Megan: Dispatch from NESCBWI

Friday morning a lovely drive westward on a gorgeous, puffy cloud in blue sky kind of a day turned a bit more harried when I realized I'd grabbed our family library bag instead of the tote bag with all of my gear for the NESCBWI conference. I turned around and rushed back to my house ("You're home!" my two year-old daughter gleefully exclaimed, then, with more suspicion, "Take your coat off."), then raced (legally, of course) to Springfield. I made it just in time for the workshop I was presenting with Erin Dionne, "Shifting Genre, Maintaining Brand."

That hectic pace has kept up for the entire weekend, as I glide from one amazing workshop to inspiring keynote to socializing with friends new and old. My mind is about as wild as my hair this morning (I'd like people to note it's terrific volume, while ignoring the frizz), and so I thought I would pull out a few inspirational or thought-provoking quotes and ideas from the sessions I attended.

  • "I was prepared." - Jane Yolen was the opening speaker, talked about the importance of showing up for work. It is not luck that great stories are written, the writer must be prepared. She likened the experience to a birder being ready to see the birds.
  • "There was a time when I was not brave." - Peter Reynolds. He spoke about how he writes with purpose, and his idea of a "sotry as philosophy agent": your story should serve your philosophies.
  • "If a kid is ready, they will understand it. If they aren't ready, but are feeling it, they will get that feeling from the book." - Aaron Starmer on how children react to new ideas and content in books (ideas and content that adults might deem troubling).
  • "Kids need books. That 12 year-old needs that book [the book telling an authentic 12 year-old experience]. Find a way to write it true to 12, but make it palatable." - Kate Milford, addressing the need to write authentic 12-14 year olds in a world where kids read-up.
  • "The world is full of books. It's not enough to create something. ... What is that you have to say that no one else in this room has to say?" - Laurel Snyder
 I've been a member of SCBWI for about 6 years now, but a combination babies, conflicts, and not getting it together in time have meant that this is the first NESCBWI conference I've attended. It's been invaluable, and I look forward to attending again in the future.The conference continues through the rest of today, and indeed I am about to run out the door to absorb even more.


  1. Thanks so much for passing along those little tidbits, Megan. I'm so in need of inspiration right now. Deadline looming.

  2. Megan, thanks for sharing with us! What great speakers. How I love the wonderful Jane Yolen!!!


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