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  • Sierra Dougherty

#LA17SCBWI



I should be sleeping right now but instead I'm staring at the clock and typing away at 11:50 pm on a Saturday night. Why? Because I am a writer. As many of you know, we cannot simply turn off our brains and go about our lives when the pen calls to us. When the urge to write becomes so great that we feel compelled to put our hands to paper regardless of the consequences. Mine? Knowing that in three hours time I'll have to wake up to feed my four month old. Oh well, I tried.

Since attending the L.A. SCBWI Conference I have been positively itching to get back to work. (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) The once smoldering coals that fueled my passion for writing became a roaring fire. The flames embedded into my fingers just waiting to consume the pages I touch. If you have a similar passion I would highly recommend attending their next conference. There you will get the encouragement, support, and insight needed to continue to advance in your career. Not only that but you will have the chance to make unbelievable connections and take advantage of unique career opportunities such as querying agents privately just for attending. Many of my dreams came true this past week. I met a number of well established authors, agents, editors, and illustrators. Among which were Nancy Paulsen, Vanessa Newton Brantley, Kwame Alexander, and Marvin Terban. I was also able to sit in on several workshops held by various masterminds including Jen Rofé, Kendra Levin, Nova Ren Suma, and Tammi Sauer, etc. each with a new and exciting topic geared toward helping you achieve your dreams.


I will say being an introvert by nature made this conference particularly challenging. Especially during the Golden Kite Luncheon. This year Judy Blume (below) was being interviewed just before the awards were given out. I couldn't believe it. JUDY BLUME. Reading her books growing up I never imagined I would be in the same room as her. The thought literally NEVER crossed my mind. I say it twice because this moment couldn't have been more surreal for me. Not only was I in the room, I was seated just three chairs away. Thank goodness my husband was there to help me work through my anxiety attack otherwise I would have missed everything. ‘Are you there god? It’s me, Sierra. Thank you!’ Looking back at my notes I hoped there would be more I could share. Realistically they include a bunch of scribbles and shorthand messages to myself regarding my next book topics or character ideas which is all well and fine but that’s not going to help you.

My goal here was to write about my experience. Truth is, I have no idea. I had an amazing time at the L.A. SCBWI Conference but the rest of my emotions are mixed. I was sad to see it end but refreshed from the visit. With so many thoughts running around in my head that I couldn't (and still can’t) grasp onto just one. My brain seems to be firing at an unbelievable rate like a small child in a field of wild flowers frantically trying to catch butterflies before the sun sets. As soon as I catch one another flies by and let go of the first to grab it. I can see why Lin Oliver said to wait a week before querying any agents. It takes at least that long just to get your head screwed on straight. I have learned a lot by attending this conference especially from the interview done with Kwame Alexander and

have a number of goals before attending my next one. I plan to make the most of it. Including making a full on costume for the gala event. That's right, you heard me. Costume. Gala. Did you really think it was all business? We’re children’s writers! We like to have fun too.

#writing #conference #author

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