Last Saturday I attended the annual Spring Thaw Conference held by my local chapter of the SCBWI for the first time. As a writer, I am at a loss for words as to how valuable the day was.

At first I felt out of place. It was not because everyone wasn’t friendly, because they were. I don’t often go to conferences or classes on my own, but don’t really “hang out” with any authors or writers. My crit group is awesome, but they are online and many states away. It was a bit overwhelming to sit at a table with several published authors and  illustrators. All of them were so kind and generous with advice, they really made me feel at home

Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser – the founders of the SCBWI were the speakers. They have forgotten more about writing than most people learn I am absolutely certain. Both have different styles and gave us tips, quips and stories to take home to encourage us all and help us become better writers. The are bright, funny, entertaining and really interesting to listen to.

Lin spoke briefly with me afterwards and encouraged me to “put a stamp” on my picture book manuscript and get it out there! I followed her advice (electronically) and submitted it to an agent tonight who will hopefully fall in love with my character and story and decide to pick it up. Keep fingers, toes and anything else crossed that you can for the safe journey and landing of my story.

I have ideas running around in my head for a couple more picture books that I want to get the rough drafts typed up. Maybe there is an usable idea for a middle grade novel rattling around in the vast emptiness of my head also. Will keep you posted if I can shake it loose.