Saturday, April 10, 2010

What I Learned So Far At The Writing Conference

It's been 11 months, and I'm at the same conference in the same hotel. I had the same first dinner at Pasha Grill, only this time, author and wonderful human Mitali Perkins was there, too, and we were talking about gyros.

It's been 11 months since the last SCBWI Western Washington Conference, and paranormal is dominating, and voice is still the deciding factor in publication.

The same Starbucks coffee is dripping from the same endless vats, and Kim Baker is still running around, making sure the keynote speakers are all wired and starting on time.

It's mostly the same, here, after 11 months, but it's incredibly different, too.

Because last night, when I stepped onto the Redmond Town Center cobblestones, I realized how much of my life has changed.

After what was undoubtedly the toughest year of 39 for me, I learned more than I thought I would here--just by getting out of the same car: that I am enormously blessed that my husband really loves me, that our daughter might be sick, but that inside she's the same girl she's always been. I learned that if I never publish, there are four amazing people in a little gray cottage in Ashland who think I'm brilliant and talented and can fry up a serious pancake. I learned that, though I may be missing the three-book deal, I'm a survivor because I came through 333 days of a lot of crap, and I'm still breathing, at least, and maybe even smiling a little bit.

And after all that, I can definitely twist up my plot a little, as HarperCollins Editor Jordan Brown suggested today. I can put on my striped hat and let creativity free flow, like former Farrar Straus & Giroux editor Lisa Graff said. I can take big risks with character and plot, as Egmont Funny Girl Elizabeth "L-Bone" Law urged.

I can and I will do all of those things, but I'll hug my handsome husband more, too, and I'll tell my daughter how smart and strong and pretty she is, and I'll kick the soccer ball around with my boys, and I'll let my laundry pile up to the ceiling.

I'll be glad--I'll be grateful--that I have a gift--that no novel could possibly give me.


Kjersten said...

Great post, Jennie. Thanks for writing! Miss being there this year.

It's always a brave and good thing when we take stock of all the good things in life. Kudos to you.

Mary Brebner said...

Super-positive post! Looking forward to reading more. Good luck with everything!