Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Writer Friends and Artist Types: Post Conference Recovery


Friday night, I entered the Industry Party at the hotel. Dozens of agents, editors, and publishers ate cheese and drank wine in the SAME room as me. **major fangirl squee**


Donna and I observed the Rock Stars of the Children's Book World, interact with each other, and guess what? They are regular people. They eat and drink like us. They have hopes and dreams like us. The only major difference between US and THEM? They possess the power to catapult us to the stars or smash us against a brick wall.

So...okay, maybe they're more superhero, than rockstar, but you get the point.


Post-Industry party, we met new SCBWI friends from New England and Kimberly Sabatini, at the bar. Kim is the author of Touching the Surface. **fangirl squee*** And yes, I did squee in front of her--she's just a down to earth person who happens to have a YA novel published. (I know, awesome right?!?!)


We met these new friends via Twitter.
(Remember my advice from the other day--it really works. Try it. You'll like it.)

It's not easy meeting people out in the real world. There's always that awkward getting to know you stage. You talk about the weather, your kids, the school...

Small talk. I hate small talk. I'm not good at it. I don't enjoy it. I like to know upfront whether I like this new person and if I see myself maintaining some type of friendship past the 'Hi-Bye' stage.

BUT when I meet a writer or another artist type, I don't need to explain why I hide in my house for days at a time and peck away at a keyboard. I don't need to justify why I love to read but forget to clean, or why there are piles of books, papers, pens, journals, and more books spread throughout my house. They already know...
          They get me.

I call them Instant Friends.
Instant friends are made when you go to conferences and events with like minded people. You skip the small talk and start talking about your favorite book or your current project.
 
They understand how much it crushes you to get a form rejection letter, but they don't say, "Honey, you'll get a 'yes' one of these days."


They grab you by the hair and yank you back up, brush away the tears, hand you chocolate, and tell you to get back to work. There also might be some degrogatory comments made about the agent's poor judgement, but... you didn't hear that from me.

Find places where you can meet like minded people. Whether you're a writer, an illustrator, a fisherman, a realtor, a soccer player, or just a plain old Jo find a place where THEY get you!! It makes all the difference.

Is that Donna Boock, E.B. Lewis, Kim Briggs, Alison Green Myers, Peggy Collins, Kari-Lynn Winters, Alma Fullerton, Ruth Ellie-McNally Barshaw (Ellie McDoodle), at the SAME table?
Why, yes it is. Thank you for noticing!             
Are more than half of the people published authors and/or illustrators, perhaps even a Caldecott winner or two? Why, yes they are.

Go to conferences!! THEY get you, and you get INSTANT FRIENDS. You just might meet a few superheroes of your own!


Write on,
Kim