Monday, February 22, 2010
What I Learned at my Writer's Conference
This weekend was my third time at the fabulous Asilomar Writer's Conference. I love spending several intense days among all of the people who are passionate about creating amazing books for kids and teens. Here (in no particular order) are the things that come to the top when I think about what I learned:
* That Greg Pincus is the hardest-working social media guru around and that Gary Schmidt doesn't have an agent or website and types everything out on a typewriter.
* That conference organizers wouldn't set up a cage fight between the two.
* When a speaker is onstage, they will have you believing completely in their point of view. And that if you see Gary Schmidt speak, have a pocket full of Kleenex.
* If you get to see Yuyi Morales in person, buy a book and get her to sign it because she will draw you a beautiful original picture in the front flap with silver ink.
* That not only is Sarah Davies an awesome agent, but her British accent makes even bad news sound classy.
* Ellen Klages is cool.
* If you see a writer reaching for the bourbon at the "room party", that's the person you should go and talk to.
* People make fun of you if you bring a wine "cube" to the room party. Drink it anyway.
* No amount of coffee can make up for two consecutive nights of four hours sleep.
* That there is always someone in the audience who thinks that agents are evil and unnecessary. The agents on the panel are always gracious, even though that person is wrong. Unless they are Gary Schmidt.
* Unlike writers of the past, many conference attendees (and a few presenters) will get up early and go running on the beach in the rain. You must try not to resent their athletic efforts.
* The seminar that you think will be the most boring with the least to offer will usually end up being your favorite.
* There are very few degrees of separation in the world. You might find out over lunch that editor Tracy Gates went to college with your conference roomate. Always watch what you say.
* You will be sad as you drive away, but stopping at the outlet mall on the way home will make you feel better.
* There are only 362 more days until next year's conference. Yay!
On this date: In 1980, the US Hockey Team's miracle on ice.