The Conference Conundrum

Well, now I’ve done it.

I registered for the NESCBWI conference in May. If you’re not a children’s book writer, that stands for New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It’s an awesome organization of which I’m proud and grateful to be a member. My membership gets me resources, training, networking opportunities, and just lots of knowledge about the writing and publishing business.

My favorite part of belonging to an organization is getting to know the people. I’ve been part of a six week writing class and several day-long workshops and meetings for writers. The material has always been useful and applicable, but I’ve learned a ton from the other participants.

But here’s the conundrum part:

attending a conference for writers when you haven’t been “recognized” as a writer.

It can feel like the worst case of impostor syndrome–as if a “real” writer will come and rip off your cloak to reveal the scarlet U which declares UNPUBLISHED! I mean, it’s not as if we have to trudge down the hotel hallways (these things are often in hotels) shouting like literary lepers: “UNPUBLISHED, UNPUBLISHED, UNPUBLISHED!” so that the real writers don’t accidentally catch our lack of luck and experience.

It just feels that way.

So I will hold my breath and jump in. I ordered more business cards. I’m brushing up some projects. I’m talking aloud to no one in my car to practice pitches for completed manuscripts, just in case THE agent or publisher asks, “So what’s your current project?” I’m thinking of things to wear that say You can definitely picture me at a school visit or a book signing wearing this.

I mostly spend time practicing not looking like these awkward apples…


I’m looking forward to some learning and networking and maybe a little adventure. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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