Having just arrived home from the annual SCBWI – Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference, I thought I’d break my almost pathological blog silence with a post-conference piece. Unfortunately writing and flying commitments are currently syphoning off almost all my free time, so I am left with a one hour window whilst sitting on a flight between Edinburgh and London to share my thoughts.
A distilled 60 minutes means I’m going to distill my thoughts…. and so, in no particular (read: undrafted, unorganised, probably unreadable) order, things I learned/discovered/didn’t expect to learn or discover from my weekend in Winchester….
*SCBWI conferences are great.
*It’s always worth getting up early to make the keynote sessions. And to take Instagram worthy photos of early morning cemeteries.
*Alex T Smith partly based his wonderful comic dog creation, Claude, on Larry Grayson. The joy of knowing this could keep me happy forever.
*When you’re dressed as your favourite cartoon dog at the Saturday night conference party, people are more likely to talk to you. Or pull your tail. Or both.
*A children’s writers and illustrators conference isn’t the best place to try and keep a top secret publishing deal to yourself. These people can smell good news a mile off.
*The lunch queue is as good a place as any to chat to award winning YA writers and whisper that you’re joining the same publisher as them. (See what I mean…just couldn’t help myself).
*There’s always time to discuss the calamity of Brexit…even 1.30am after a bucket of wine. Especially at 1.30am after a bucket of wine.
*Marauding drunks are as noisy at 1.30am in well-heeled Hampshire as they are anywhere. (The last two points are not entirely unconnected).
*British provincial hotels are every bit as disappointing as they always were. A selection of tea bags, a creased city guide, and a wall-mounted fan heater, do not a luxury hotel experience make.
*Writers are the best people on earth to rely on for: support, words of wisdom, congratulation, consolation, encouragement, sharing a joke, advice….helping you attach a dog tail…anything.
*Friends made at conference are for life, not just for conference.
*There’s always time, even at a writer’s conference, to discuss vegetarian haggis recipes.
*You can never have enough conference badges and pens.
And now my top 5 things I learned from Scbwicon17:
1. Never travel without my pillow. A breeze block in linen is not a substitute, are you hearing me Mercure hotels?
2. Children’s writers and illustrators are the best people.
3. A day without tea and cake, is a day not worth living.
4. Get in the queue early for tea and cake.
5. Finding the funny and giving kids something to laugh at is more important now than ever. It’s also what I love to do more than almost anything.
That’s it. One hour of flying combined with an hour writing. I don’t call myself the flyingscribbler for nothing.