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.