Monday, May 16, 2011

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators / part 1

Do you want to write or illustrate a children's book? Then you may want to belong to 
the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, 

I can't say enough for this organization. I was so glad I had the opportunity to thank one of the founders, Lin Oliver, this weekend at the New England conference. Her encouraging energy has a wonderful trickle down affect!

This group is based on mentorship. The current members openly share their experiences with newbies. The website is packed with information including a blog page that keeps you up to date with the latest information.  Oh, and the conferences I must tell you about the conferences!

Years and years and years ago, I signed up for my first regional conference. If you are a newbie, I think the regional conferences are definitely the way to go.  Obviously they are smaller than the national conferences (which are awesome) but I think a huge benefit to that small size makes connections with other writers and authors easier.

There are agents, editors and art directors at all of these events. Many a writer or illustrator goes with first pages or portfolio in hand hoping to be discovered. Which is fine and quite normal. But more often than not, something more magical happens, or can happen if you pay attention. You might find your tribe. Which for an artist or writer is no small thing. It is HUGE. Finding your tribe, can change your life in the best possible ways.

Now, I did not find anyone at that first conference. I was alone. 
Being alone is not the worse thing to happen to you. 
I left inspired by all the wonderful work, but I didn't make any new friends. Not one. Which was fine. I wasn't really looking for them either. I was in awe of the process.
That first conference, was the first time I went away alone, without my husband or kids. It was new, it was liberating and I needed that time to think about the work and what I wanted to do.
I think if you go into a new situation without an agenda you will find magic or morsels of inspiration.

~end of part 1, more to come..

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

ducks # 3

Working out my painting style for this illustration.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Retreats so Sweet!

Last fall I was invited to my friend's house for our annual writing retreat. But I couldn't go. So, we planned to get together in the spring and this weekend was finally our chance to re-connect!
She lives almost 6 hours away in the country, on the water, outside a beautiful little New England village. The setting is perfect for connecting with nature, and really regrouping after a long snow-filled winter. The only thing she didn't tell me, is that the foot bridge is out.

Normally, it looks like this..........

But, instead we had to cross like this........(and we had to carry luggage and food across too!)

That is our cabin the back ground, I was crossing to get back to the car. The logs would shake up and down as I stepped. I said I would wade through the water, rather than fall in the muddy water.. But, my John (my husband) and Robin (writer friend) said I could do it.
I am not an adrenaline junky by any stretch. I am not a fan of heights or falling into rivers!
but, they kept me going, and 
I looked up, and step by step I made it across!

I think I crossed over these tree logs 6 times during the weekend. 
Each time a tiny bit braver. 
I was a little less terrified. 
I stopped thinking about falling in the muddy river.
I stopped thinking about what I didn't want to do.
I stopped doubting.
I just kept moving.
finally, on the last rip across, I looked up!
Nothing about the logs changed from the first walk to the last.
Nothing about the logs changed.
I wanted them to change.
I wanted the logs to be a bridge.
But they stayed logs.
I changed.
I looked up
I thought about where I was going.
I thought about the other side,
the destination.
I can't say I was ever thrilled to face those logs.
But in the end, I have to admit, it felt good to do something I didn't think I could.