The Notes That Keep Me Going

Attending the SCBWI summer conference in Los Angeles was the best possible high, like cresting the pinnacle of a roller coaster with your hands in the air and screaming the entire descent. Only instead of feeling thrilled, shaken and slightly nauseous after disembarking, I left the conference feeling inspired, optimistic and empowered.

Alas, the energy high from attending a conference doesn’t last. Once I was back at the computer staring at the blank screen, my mind quickly returned to its favorite mantras of distraction, disgust and despair. If only there was an SCBWI conference elixir that allowed attendees to recapture that energetic rush with a single dose.

Thankfully, I have the next best thing, my notes. Since the conference, I’ve pored over them again and again. All the speakers had great advice, bits of wisdom and moving stories. Vanessa Brantley Newton reminded me of the importance of dreaming big, so big I should be terrified. Through my notes, she continues to help me realize that I’m not dreaming big enough.

Kat Yeh taught me the importance of being okay with a rough first draft. I read the notes from her talk before I start working on something new because this concept is a tough one for me to accept. My mind understands why it’s important to let the ideas flow and see where the story takes me, yet at the same time I find myself automatically self-editing. It’s a constant battle.

And those are just two examples of how my notes help me relive some of the conference magic and give me courage when I need it most. I can’t thank all the speakers enough for being willing to share their writing experiences and advice. And a huge thank you to SCBWI for being a steadfast source of information and inspiration.