Conference Moments

Katherine Longshore 1 Tuesday, April 30, 2013
The first International SCBWI conference I attended was in Los Angeles.  I'm a northern California girl, so heading so far south felt like traveling into a different country to me.  I spent the entire time in a state of high anxiety, but also a state of wonder.  I met agents.  I didn't get my pages in front of an editor.  I networked with some wonderful authors.  I partied at the big Red and Black Ball.

But the moment I remember best was getting a book signed by the amazing Sara Pennypacker.  I had attended her workshop on "Beginnings".  I was at the beginning of my career.  I needed to revise the beginning of my novel.  In that workshop, she introduced me to The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler, and it changed my life.  So of course I wanted to buy one of her Clementine books.  And of course I wanted to have it signed.

I got to the front of the line and handed her my book.  The little sticky note on the title page read "Katy".  She looked up and smiled.  "Is this you?" she asked.  And then, "Is this your first conference?" (did it show??)  When she finished signing, she wished me luck and I carried my treasure trove out into the lobby.  I had other books--for my kids, for the school, for my sister--but this was the only one I'd bought for myself.  I opened the book to the title page.

To Katy--Welcome to the Tribe.  Sara Pennypacker

Attending a conference is an induction.  You become part of the tribe.  Whether it's SCBWI or RWA or a Science Fiction conference, it's your tribe.  These are your people.  And in my experience, every single conference brings one of these moments.  Reminding me of what I am.

I'm a writer.


Great post, Katherine. And what a wonderful way to get started on your journey!

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