Friday, May 10, 2013

Storyteller's Journey

Springfield, MA - Free Public Domain Photo
Inspiration in Springfield

Attending the New England SCBWI Conference last weekend was a learning experience on multiple levels. Beyond the great information I received in the workshops, just traveling alone so far from my home was a bit of a challenge as well. Thankfully, the members of NESCBWI that I met were so friendly and helpful that it made my visit something I'll always remember. (The Sheraton Hotel where the conference was held is in the middle of the photo - the tan building with the dark band at the top few floors.)

Author, Sharon Creech
One of the main reasons I chose to travel so far to this conference was the chance to hear Newbery Medal winner, Sharon Creech...boy, am I glad I did. Listening to Ms. Creech describe how she approaches her writing from a somewhat organic place was music to my ears! She was quick to remind the attendees in the workshop that she was a professor of literature prior to becoming a writer, so she already had a great understanding on the craft of writing.

Author, Grace Lin

When I first began to write seriously I decided to begin blogging. I researched blogs of published authors and discovered the blog of Grace Lin, and in so doing, discovered her book: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - a Newbery Honor book. The book was, and is magical. I became a huge fan not only of her work, but of her level of professionalism and warmth online. When the opportunity to hear her speak at the NESCBWI Conference came up my husband said, "Go hear Grace Lin! I've heard you go on and on about her; it's about time you actually meet her." Well, my husband doesn't understand how SCBWI conferences work - one does not just meet a keynote speaker in person. But, guess what? After her keynote address I was wandering around the foyer outside of the Ball Room and who should walk toward me but none other than Grace Lin! I did actually meet her and had a lovely chat. She seemed genuinely touched that hearing her speak was a big reason why I had travelled so far from the Pacific Northwest to the conference.

I know that some writers might see my desire to hear accomplished authors speak as a somewhat "groupie" mentality. However, for me, I seem to learn as much (if not more) from hearing keynote addresses as I do from laboring over dozens of books on the craft of writing. Because, like Sharon Creech, I write from an organic place. Thanks to the New England chapter of SCBWI for putting on one whale of a conference!

                                              *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Care to share any of your experiences in attending writer events?


  1. That's not a groupie mentality. I have several authors I know through writer's websites that I have learned so much from. I know that hearing them speak would not only be entertaining but enlightening. I'm so glad you were able to get to meet and learn from some of your favorites!

    1. Thanks, Sara. Whenever I hear an author speak in person, invariably I'll pick up some little tidbit that is just what I needed. The NESCBWI Conference was no exception. Have a great weekend!

  2. It was such a nice surprise to meet you! I respect the writers you feature here immensely. They did and do what we strive for. Nothing wrong with that! While we feel like fans, there's also something democratizing about these conferences.