Two blog posts in one week aren’t you lucky, or not so lucky depending on your viewpoint.

But so much has been going on, one just wasn’t going to cut it!

So on Friday 24th November 2017 I found myself waving goodbye to the small people in my life, as I dropped them off at the school gates, getting into my little white van (because everyone knows little white vans are cool) and heading South to the winter wonderland that is Winchester.

And why was I heading down to Winchester you may ask, maybe to celebrate my fifth wedding anniversary (Nope! Sorry husband that I abandoned for the weekend with three children on our anniversary) I was off to the SCBWI British Isles Conference.

Now for any of you not up on the awesome acronyms, SCBWI stands for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and it is a global society that supports individuals from those just starting out right up to award winning authors and illustrators, and this weekend was the yearly conference for the British Isles.

The conference doesn’t officially start until the Saturday but many Fringe events take place on the Friday to get delegates in the mood for a weekend of creative fun and get the imagination flowing. My first fringe event was the Scrawl Crawl hosted by the lovely Lorraine Cooke. Now it would have helped if I had gone to the right statue for the meeting point, but with a brisk sprint/wobble I managed to make it there just in time and had a lovely wander round Winchester scrawling ideas and chatting with fellow writers.

But the fun didn’t stop there no! Next it was on to the Perfect Pitch hosted by the fabulous Emma Greenwood, who also is from the Golden Egg Academy. I had attended Emma’s workshop on finding your characters voice the year before so I was very excited to see what she had in store, and she didn’t disappoint. By the end we were Pitching pro’s, Ok, maybe not pro’s but we learnt a lot, not only about our stories but how to give the most to our readers from a pinch and a taste.

Last up, to finish off the Friday night Fringe was the Critique followed by the evening meal. The critique is one of the scariest parts of the weekend for me as it means showing your work to the world and letting them judge it (I’m a wimp I know) Fortunately I was in safe hands, with a fantastic group being led by the cheeky but fantastic Sarah Broadley and there were so many amazing stories that i’m sure will be rocking the book charts very soon. 😉 

So came the conference, a blur of a weekend with so many highs you couldn’t fit them all on one page. Keynotes from Liz Pichon and Alex T Smith to inspire and energise. Workshops from Roger Stevens and Joanna Nadin that showed that being funny is a very serious buisness. Through to workshops on publishing from the people in the know Becky Bagnall and Sue Wallman, and how to promote yourself with several of our very talented authors Chitra Soundar, Camilla Chester, Alison Gardiner and Sarah Towle.

There was literally something for everyone and what would a conference be without a party!

And party we did! Celebrating our accomplishments, catching up with friends and mingling with publishers, agents and various characters from the book world, Saturday night was awash with colour and costumes and of course the Mass Book Launch. Which was extra special for me this year as it was my first year up on stage celebrating, I even got to be on the cake!!! (That’s how you know when you’ve made it!) It also meant I got to congratulate fellow authors celebrating too, with one especially. Em Lynas, author of You Can’t Make Me Go To Witch School, by Nosy Crow. Em is an amazing author who has been working for many years to get her wonderful voice out there, and now she finally has there’s no stopping her. I was so excited and happy to be side by side with her and so many friends and fellow authors and illustrators who encourage and push each other so much. Where else can you get a network like that!

Home now and back to the wet and soggy world of reality, dreaming of next year all ready. But a much needed weekend with so many awesome people has left me already aspiring to be a better writer and achieve so much more over the next year!

 

If you would like more information about SCBWI you can find them at www.SCBWI.org  or find them on Facebook or Twitter, it doesn’t matter whether your starting out or already a pro, it’s always good to have friends 🙂