Monday, August 13, 2007

Living vicariously

I've enjoyed reading the updates from those who attended the recent SCBWI LA conference. Couldn't get there myself this time, but hope to next year, or maybe the NY one in February.

Conferences are part of the lifeblood of many writers and now that I'm trying to make this a major part of what do (as I learn to introduce myself as someone who writes and also teaches as opposed to the other way around) I understand why.

Writing is such a strange, wonderful, but solitary activity. Your non writer friends don't really "get it" even if they try to. What do you mean you don't want to talk to me on the phone now? I've written letters and the occasional essay. How long could it take you?


And they see books on shelves but not the sweat that went into writing, revising, querying, editing, revising. Don't know that even if book A sells tomorrow it will still be twelve months or more before it ever hits a shelf somewhere. Or they see their friend or cousin or neighbor who printed up a book on Glockenspiels via POD (print on demand) and they think, huh? What the heck is taking this girl so long?

But at conferences, or on line at places like Verla Kay's "blue boards" or at critique group or SCBWI local meetings, everyone "gets it." Especially in the field of childrens books, it's a pretty small little world. So even though I've not yet been privileged to meet, say Holly Black or Sarah Dessen or Libba Bray, I read their blogs. I might get to hear them speak at a conference or a reading. And I know what a monumental and fantastic thing it is to see a trailer for the movie version of Holly Black's Spiderwick Chronicles. I know how much blood and sweat went into writing and into the living that came before the writing and inspired it. And I can follow the career of debut novelist Melissa Marr on the Verla Kay blue boards. So amazing to do the real time journey with someone as you read that they've sold a book. And watch all that occurs between that point and riding up the escalator at Barnes and Noble this summer and seeing Melissa's Wickled Lovely rise into view as I got to the second floor.

So thanks to everyone who's ever posted their experiences or talked about them at a conference. It makes those of us still climbing the ladder feel a little less lonely. Inspires us to keep pushing at the craft.

In any case, I'm gonna see my kid tomorrow on my mini vacation and I have a brand spanking new shiny storm door with unbroken glass. (and a garbage can holding - no joke - about 75 pounds of swept up broken glass) Still no bare feet around the outside of our house for awhile, or else we'll be... well, you know the song. Don't you?

Til next time...

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