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Thursday, September 22, 2011

SCBWI Midsouth Conference Wrap Up

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of speaking at the SCBWI Midsouth conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The Midsouth region (Tennessee and Kentucky) is dear to my heart partly because I lived in Chattanooga for ten years, but also because they're a lot like my Southern Breeze region (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi). They have some incredibly awesome, talented and dedicated people running their region making it a tight-knit group of highly supportive folks. I've gotten to know many of them over the last few years when I spoke at the Southern Festival of Books, and well, frankly, I'd been dying to get up there for an actual conference.
     Their Regional Advisor Genetta Adair asked me to talk about "Technology and the Future of Reading," which I did on Sunday to a full room (and will do again at our upcoming Southern Breeze Fall conference in Birmingham). Saturday, I was on a panel, "To Published Work and Beyond," with fellow creators: Newbery winner Linda Sue Park; illustrator Robert Blake; former RA and author Tracy Barrett; and author Ruta Sepetys. I also gave manuscript critiques to five new writers - one of whom won a prize for her work (yay!). It was a busy weekend!
     Best of all, I got the chance to spend some quality time with the visiting speakers, including Alexandra Cooper (Senior Editor, S&S), Jim Hoover (Art Director, Viking), Emily Mitchell (Senior Editor, Charlesbridge), Michelle Poploff (VP/Exec.Editor Delacorte Press), and agents Tina Wexler (ICM) and Erin Murphy (Erin Murphy Literary). It's always a treat to get to know publishing folks behind the scenes, then also hear them speak about the work they love. I'm terrible with photos, but I did catch a few good quotes.
"If you want to get good at writing, you have to put in the time." - Linda Sue Park
     She said this in relation to how long doctors study to do what they do, and lawyers and construction workers. Anybody who is really good at what they do, has had to put in serious time. Considering I just reached the ten year point in this industry, that was especially profound to me.
"It's not about you, it's about the story."
     Another one from Linda Sue about getting out of your own way. Stop saying "I" and just concentrate on the story. More relevant advice that was timely for me.
     Along with hanging out with great people, I stopped in Chattanooga on my way home and drove by my old house. Not much has changed, and yet everything has. It was fun remembering and realizing how different my life is now - and how I never could have predicted it. I can't help but wonder what the next ten years hold!
     Meanwhile, I hope there will be more conferences like this one. Being surrounded by peeps (like Genetta, Sharon, Susan, Courtney, Kristen, JD, Candie, etc. etc.) talking about things we all love, well, it don't get no better than that!

2 comments:

Tracy Barrett said...

Great having you in the Midsouth! Come back soon!

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Would love to Tracy! :) e

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