I spent the last three days in New York at the SCBWI Winter Conference. It was awesome.
The best thing about the weekend was that I finally got to meet my writing group girls in person. They were everything I'd hoped and more. We spent pretty much the whole weekend together going to classes, watching speakers, having a group critique session (which was awesome--I'll share details in a few days), eating, and sleeping (and talking in our sleep).
Here we are:
We also ran into a few familiar blog faces like Frankie from Frankie Writes and the lovely Carrie Harris.
The best thing about the conference wasn't the AMAZING speakers (though there were several that were incredible) or the great information (though I learned a LOT), it was the time I got to spend with friends and be among over 1000 people who were passionate about writing.
Over the next few weeks I want to share some of the things I learned at the conference. I'm not going to give any rundowns about what the speakers said, because you can find all of that at the SCBWI Conference Blog (which is packed with fabulous information). I'm going to share what I got from the experience.
If you asked each of the 1000+ writers and illustrators at the event what they felt the main message of the weekend was, I wouldn't be surprised if you got 1000+ different answers. But, I came away with one very solid impression about how to make my writing better.
Write what YOU write.
We listened to a lot of editors, writers and agents talk about the current trends in publishing. They told us about what is selling and what isn't, but they'd always, always followed this up by saying: DO NOT WRITE FOR THE TRENDS. If you write what you love (and what you're good at) your chances of making it in the business are so much better than if you write what you think editors are buying.
I need to be more confident in what I write. I admire so many writers in so many genres and I often wish I could write fantasy, or brilliant literary fiction, or picture books, or dystopian YA. But I love middle grade fiction. It is what I write well. My characters don't go to wizarding schools, they aren't vampires, and they don't speak in chatty teen slang, but they are unique and relatable and I hope someday people will love them.
What do you write well?