Posted by: Trisha Leigh | February 7, 2011

A Few Days “Out There”

I had the pleasure of attending a SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference a week ago in New York City. I had a fantastic time, and left with my batteries recharged and a fresh outlook on my creative life.

It gave me a great feeling to spend a few days surrounded by people who share my passion, and if you haven’t caught the recap of Sara Zarr’s speech, I highly recommend following that link. It was my favorite keynote of the weekend, and gave me plenty to think about.

Aside from the conference itself, getting to spend a few days in NYC left me as in love with that place as I’ve ever been, and sad to see it slip away as my plane lifted off from LaGuardia. I went with a good friend, Denise Swank, who had never been to the city, and I enjoyed traipsing around and seeing it all again. We even went up in the Empire State Building, something I hadn’t done since I was a kid.

I had a wonderful meal with my agent, Liz Jote, who I’d never before had the pleasure of meeting in person. I love her as much as I suspected I would based on our telephone conversations, and left dinner more excited about my manuscript than ever. I sent her back to Brooklyn with a bottle of Gate’s BBQ sauce, which sounds totally weird, but if you’re from KC you know I couldn’t have brought a better gift.

Last, but certainly not least, I experienced a night out with some Twitter friends. Most of us have been chatting online for over a year, and laughing together in person came as easily as it does through the computer.

Sophie Littlefield, an author I so admire and an engaging, warm woman, joined us for drinks. The rest of the group consisted of Dan Krokos (who I now suspect of being a superhero), Sean Ferrell (do yourself a favor and read his novel, NUMB), and the very punctual Rita Meade (@ScrewyDecimal, link to her blog on the sidebar). I love them all even more now, if that’s possible.

The weekend was great. As writers we tend to be introverts, to be content spending much of our time alone, in our heads, talking to imaginary people.

It’s just as important to get out, to interact with other creators, to let loose, and laugh, and ride the subway next to a smelly, sleeping homeless man. As much as we forget it, life is out there. For our stories to feel authentic and relatable, we need to walk among the living.

I’ll try not to forget my own advice.

What I’m watching right this second: Disturbia. Yeah. I have nothing to say about that.

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Responses

  1. Sounds like so much fun! It IS good for writers to get out of their heads and play with real people from time to time.

    • It was a blast. I can’t wait to go back and visit again.

  2. Sounds like an absolutely wonderful and inspiring weekend, Trisha! Best of luck with the manuscript!

    • Thanks! I’m just at the read through stage, but I’m enjoying working with it again and trying out a new revision method!


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