How A Writing Conference Gave Me My Confidence Back

I spent this past weekend in Los Angeles at my first ever writing conference. It was the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Annual Summer Conference, and I went in with no expectations.

I’ve been a member of the SCBWI for about a year now, and before the conference I had only attended one other event (a cool event where I found an amazing critique group to be a part of).

I didn’t expect that I would leave the conference with my creative confidence back.

But I did.

It wasn’t that any session taught me anything revolutionary. I learned a good amount that I can’t wait to implement into my writing craft, but it wasn’t anything that I was surprised by.

What was revolutionary (at least to me, personally) was the raw and honest keynote talks & panels. Authors and illustrators talked about their journeys to publication, and further proved that it takes perseverance and a vow to be true to yourself to make it in the publishing industry. Writing stories true to yourself means that your best work can show through and speak for itself.

Writing stories true to yourself means that your best work can show through and speak for itself.

Nova Ren Suma, author of The Walls Around Us gave me three ways to pull myself out of a rut. Judy Blume, author of ALL THE BOOKS, told me that writing saved her life and gave her a good life. Stephanie Garber, author of Caraval, gave me four tips for writing that included:

  • Write the book you’re brutally obsessed with.
  • Do the things you’re afraid of.
  • Let go.
  • Read widely.

It’s hard to put into words what this conference gave to me. I guess there’s just something to being around a thousand other people who are passionate about the same thing I am. Or maybe it’s the fact that these people aren’t afraid to be vulnerable with their stories.

Either way, I left with more than I could have expected.