Not gonna pitch a novel this weekend. Not gonna schmooze an agent this weekend. Not gonna feel unimportant this weekend...even though I'm going to a writing conference.
They're helpful lyrics. Don't ask me to sing them because I am NOT American Idol material. I may not even be sing-in-the-shower material. But set the words above to your own tune and hold onto these notions if you're going to the SEA OF WONDERFUL that is SCBWI Western WA this weekend.
I have the joy and privilege of being a presenter this weekend. But, conference junkie that I am, I have attended MANY conferences where I've experienced disillusionment, despair or even plain old jealousy. I've had an agent read my work and give me nothing but a blank stare, heard beloved authors speak only to realize I've heard them give the same speech (more or less) before, sat with people who were just mad that their first manuscript (the one they'd worked a whole MONTH on) hadn't been grabbed by a superstar editor. Yeah, all that. But none of it matters. The BEST advice I can give to anyone about to attend a conference is to go with OPEN EARS, OPEN EYES, OPEN HEART and a goal of making ONE WRITER FRIEND and learning ONE NEW THING about your craft or career path.
Attend with an attitude of openness and you will (1) achieve your goals and (2) possibly exceed them.
Seriously, I LOVE conferences and I've done 'em the right way and the wrong way. I wouldn't dare try to teach someone how to write a novel but this is advice about which I feel super-confident.