3 S.R. Johannes: The Magic of a Southern Breeze

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Magic of a Southern Breeze

NOTE: Fabulous Follower Winner Prizes went out today. I'm working packaging up the Mardi Gras Prizes tomorrow and will email you when it goes out!

This past weekend I went to the Spring Mingle for the Southern Breeze Region (SCBWI). It was here in Atlanta.

I must say at first I was not sure if I was going to go. I had alot of things I needed to do and I did not know if I could handle a weekend of writing. In a way, I felt like I needed a weekend - away from writing.

Not to mention, my "normal" possee was not going. I was going this one alone. Don't get me wrong, I knew people there and love everyone in my Region. But having the comfort of a few girls that know me, my journey, and my deepest fears and dreams is nice when you enter a room of 150 people.

I'm not very good in a large room. I'm a bit shy, definitely an introvert, and I really stink at small talk. I usually resort to bad jokes and probably put my foot in my mouth at least twice.

I'll even tell you all a secret.

Part of me kinda wondered if I would learn much. I mean, I have an agent so the agent talk would probably not apply to me and wondered if the sessions would help me at the stage I'm at in my writing process. (this embarressing because I have so much to learn! I dont' know what I was thinking~)

Anyway, I went to Springmingle.

And am so glad I did.

I think the BEST thing about the conference was hanging out and getting to know Jennifer Jabaley and Kristin O'Donnell Tubb. These girls are definately soul sisters of mine (I hope they thin so :). I adore them and can't wait to see them again. They made me laugh, listened as I cried, and gave me advice and words of encouragement that I needed at this stage in my writing journey. I felt like I had known them for years and found myself sharing things that I NEVER share with anyone outside my normal friend circle. (and most of my friends have known me for at least 10 years.) If I'd hung out with my normal "crew" - I would have missed kicking off these great friendships. And that would have been a true loss. Check out Kristin (author of Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different) at her blog/twitter and Jennifer (author of Lipstick Apology) at her blog!

I also hung some other great people. Karen Strong, Sheri Dillard, and Heather Montgomery (who knows everything there is to know about how to be safe during a earthquake!!)

The next thing that was Sooooo worth it was meeting and hearing Josh Adams from Adams Literary. He was funny and open and shared some secrets to agenting that helped me feel even more confident in my agent and her process. It also gave me critical insight into the submission/agenting/publishing world that we writers don't get to see very often. If any of you are looking for an agent, be sure to read what he is looking for and query him because he rocks!!! (from what I can tell, he also kicks ass and takes names for his clients).

Another highlight was seeing Cheryl Klein again. I was on faculty with her at MidSouth in the fall and had dinner/drinks with her. For those who don't know who she is...she is the continuity editor at Arthur Levine for Harry Potter. Not only is she the sweetest but she is BRILLIANT! She talked on the 22 steps to revising that gave so many great suggestions (and a few crazy ones :) - that my head was spinning. I had to skip the next session because I was going through my book in my head and figuring out more things I wanted to start working on. She also did an amazing discussion on character development. Check out her amazing talks and blog!

And then of course, Jane Yolen, bestselling author of Owl Moon and How Do Dinosaur Say Good Night? She is funny and brilliant and honest. But most of all, she is real and tells it how it is. She had ridiculous insight into the industry and a perspective that only someone who has been in the industry over 30 years could, which I guess is why her blog is called Telling The Truth.

For those of you who have not joined SCBWI, you are truly missing out on a great experience, on great friends, on learning more than you can imagine, and on finding a place where you truly belong. With writers. Writers at every stage. Writers that care about you. Writers that love books. When you walk into an SCBWI conference, it is a pool of magic.

27 comments:

Susan Fields said...

Shelli - so glad you enjoyed the Spring Mingle, and made some great new friends to boot! I just wanted to let you know that I received my query critique from Jennifer Laughran and it was incredibly helpful. I'm so thankful for her wonderful advice and for you and your contest for making it possible!

Janet Johnson said...

I so wish I could have gone! Sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing. :)

storyqueen said...

What a great time...what a GREAT write-up!

You are so lucky that you got to go!

Shelley

Tamika: said...

It sounds like you received a wealth of insight! I'm glad to know that we never stop benefiting from one another.

