For the past five years I have been attending the Los Angeles conference of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). Before that, I attended as often as I could, but had to miss a couple. I first went in 2007, and I thought I was just going to learn about the business. I did. But I also found my tribe.
The conference is three days of living and breathing children's literature. It's a time to connect with writers, both seasoned veterans and wide-eyed newcomers. And it's a place where you can learn more about your craft -- and in certain cases discover new pathways. Last year, I took myself way out of my comfort zone and decided to pose as an illustrator with my Duck Town pages. That personal challenge really forced me to put a lot of time and effort. It gave me a deadline -- more than that, it gave me a forum for others to see my work, and that terrified me (in a good way).
So, it's kind sad that I'm not in Los Angeles right now, mingling in my own awkward way with fellow writers, as well as artists, agents, and editors. But I keep imagining how excited I am going to be next year when I attend -- and I am DEFINITELY not missing 2017. My new book will be out, and I'll be showing off my new wares with the rest of the tribe.
Let's see... what else did we do today? We've started packing things up around Mom's house. We'll be leaving soon, and we don't want the house to be filthy! I will be sad to leave this weather and the green surroundings out Washington state. Due to the fires back in California, I am expecting that we will arrive to hillsides which look like piles of ash.
The coolest thing we did: We went bowling with my sister and my niece. Emily kicked our butts. Bowling has officially become a Bradford summer tradition. I think this was the third summer in a row in which we have bowled. Yep, that makes it official.
Now that I've received positive feedback from my agent about Duck Town, I've been focusing my thoughts on what I need to revise, and I've also been turning my creative attention to "Around the World in 80 Days." That's the show in which auditions happen on August 7th -- so I guess I better get my act together!