One Writer’s Journey

May 18, 2018

Writing Retreat: See You on Monday

It has been a while since I got to go to writer’s retreat.  As much as I love events that focus on writing, retreats are my favorite.

A big part of it is that I get my own room.  I know – it sounds trivial, doesn’t it?  But I’m an introvert who works at home.  I’m used to a certain amount of time without other people around.  Workshops, conferences, and retreats are great for all the ideas and information that come my way, but they are also tough because of the amount of time I’m around other people.

But at this particular event participants get their own rooms.  This means that I can go in my room and work without interruption.  If I don’t care if someone interrupts me, I can prop my door open.  There are also plenty of public places where you can situate yourself if you want to chat.

Pacing yourself is hugely important for an introvert at an event.

Other than that, I’d recommend that you take Judy Blume’s words of wisdom to heart.  Most of us go to an event knowing that we need help with something specific.  It might be the pacing of a manuscript or knowing how to approach an editor.  Get the help you need but don’t forget to just listen.  There is so much wisdom to be had if you poised to hear it.

And if you aren’t hearing what you need?  Ask questions.

Pacing yourself doesn’t just mean spending time in your room.  It also means interacting with your fellow participants.  I’ve worked for Children’s Writer newsletter and RedLine Editorial because of connections that I made at writing events.  Get to know people and you will have connections that can help you get your foot in the door.

Have a great weekend and next week I’ll share some of what I learn this weekend.



September 28, 2015

Recharging Your Creative Battery: Attend a Conference or other event

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:11 am
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Saturday, I had a great chance to recharge my battery.  I went to the Missouri Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) fall conference. Yes, it is work related.  No, I don’t get to honor my introvert self by avoiding people, but I get to do something even better than that — I get to spend all day with people who love children’s literature as much as I do.girl in water Christopher Campbell

If you’ve never been to a children’s writing event, I’d like to encourage you to find one near you.  Check out the list of (SCBWI) events here.  You’re going to see different types of events listed.  Not every even is right for every writer so choose carefully.  Here are a few of the most common:

A conference is often a larger event.  Some are single day.  Some are multiday.  There is usually more than one speaker.  The SCBWI winter conference in New York focuses on marketing.  The SCBWI LA conference each summer focuses on craft.  Some conference are simply for information gathering.  You go, you sit, you take notes.  Other conferences feature workshops . . .

A workshop is very different from a conference in that this isn’t simply a session where you sit and take notes.  This is a session where you do.  A workshop on dialogue when involve writing new dialogue or improving on existing dialogue.  Some sessions might involve writing exercises.  Others might involve improving a manuscript you’ve already written.

A retreat is generally an overnight event. Some writing retreats feature speakers who lead sessions on craft.  Some simply offer time to write or to interact with your fellow writers.  The venue can be elegant — I’ve stayed in some very stately B&Bs — or rustic.

Read the details of any event you are considering carefully.  A single day event can be easiest to work into your schedule. When it comes to multiday events, I have to admit that I prefer retreats to conferences, but only you can know what is the right event for you and when is the best time for you to recharge.

Check back throughout the week for more of what I learned at the conference.  For more on recharging, see yesterday’s post at the Muffin.


May 14, 2015

Conferences and other Writing Events

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:08 am
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MissouriKim Piddington, the Missouri Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Regional Advisor, is always planning something new to benefit the writers and illustrators of Missouri.  Here are a few upcoming dates.  For more information on each as it comes available, check out the Missouri SCBWI calendar.

The 2015 Fall Conference will be held09/25/2015 – 09/26/2015 at Lindenwood University’s Spellman Center.  Speakers include author/illustrator EB Lewis, agents Brianne Johnson(Writers House) and Kirsten Hall (Catbird Agency), editors Connie Hsu (Roaring Brook ) and Kate Sullivan (Delacorte).

Retreat dates, for events to be held at Conception Abbey, are as follows:

  • June 10-12, 2016
  • September 16-18, 2016
  • April 28-30, 2017
  • September 15-17, 2017

No editors or other speakers have been lined up yet for the retreats but Kim has already sent out several e-mails and is hoping to have details soon.

Mark your calendars and get ready to learn something new about writing and illustrating for children.


April 23, 2010

And They’re Off . . . Is a Retreat Right for You?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 3:17 am
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This is going to be a short post because I’m leaving for my retreat at Missouri’s Trout Lodge.  Friday Evening to Sunday afternoon spent with Charlesbridge editor Randi Rivers and just over 10 other writers.  Hurray for me!

What is the difference between a retreat and a workshop or conference?  Is it just the overnight stay?

To me, a workshop means writing exercises and hands on.  A conference features more speakers and less actual writing but there may be some.  Often there is a choice of sessions.   or retreat can include writing exercises, presentations and writing time.

But it depends on how your organizer uses the terms so read the details carefully. With the Missouri SCBWI, a retreat is a small overnight event.  That means almost 48 hours with an editor and no more than 15 other writers.  It is an intense learning experience with serious one-on-one time with the speaker.  You learn in the one-on-one session and the group sessions and then you go off and apply what you’ve just learned to your own work.  A lot of us rewrite what we worked over with the editor.  Sometimes we apply the lessons to something else as well.  Either way, we spend some serious time writing.  All in all, it is a real growth experience.  In part, it is because we figure in writing time.  Also, it small.  Finally, it is limited to SCBWI PAL members.

Is this the event for everyone?  Nope.  A new writer would probably be overwhelmed by the information and the intensity, but, having chatted with several other writers, all PAL members, who regularly attend, it is just this intensity that we crave to take our writing to the next level.

Whether you are an experienced writer or a new writer, there are writing events to meet most every need.  Before you sign up for an event, read the brochure.  It is just like studying a market to find the one that is right for you and your work.  Do your research, come prepared and, if you’ve chosen the right event, your hard work will pay off.


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