Paul Greci said...

Shelli, it sounds like you had an incredibly rich experience. Thanks for sharing it. I'm looking forward to my next Conference, whenever that will be. And, it is interesting how when we go places alone it opens us up to experiences we may not have had. Way to go!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Stepping out of our comfort zones can be exciting, and you sure sound like your conference experience was. And, wow, Cheryl Klein and Jane Yolen.

Kelly said...

Very candid account of your weekend! That is an amazing lineup of people! Jane Yolen is my literary hero!
Thanks for sharing all of this, I'm going to go click on their links/blogs now!

beth said...

I wanted so much to go to this one! I'm glad you had a good time, though.

Kristi Faith said...

Wow, what an awesome lineup of folks. I'm so glad you shared your experience with us. :0) I haven't joined SCBWI, YET, but plan on it once finances get a little more stable. :0)

lisanowak said...

Sounds like an awesome conference.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like such a great conference. I met Cheryl Klein at a SCBWI conference in Michigan and she is a great speaker and you are right, she's brilliant. Her blog is great. Thanks for sharing.

Elana Johnson said...

Wow!! This sounds absolutely AMAZING! Thanks for sharing all this with us.

And you? An introvert?? I just don't see that... :)

Kayeleen said...

This makes me want to go to conferences. Thanks for sharing!

lotusgirl said...

I really am going to have to start going to conferences. There aren't many in NC, but Atlanta wouldn't have been that far. Now if I could only figure out what to do with the family.

Shari said...

Thanks for the awesome links!

I know how you feel about meeting friends at conferences. That has SO happened to me. It's awesome.

Danyelle said...

This sounds like it was fabulous! I hear you on not wanting to go it alone, and I'm glad you found some new friends. Friendships can make everything better. Thank you for sharing! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Shelli, you sound exactly like me.

Jane Yolen is a hoot. I love listening to her talk. I'm usually in tears by the end 'cause I'm laughing so hard.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Why on earth did you doubt going with that lineup of awesomeness?! Jane Yolen?! She's worth it all by herself. :-)

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Yay!

CL said...

Shelli,
I forgot to look for you at Spring Mingle; I was there, too, and now I'm sorry I missed a chance to meet my favorite blogger in person! I'll just have to go next year.:)
I also thought it was absolutely fabulous, and I'm getting ready to submit to Josh Adams, whose passion for his work came across very clearly. I agree with everything you wrote here. I was planning to blog about it, too, but I think you said it all!

Karen Strong said...

It was so great to meet you in person Shelli!

I really learned a lot at this year's Springmingle. I totally agree with what you said about Josh Adams -- he is awesome.

It was definitely a great conference!

Katie said...

I am just sick I missed this! What great info!

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like such a great time! I glad you ended up going :)

Sharon Mayhew said...

I'm so glad you went and had a great time. It is an amazing feeling when you connect like that. I'm glad you had that kind of immediate connection with Jennifer and Kristin.

Cheryl is lovely. I had the pleasure of meeting her (and having lunch) at the MO SCBWI conference a couple years ago.

Jane is awesome. I've emailed her a couple times via her journal. She's been helpful. :)

Daisy Whitney said...

Sounds like a great night and I can't believe you're an introvert!

Kristin Tubb said...

Hey, soul sister! :). Thanks for making me laugh so hard I cried! Something amazing happens at these conferences between all those nuggets of wisdom, something quieter but longer-lasting: new friendships are made. I'll be smiling all week thanks to Springmingle! (and, um, revising too!) :)

Gail said...

Good to see you at SpringMingle, Shelli ! I enjoyed talking with Karen Strong as well and added her to my blog list. I met some wonderful people, including Doraine Bennett, who it turns out, knows a friend of mine in Columbus, GA and we discovered one night that we have the same birth date! I agree with you that the genuineness really came through from our speakers and they were all so inspiring. I plan to go, for the first time, to national SCBWI conference in LA. I'm itching to meet the rest of my blogger pals!

Christina Farley said...

What a wonderful experience you had! I'm so jealous. When I move back to the States, that is one thing I'm terribly anxious to do is go to conferences and hear speakers and soak in all the knowledge I can learn. But it is still helpful to read blogs like yours to get tidbits.