NESCBWI Conference~Keeping It Real!

This is how it went:

I was home for the ninth day in a row with my children, watching via social media everyone getting ready for the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference.  My littlest was laying on the couch burning a fever, date night was canceled, and the plumber just left with bad news.  I was starting to feel a tad sorry for myself when I devised a plan.

I would simply get up at 4:30 am, drive to Springfield, Massachusetts, and spend the day. It’s genius.  I know!  So that’s what I did.  I shot out of bed, grabbed coffee, stuck on my YA book on CD, and went on my way.  Three and half hours later I arrived in Springfield.  The hotel was quiet, because the keynote had already started, but I registered (See my impromptu name tag) and slipped into the world of writers.

Some observations:

I’ve never actually arrived at a conference in full tilt.  It’s kind of weird.  The participants are on this creativity high.   The first person I spoke to, don’t know her name, clutched my elbows together and squealed, “I just need to tell somebody, I got a full request from an agent!”

This energy reminds me of whitewater kayaking.  Imagine this, you sitting in a boat about to tip into the rapids.  The trees are above you and you simply need to push off, but it’s scary.  Once in the water, the squirly waves pull this way and that.  There is this moment of plunging and then flying into the sky before whipping your body behind a rock to take it all in.  Here, in this quiet you’ll find a moment to experience all that this river has to offer.

The conference was really the same.  Participants were riding waves of true greatness.  Friends of mine were speaking and basking in the glow of their first published book.  The winds of opportunity whistled through the Sheraton.  At moments, I felt the need to find a still eddy and simply listen.  Listen to Kate Messner talk about speaking at the Ted Conference.  Listen to Harry Bliss discuss his inspirations for The New Yorker covers.  Wow!  Like a river that should be on your kayaking list, this conference is not to be missed.

My favorite:

I stole this picture with permission from Jo’s site because I think it sums up the conference so perfectly.  Each author holding their new books, signing away.  Love that.

Some thoughts on Lynda and Jo…

Getting to hear Jo Knowles speak for the second time in two months was a treat.  She taps into the revision part of my brain that can be a tag sluggish.  I recommend that if you haven’t already checked out her books, you do so quickly.  They are amazing.

Lastly, I’m so happy that I made this trip to see Lynda Mullaly Hunt speak about her debut novel One for the Murphys.  Lynda is such an inspiration to me.  She is not only one of the nicest people you could meet in the writing world, but she is this really amazing cheerleader for all of us writers in the trenches.

Final thoughts:

The ride home was long,  but during my three and half hours I had time to think about jumping into a conference head first.  It’s a long day (almost twenty hours for me!) but its totally worth it.  Go open-minded and ride the energy of success.   Have a few drinks with friends and reconnect with people in the industry.  Make new friends!  This business is simply too difficult to go it alone.

(Confession: This totally took me more than 15 minutes to write)

About julietruekingsley

Crazed writer living on the coast of Maine! Attempting to blog daily in fifteen minutes or less.
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22 Responses to NESCBWI Conference~Keeping It Real!

  1. Pingback: Julie True Kingsley: NESCBWI Conference~Keeping It Real! « NESCBWI Kidlit Reblogger

  2. Great post, Julie! So glad you made the trek! And you’re right Linda Mullaly Hunt is one of the nicest people–her book sold out before I could buy it! I’ve got to get my hands on that book, and then stalk, I mean, track her down…

  3. anniecardi says:

    Glad to hear you made it to NESCBWI! Totally agree about the whitewater feeling–it’s exhilarating and exhausting and awesome. I didn’t get to hear Jo Knowles (maybe next time) but I got to hear Lynda speak on the debut novelist panel, and she (and the others) were great.

  4. Mary Pierce says:

    You are an ispiration, Julie. Bold and unafraid. Great blog post!

  5. I’m so glad you came! As this year’s director I can definitely identify with the whitewater rafting feeling. Happily, I got to attend many of the sessions… and I was so glad we were able to welcome walk-ins. I’m happy to hear that you made the trek out!

  6. Julie! Turning around and seeing you on Saturday–after thinking you weren’t coming–was such a wonderful surprise. I’m so glad that you made the trip! Thanks so much for this, Julie–you’re so sweet! It’s easy to cheer on people like you. One day soon, you will be a debut author, too, and I know that you will do the same!!! xoxo

  7. joymcdee says:

    Great post Julie. Wish I could have been there!

  8. Wow. I thought I was tired. That is a seriously LOOOOONG day!

    It was nice to arrive at my workshop and find your smiling face there to greet me, Julie!

    I was caught off guard about Lynda’s book too. I thought it didn’t come out until May so I never went to the store to look for it. By the time I realized… it was GONE. I think maybe I’ll have to stalk her for an autograph, too. Either that or I’ll just FB message her! ;-)

  9. Michelle,

    Did I look like I’d been there forever? I’m really best at those impromtu volunteer gigs! Are you writing like a madwoman this week? I am. It’s time to forge ahead. Keep me posted on the progress. I’d love to hear.


  10. Pugalicious Press says:

    When I first found out you weren’t coming I was so sad. Then “tada,” you showed up! I was so glad you came to the conference. Next year, just sign up!

  11. Pugalicious Press says:

    This is Joyce, by the way!

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