This past weekend I attended my first writer's conference. Janna and I packed our bags, and after a woefully prolonged journey to NYC, we arrived to our hotel 13 hours late before collapsing into our beds. At 7AM, we picked up our Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators name badges and hit the first of a series of lectures and break-out sessions.
There were a few things that I heard for the first time, but much of it was information I already knew. Story structure, plotting, the importance of characters over plot to carry a story, the fact that we all "fail" many, many times in the process of producing successful work. But for some reason, there were many things in this list that felt refreshingly new to my mind. Maybe it was just the enthusiasm of the speakers, or the vibe of being surrounded by people who are chasing (and catching!) this same dream. Maybe it was the fact that sometimes you just have to listen to something over and over again to hear it for the first time. Whatever it was, I feel like this process now has a brighter outlook and a bit of a new beginning.
This thing "Writing" is a job and an art. It takes time, patience and crafting. I need to give it the full dedication any job deserves - preserved, scheduled and uninterrupted time. My calendar will now reflect this. No more writing whenever I can fit it in. My Writer's Habit starts today, and that alone fills me with excitement. I will also cut myself slack, knowing that many days I will produce text that will never be seen by anyone but me. There will be garbage. There will be total junk. But there will be good stuff. Hopefully really good stuff. Stephen King says you have to unearth a story like an archeological dig. Kate Messner says you have to throw a lot of pots to learn how to make one good one.
Let's get to work...