Guest Blog by Stasia Ward Kehoe, Author of AUDITION

Katherine Longshore 7 Tuesday, February 01, 2011
I "met" Stasia Ward Kehoe through our agent, Catherine Drayton.  But as happens often in this technology-driven world, our only contact was via e-mail and Twitter.  So it was truly a delight to meet her in person in New York this weekend and she generously agreed to share with us her experiences of the conference.  --  Katy


SCBWI New York feels enormous.  The conference hotel adjoins the massive Grand Central Station which, in turn, sits in the heart of giant, pulsing New York City. You are surrounded by over 1,000 conference goers, including illustrious agents, editors, publishers and NYT-best-selling authors.  A grilled cheese sandwich costs a staggering twelve bucks.   Perhaps you traveled a great distance to get here.  Certainly your hopes and dreams for these 48 hours are, well, enormous.  Whether you are unpublished,  newly agented, or have even sold a book, it can be hard, amidst all this enormity, not to feel a bit puny (and poor). 

Still, with notebook in hand and wearing a good pair of heels, you consult your schedule and begin.  You sit through keynotes and attend breakout sessions (all wonderfully summarized at the SCBWI Team Blog) hoping to discover that opportunity, that insight that will nudge your writing career a little further down the path.  The day wears on and all you've heard is the scratch of your pen noting the "likes" and "dislikes" of a given editor or a somber publisher musing on the fate of the hardcover book.  You begin to despair. happens.

You're not in the cavernous lecture hall, nor even one of impressive break-out sessions.  It happens around 7 PM in the hotel lobby.  You find the courage to talk to a famous author who has inspired you and receive encouragement and a warm smile in return.  It happens again when you sit, somewhat timidly, at a table with nine other writers you've never met before and  meet someone who writes in your genre or loves the same books or wants to trade guest blog posts.

Just like the best writing, the magic of the NY SCBWI conference happens in the spaces in between; in the serendipitous discoveries and moments of summoning the courage to reveal yourself to others.  You must attend the sessions, just like you must write (butt-in-seat) even when you're feeling uncertain or world-weary.  You need to learn about the people and the industry just like you need to hone your writing craft.  But, the conference is also a catalyst, bringing together like-minded, passionate, creative people who know how to find magic not in the enormity of the venue or the masses of people, but in the nooks and corners, the smaller moments--in the perfectly chosen word.

My magic moments from SCBWI NY 2011:
1. Meeting the amazing Ellen Hopkins (see us in the picture?)
2. Getting an autograph from the conference's most inspiring speaker, Sara Zarr.
3. Meeting my agent-buddy, the awesome YA muse Katy Longshore, in person!
4. Drinks and meals and coffees with old friends and folks I've only cyber-known until now.
5. Coming home with a pile of cards, twitter names, and other contact information from fellow writers with whom I look forward to keeping in touch!

Stasia Ward Kehoe blogs at  Her debut novel, AUDITION, will be published by Viking this October.


I would LOVE a picture with Ellen Hopkins. I was in the same elevator as her at the LA conference last summer and didn't realize until after I got off. Talk about missed opportunity. *sigh*

I couldn't agree with you more. That's exactly when I found the magic! Thank you so much for joining the muses today.

I agree - people are the best part of the conferences. A great post. I couldn't make NY, but now I'm so looking forward to attending my next conference. Thanks for joining us today, Stasia!

Thanks for inviting me to post here at the awesome YA Muses today--and for the lovely comments. I am enjoying blog-hopping to learn what other writers discovered at SCBWI NY this year.

Great post, and so true - there's so much to learn at the SCBWI conferences, but the best part is PEOPLE.

Thanks for joining us today. I'm sorry I didn't get out to NY, but I hope we'll meet at some future conference!

Post a Comment

Grid_spot theme adapted by Lia Keyes. Powered by Blogger.


discover what the Muses get up to when they're not Musing

an ever-growing resource for writers

Popular Musings

Your Responses

Fellow Musers