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This is the blog of children's book author and third grade teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Reflections on #LA16SCBWI: A Walk Down a Road

I arrived home late last night from the LA conference of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and planned to write up my conference notes for you this morning. A blog snafu forced me to delete the post so I decided to take a walk instead.


As I walked down this almost always empty road, it started to remind me of writing. Most of the time the act of being a writer or an illustrator is a lonely act. Even if you like to do your art in a public space, the act of creating places you in your head and separate from the world around you, kind of like this road. If you keep traveling, you reach beauty in the form of a river. From this side of the road that river is easy to see and flows all around you. Someone even left a set of chairs so that you can sit in your thoughts and create.


But across from this silent space of road and river, there is a parallel road that has constant traffic. It's loud and noisy and though you can see the river, it's somewhat further away. This road reminds me of an international writer's conference.


The quickest way to get to the busier street is by taking a road that has a bunch of blind spots. The cars go fast and some watch out for you, but many speed by wrapped up in their own connections.



Whether you travel across the country to come to your first writer's conference, like my new friends Meg and Annmarie, or you take a train to NYC like I did when I first joined, you are definitely taking a somewhat scary way down the road. You are going on faith that this group will support you and watch out for you until you find the path. But once you are there, with your new found tribe, the things that scare you are forgotten as you take it all in. You're both better when you are back on your own and the next time you decide to venture forward. You're among friends.


One of my main takeaways from this particular conference was to remember that you are the only one who has the story that you need to tell. Your life experiences make you the writer and illustrator that you'll turn out to be. Whether you passed someone in the hall and spoke a couple of words, or you spent every meal with them, they are now part of your story and you will forever be changed by knowing them. And at SCBWI, that means you will be shaped and changed by an incredible group of people.




For actual highlights of the conference and summaries of the workshops, read through my twitter feed, visit the official SCBWI conference blog, or visit the blog of Kim Sabatini.  If you were one of the many people I met this year in LA, please say hello in the comments. If you weren't there, you can also say hello. Hopefully I'll meet you in the future.

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