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August 28, 2020

SCBWI Summer Spectacular

By Jamie Bills

I attended my first SCBWI conference (virtually) at the beginning of the month. It was SO jam-packed with information, it has taken me a few weeks to try to take it all in. I would like to share some valuable lessons I learned.

5 Writing Conference Takeaways

During the kick-off meeting, we were advised to find one thing that we could takeaway from the conference and apply to our craft. It was good advice. The conference was PACKED with great tidbits, you could easily get bogged down. I cannot possibly reduce my list to one, but I will share my top five.

#1- Keep Picture Books Simple

I loved the session in the conference featuring Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. Those guys are FUNNY.

They talked about not solving or explaining everything. They emphasized the importance of leaving spaces so that the reader has a problem to solve.

Jon Klassen said in his experience, the answer to making his books better is “almost always less”.

"it is almost always less." -Jon Klassen quote.

#2- Stay Determined

Judy Blume shared her journey of collecting two years of rejection letters. The first letter made her cry, after that she was just determined. She said, “Determination is as important as talent.”

Philip Pullman said, “The three most important things for a writer are “talent, persistence, and luck- and the only one you can control is persistence.

#3- Try to Avoid Illustrator Notes

Easy tip to apply. After watching several sessions with illustrators, they all seemed to be in agreement about illustrator notes. They Do Not Like Them. The artists feel it infringes on their portion of the book and their artistic freedom.

Illustrators are amazing! Unless absolutely necessary, leave out all illustrator notes.

#4- Don’t be Precious with your Work

Also simple.

Dan Santat said, “Don’t be precious. Don’t hang on if its not working. Be OKAY to THROW it out and MOVE ON.”

#5- Make time to Write Everyday

Jane Yolen shared her secret for being productive. “B.I.C. Butt In Chair. There is no other single thing that will help you become a writer.” Write EVERYDAY.

Judy Blume said, “You can do a lot in two hours. You can write a whole book with just two hours a day.”

Now Time To Apply!

I have been actively trying to write everyday this month, applying all that I learned and continued to learn.

I am loving every step of my writing journey! If you are on a writing journey of your own, I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks for taking time to stop by my website. 🙂

Jamie Bills

"If you want to develop your craft as a writer, READ." - Philip Pullman