The thought of going to a writer’s conferences can make writers quake with fear:

  • What should I wear…? Are jeans too casual, a suit to formal, yoga pants…?
  • What do I bring…something completely polished, something I want a critique on, or something I’m just starting to work out the idea on…?
  • Who should I talk to…? Editors, agents, authors…and what should I say?
  • Will I seem too pushy if I approach an agent, too shy if I hang back, too confident if I read my work, too insecure if I just listen?
  • Should I go to the talks by the professionals, or sign up for critique sessions…?

The list could go on and on. But let me remind all the new writers/conference attendees…you are in the same boat with a whole lot of people who are worried about the exact same things. Think of this as your opportunity to connect with other like-minded people. Other writers, agents and editors are book lovers and that’s something you have in common. So, strike up a conversation about your favorite book, author or publishing house. You are sure to get others engaged in the discussion.

And, remember, children’s book writers and illustrators are some of the nicest people there are. Plus, there’s always a lot of good food. Just look at this food art. It was like a smiling plate of fruit that greeted me the very first morning of the Oregon SCBWI Spring Conference.


And even the professionals admitted that writing…and getting published, is complicated.


But it sure doesn’t hurt to sit around with a bunch of other writers and listen to inspiring words from people who have made it to the top…like Victoria Jamieson with her AWE…mazing Rollergirl.


Or…having an opportunity to get your book signed by your favorite author


And chat with a Newbery Honor Award winner.

All-in-all, an SCBWI conference is the perfect place to work on the craft of writing, to listen to others who know what they are talking about, and to make new friends.

So, if you love to write, and you want to see your words on a written page, BE BRAVE and come to a conference. You don’t want to miss out. And, there is a whole lot to gain from the experience  – but you have to be brave…because we all know that most writers are shy…but take that first step and you’ll be on the path to publication.