As soon as I arrived at the conference on Saturday morning, I met a couple other newbies, both elementary teachers, who were feeling as tiny as I was. There really is strength in numbers. It was the keynote speaker though, Diane Z. Shore, who pumped everyone up and set our minds at ease with her hilarious depiction of her "bumpy road" to publication (385 rejection letters before her first contract!) and how not to make as many "wrong turns" as she did. Just by attending the conference, she assured us that we were already headed in the right direction. She even introduced a brand new product that is sure to be a great resource to every writer - "The Editor Voo-Doo Doll". Not sure how the guest editors felt about that one, but everyone else in the auditorium was rolling!
A few notes that I jotted down from her address: "Write what you know." "Compare yourself/your writing to YOURSELF 3 months ago, 6 months ago, etc..." "Focus on your writing, not on publishing." And this inspiring quote by Thomas Edison - "Many of life's failures are those people who didn't realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
I would think that quote could also apply to those who don't even dare to try. I've never really thought of myself as a daring person, but I guess, maybe I am. Slowly but surely I've been learning about this writing biz, daring to think that maybe I can be a writer. Something that I've always wanted to be since I was a kid - one who got lost in books and wrote stories every chance she got. Stories that I thought were LONG GONE until my mom unearthed them from a box she found while cleaning out her garage last year. She even organized them into a cute little binder and made a cover page for me. Sweet, huh?
I illustrated a lot of them too. (I only wish that my artistic abilities had progressed beyond a fifth grade level!) As a fourth and fifth grader, I used to go to the first grade classes and read my stories to the kids during circle time. It's no wonder that reading picture books to my students was my favorite part of teaching.
Needless to say, I have been sitting on this for awhile. Have I mentioned that both my dad and my brother are crazy talented artists? My brother and I have been talking about picture book ideas forever. I've got to get my rear in gear. Seriously.
And speaking of my little bro, he and my sweet sister-in-law had their second baby on Saturday afternoon. A beautiful little girl! He called me as I was driving down to the conference early Saturday morning to tell me they were at the hospital. So, of course, I was checking my phone in between workshops waiting for the news. Definitely added some extra excitement to the day! Being at the workshop was also a good distraction from the fact that I am ten and a half hours away and couldn't be there with the rest of my family to meet my new niece. It's really hard being away sometimes.
And speaking of being away - I was only at this conference for one day, but I am still catching up on housework. Ugh! The vacuum is calling my name.
Click the fish and check out the new Goldfish Smiles site - all kinds of great ideas to create smiles and share special moments with your kiddos! (Have I mentioned how much I LOVE working with Goldfish?)