Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What I learned at the SCBWI 2010 Summer Conference

Left to right: M.T. Anderson, Arthur A. Levine, and Me (Lee Wind)

I've long believed that having a career in the world of Children's literature meant nurturing oneself in three realms:




And I knew that the SCBWI Summer Conference would deliver that. And the editors, agents and authors did! Here are some highlights that will resonate with me for months to come:


Stephanie Lurie saying "I think digital could be the re-birth of the picture book."

Rubin Pfeffer suggesting that "Perhaps SCBWI should become an e-publisher."

David Diaz urging we writers and illustrators to hold on during all the current changes because "publishing will be HUGE - bigger than it has ever been before."

Alexis O'Neill's session on school visits showing me the steps of the path forward.

Bruce Hale's enthusiasm about Skype School visits!

All of it made me think and feel hopeful about our role as content creators in the future of children's literature.


M.T. Anderson's incredible session on experimental fiction techniques was, well... incredible. Who knew a poem could be just numbers? It blew my mind! Oh, and his Keynote on how "literature restores the sense of the unknown to the known!"

Paul Fleischman running down all the separate documents he keeps while writing - fascinating!

The writing exercise in Linda Sue Park's intensive that helped me see how character and setting can't be separated.


A Gail Carson Levine writing prompt that makes me want to write a new book.

Rachel Vail saying "Life or death moments are a dime a dozen in 7th grade" - and me nodding emphatically.

Gennifer Choldenko saying, "There is a kid out there who needs your book. Write for that kid." And me feeling that so strongly.

And yet, what I really understand now is that there is a fourth realm that is critical:


Hanging out and talking craft and life with Kathleen Duey.

Talking with Diane De Las Casas about School Visits and Facebook friends.

Asking Rilla Jagga if she really thinks people multi-task or if they just switch their attention back and forth really fast, and having her answer: "We are a single CPU Processor."

Listening to Lisa Yee speaking about Sid Fleischman so beautifully.

Ashley Bryan leading over 1,100 of us in chanting poems. Magical!

Standing with the rest of SCBWI Team Blog onstage during the Golden Kite Awards and hearing the appreciation for the work we do was remarkable and heady. I was (and remain) so grateful.

Gleefully celebrating with my friend Sara Wilson Etienne at the announcement of her 2 book deal the monday of the conference in Publishers Weekly!

Seeing my friend Rita Crayon Huang taking amazing photos throughout the conference - and even a new author photo for me!

The fun of dancing with friends new and familiar at the Gala Saturday night!

And maybe most exciting, me being on the Saturday "A Look at the GLBTQ Marketplace" panel and having the honor of hosting the "GLBTQ Lunchtime Chat by the Pool" on Friday.

And my epiphany about the conference is that it's here that I find that sense of community - that sense of not just having found my tribe, but of BELONGING to my tribe. And that makes being at the conference, hanging out in the hotel lobby, smiling at people I don't know on the escalators, and talking children's books with other passionate, smart, wonderful people so amazing. It's something we can't really convey digitally. Being there, in person, and feeling truly part of it all - the fabulous comraderie that, for me, makes the conference priceless!

Thank you to my SCBWI kid lit community. I'm so excited about the future, and so grateful to have been part of this conference.

And I already can't wait for the 2011 Winter Conference in New York!


ps - if you want more details on the sessions these amazing moments were from, check out my posts on the official SCBWI Conference Blog!


LSkeers said...

Great post! Really wish I could have been there... Thanks for sharing.

storyqueen said...

Dear Lee,

I really enjoyed reading your take on the sessions you attended at the Summer Conference.

Thanks for helping those of us at home feel a part of things.


Joey said...

Really appreciate all the info shared by yourself and the blog team. It eased the pain of not attending.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Really nice recap, Lee--thanks! I was thinking about going this year, but just couldn't quite swing it. Maybe next summer.

Oh, and I love the premise for your current WIP--sounds like a great project!

Laurie Young said...

I share your epiphany about community—I too, feel a sense of belonging to and finding my "tribe." You can start a conversation with ANYONE here, and learn something amazing. We all have stories to tell, and it's great to come together and affirm that for each other.

And thank you so much for the wonderful coverage, both on your blog and the scbwi blog—it fills in the gaps beautifully!

Linda Joy Singleton said...

Great article! My biggest memory of this conference was the wonderful companionship of friends and the fascinating discussions all about books. Not something you can do with non-writer friends. Great con!

Sara W.E. said...

Hear, hear! I love what you said about community! This weekend, I told someone I always felt awkward at parties... but at the conference I feel instantly comfortable because I can just start talking to anyone, already know what we have in common:) Yay! And thanks for the celebratory shout-out:)

Jay Asher said...

It was great to see you again, Lee. Catching up with you is always something I look forward to at SCBWI!

One day, that Volunteer of the Year award will be yours. You add so much to the organization.

Sherrie Petersen said...

The kidlit community is amazing, and for me, that's one of the best things about attending this conference. I'm so glad I got to spend some time hanging out with you this weekend, Lee. I'm proud to be part of your tribe :)

Lisa Yee said...

Always great to see you -- great job on the blogs!!!!

Cuppa Jolie said...

Oh, my friend. No wonder your banner makes you look Super Hero-esque! Not only did you manage to blog, but also to post something here each of the four days, AND this most lovely wrap up. I'm so happy to be able to call you my teammate and friend.

Amy-Baskin.blogspot.com said...

Lee, thank you for making me feel like I belong in the children's lit community. I'm so grateful that I met you under the GBLT tent at the '09 LA conference. I'll be forever grateful for your welcome.