When it came time for our first speaker (lucky for us, it was none other than the sensational LIN OLIVER!), I was downright giddy. I'd met up with my pal, Elizabeth Stevens Omlor (yes, that one!), had a delicious pastry, and I was sitting with my incredible critique group. Now all that was needed was for Ms. Oliver to pass all her knowledge onto me- I mean, us. She spoke about very poignant things that are vital to writers, and gave fantastic examples and quotes that will stick with me forever.
However, in the beginning she spoke about how she got into writing, and how she eventually started SCBWI. She mentioned how she'd written letters to some pretty famous writers (one even being THE Dr. Seuss!) asking their advice after she'd gotten a job writing a bunch of children's stories. She had the audience guess how many writers actually got back to her... Want to know? Every. Single. One.
Cue light bulb moment for Bethany.
"We in the writing community are nice. Plain and simple." she said.
I wrote down a bunch of notes, but I don't remember much of her speech after that. And here's why:
I have been in many situations where I felt sub par. I've felt like the underdog. I've worried about fitting in. But I can honestly say, I have never met a children's book writer who has ever treated me with anything but encouragement, honesty, love, and a whole lot of smiles. I can't say that there are too many industries out there today that are like ours. And maybe that is why at my very first conference, I felt so comfortable and at ease. It wasn't overconfidence (I swear!), it was the few hundred people in the room showing me that I had an entire supportive army standing behind me, should I ever need to call on them. And what made me feel the greatest? I was standing behind them.
My question this week is sort of a twofer (two-for? How do we use the slang, here? Hmmm...). And since we are all so nice, please make sure to not name names or get too specific with the second question:
What is it about the writing community
that you value most?
Have you ever encountered a rude writer
that left you discouraged?
As you go today, I'm going to challenge you... Encourage ONE person. Just one, to keep going. Our community is vast, but tight knit as well... But it can't stay that way if we don't continue to hold one another up.