Monday, October 5, 2015

Picture Book Summit

This past Saturday, I got to do something really great.  I attended an online conference.

Conferences are great for anyone who writes, because writing is such a solitary job.  It's nice to connect with other writers who are struggling with their work, who share their inspiration and craft, who get excited about the same things I do, picture books.

And - bonus - it was online.  I didn't have to drive anywhere.  I didn't have to book a hotel.  And I could pop in and out throughout the day.

Some people can handle two days of info-dump, but I can only do about 3 hours and then I'm fried.  I need to let that info sink in and take root, then I can go back for more.  This online summit was taped, so I watched a few presentations that day and I can catch up on the recordings of the rest - brilliant!

I also loved that it was specialized.  All of the conferences I have been to before cover Kidlit on whole, meaning picture books, early readers, chapter books, and young adult novels.  That's a pretty vast field.  So if you're an author illustrator of picture books, like me, you might not need a workshop of crafting the perfect hook for a science fiction YA romance.

What I'm trying to say is, this thing rocked.

Since I spent the better part of last year perfecting two manuscripts that were in a holding pattern with an editor for 9 months (then were passed over,) I am now chock full of other story ideas.  That can be good and bad.  It's great to have a lot of ideas, but it's hard to know what to focus on.  Or how to focus at all.

While listening to all the tips and wisdom at the Picture Book Summit, I took a lot of notes.  Some notes were general things that speakers were saying.  But as they spoke, I also got a lot of specific ideas for the manuscripts that I'm currently working on, and that's exciting.

I think most people think writing a picture book manuscript is easy.  (Celebrities certainly do.) Writing a mediocre picture book manuscript is easy.  Writing a great one is very, very difficult.  I'm aiming for great.

And when I'm trying to write the best picture book I can, there are many, many levels of revision.

This is where I flounder.  It is difficult to maintain the energy and fun of an idea after it's been poked and prodded for months and months - sometimes years.

So one of the best things to come out of the Picture Book Summit, for me, was a new sense of enthusiasm to get back to my projects and keep going.

I'm absolutely sure they will do this again.  If you're a picture book author/illustrator, go find Picture Book Summit on Facebook and become a member so you can get in on it next year.  And for those who put it together: Katie Davis, Jon Bard, Laura Backes, Julie Hedlund, and Emma Walton Hamilton (and all the tech people) THANK YOU so much!

Thanks for stopping in - I know I don't blog as much as I used to, but that's because I'm busy writing.  :)
Have a great week everyone!


Jon Bard said...

Thanks so much Julie -- so glad you enjoyed it. And yep, we're already planning Picture Book Summit 216

Kelli said...

So glad you enjoyed it! We had a blast putting it on and it's gratifying to hear it made a difference in your writing. We look forward to seeing you next year!