like crazy.

Mantra from both conferences? Don’t give up. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Stay open to what life throws at me and translate it into words evoking emotion. A good article inspires as much as a good novel.

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