We had quite a response from the Listserv thread about SCBWI Conference success stories. It’s encouraging to know that fellow SCBWIers are achieving goals as well as getting support that only other writers can give. I cannot speak enough to the benefits of attending a conference, be it one of the local chapter events or the large Annual Winter and Summer Conferences in New York City and Los Angeles. I have not had the chance to attend at New York or Los Angeles, but I have never been disappointed at the SCBWI Canada East Art of Story events. There are opportunities for critiques by professionals in the field, such as agents, editors and other published writers. It is a time for networking and learning what the market trends are.I remember my first conference. At first I felt out of place, like I hadn’t earned the right to attend. I had only realized that I was a writer a few years before that. And aside from a correspondence course, I had no formal training in creative writing. I knew there would be published writers there. In fact, I assumed that everyone there was some sort of professional. I thought that my goal of being a published writer was a pipe dream.I arrived at a large conference and was instantly intimidated. It may not have been packed, but it felt like it. I was sure that everyone knew I was a Newbie, judging me as a “Wannabe” and a “Poser.” I timidly walked to the registration table. To my shock, no one questioned my motive or my status. I had never felt so welcomed or accepted as a writer. I was given my registration with a smile and everyhing was explained.I took a seat at the very back and waited to be amazed. I was not disappointed. I learned from every speaker. I found out I was not alone. Many had not yet been published. But more importantly, they were there to learn and to improve their craft. I had paid for a professional critique and was told that my idea was sound and given suggestions as to how to improve the story. I suddenly knew that I was not a poser but I am a writer. I have not looked back.I am still not published. but every time I speak to a fellow SCBWIer, I am encouraged and renewed. I am a writer. I write because I have something to say.If you haven’t been to a conference, I strongly encourage you to go. It is an investment in your dreams, which can never be a bad thing.The next SCBWI Canada East Conference is being held in Montreal May 24 to 26. I hope to see you there.
April 3, 2019