How often, do you suppose, have you fallen into a rut? Even when trying to be creative, do you find yourself slipping into familiar routines and say, meh, the writing or artwork is good enough?
Whoa boy, let me tell you. If you were feeling that way before the SCBWI-WI Fall Retreat, you left feeling like a new person. Superhero-ish even. There’s no way any uninspired, humdrum, or worse, corrosive thoughts could creep into your creative sphere that weekend. And if you haven’t yet made it a part of your creative journey to connect with others at a conference, I’d highly suggest you do.
Wisconsin’s Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Fall Retreat was meant to be an antidote to stifling routine. This years theme was “experiment and play,” and what a great thing to do to help us create. I was incredibly honored to give three presentations: how to slant the truth through an unreliable narrator; how to bring back the thrill of creating (in case the joy’s become a grind); and using art as inspiration.
Anyone who knows my writing knows that I love a good unreliable narrator. I could talk about that all day. I didn’t, though, to allow attendees time to work on their writing prompts. See? Proof.
And we had an open, dynamic talk on how to banish the blahs. Author Melissa Gorzelanczek not only inspired everyone during her talks, but she came up with the idea of Journey Stones weeks ahead of our workshop. I designed a hundred.
YES to your journey! YES to challenges! YES to bravery! I think the attendees liked them. 🙂
My final presentation really revved my engines. Author Valerie Biel and I talked about the gazillion ways we creative types use other art for our inspiration. I’m talking literature, visual arts, music, theater, or dance. I’m big into the visual arts, and there’s no shortage of it referencing mythology, so I was absolutely in my element. Here are a few pictures I shared: me hanging out with Cupid at the Milwaukee Art Museum and then imitating Bacchus, the god of theatre and wine, at the Louvre. We’re buds, ya know.
And again I made a little memento: crocheted bookworms. I hope they crawled their way into someone’s heart. 🙂
Others got artistic, too. Check out these handmade bags for the faculty, made by the “Freakin’ Happiness Fairy,” Author M.J. Diem. And can she rawk a tutu or what?
Once in a while you get to experience something really special, and that usually involves helping others. For the third straight year, I’ve taken part in the Novel Cuisine Luncheon put on by Wisconsin Author Liza Weimer and Blogger Extraordinaire Heidi Zweifel. The luncheon brings literary types together to collect and donate books to organizations that need them but don’t have financial means to secure them. We also dine on book-inspired foods. The recipients of donated books typically include classroom libraries and women’s shelters, offering the traumatized children there a desperately needed diversion. This year, books collected also went to areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
The awe-inspiring gathering of community-minded authors, publishing professionals, teachers, librarians, book club organizers, bookstore associates, and bloggers donated and shared hundreds of books. I know our small contribution to this cause will bring someone a moment of relief in truly trying times.
Here are some photos of the 6th annual event. I hope you enjoy them. A special thanks goes to the event organizers and volunteers for taking on such a worthy cause.
Milestones trigger emotions, and this one is no exception. Today marks ten years blogging. My website and blog is mostly about the creative life (writing, publishing, media in general) and occasionally sports. I’ve experienced growth in all those areas, and I hope something I wrote added to your insight on a subject.
My very first post was about inspiration, specifically about shooing the Muse. You can read it here: http://www.silviaacevedo.com/a-writer-writes/muse-schmuse/ I feel pretty much the same way today. If I waited until I felt inspired, who knows when I’d ever get around to it? The funny thing is, once I start, it’s the writing itself that inspires me to write more. What inspires you? And what topics should I hit in the next ten years? 🙂
My engines are really revving for the SCBWI-WI fall retreat. You should come. Really! You have just three short weeks to sign up, and I’ll tell you why you should (and then how to maybe get in for free!).
The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is the premier association for creators of children’s lit (and one of the largest organizations for writers and illustrators in the world). If you want to learn more about writing or illustrating for kidlit, these are your people.
Wisconsin’s fall retreat is three days of amazing networking, creating, and communing. This year’s lineup is impressive as always: the society director, three editors/directors, an art director, an agent, two leading authors/illustrators/creators, along with 11 local presenters, myself included. My involvement isn’t why I write today; I’ve been praising the association for more than ten years. This is the place to go to build your craft.
I am proud, though, of the two presentations I’m doing. Both are collaborative.
Friday’s Intensive with Melissa Gorzelanczyk is four-fold: Honing in on images; Focusing on plot; Unreliable Narrators in your writing and illustrating; and Bringing Back the Thrill. Plus we’ll have a memento for attendees. The picture gives a hint. 🙂
My second presentation, with Valerie Biel, highlights how music, dance, theater, literature, and the visual arts can inspire your creations. And attendees get another memento.
So you’re convinced. I can tell! Sign up by August 31st here.
Aaaaand if you want a chance to get your registration fee reimbursed, apply for the DIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP BY AUGUST 14. SCBWI is inclusive in what constitutes diversity, so you may well qualify. Find out and apply here.
If you’ve been dreaming about creating for children, this may be your moment. Hope to see you there! 🙂
I recently bought a prompt journal (300 Writing Prompts by Piccadilly Inc.) to force really quick writing. Here’s my latest prompt:
Do you prefer to dance with no one watching, with a group of friends, or with one special partner?
All of the above. I just like to dance. I’m not particularly good or bad at it. I suspect I’m like most people, just shuffling or bouncing along to the beat of the music, but I like the freedom of dancing.
Why do so few people dance in public? Why is it so hard for me to coax (or pull) a friend onto the dance floor at a music festival or county fair? Do people seriously care that others watch? I don’t, but I know I’m in the minority there. :/
Bought myself a journal (300 Writing Prompts by Piccadilly Inc.) to force really quick writing. Here’s my latest prompt:
What is a personality trait do you admire in other people?
Patience, which often manifests itself in kindness.
Look, the world is a trying place. People and circumstances can frustrate us and lead us away from our daily (or lifelong) goals. It is so, so easy to take out a slew of perceived injustices on others because they’re not as “whatever” as we’d like them to be.
But we’re all unique individuals on highly personal journeys. We’re all of us more than we are at any given moment, and so exhibiting patience often provides the buffer that all sides in a situation need to save themselves from themselves.
I’m still working on this trait and suspect I always will be.
What personality trait do you admire? Tell me in the comments. 🙂