It’s not enough to want to write. It’s not enough to write in your head–although that is usually very good writing.  Why do I write?  I’m not a good speller. I am a lousy proofreader.  My English methodology is sketchy at best.  And Latin did not help.

 Attending the NYC mid winter conference last weekend was that push to sit down and write.  New York in February is not my ideal trip.  It’s cold. Sometimes blizzardly cold, no clean air….

I’m late in doing this. The conference was 10 days ago. And yet. I had things to get done before I could, shoot, I hate that word–process, but yes. Turn it over in my mind, figure out how and what to say.

This I know. I must write. I am not a huge fan of the inspirational keynote that lets us in on the successful writer’s/illustrator’s life.  I have no connection with how they get there and where they started. I want the keynote of the person who looks at writing and brings their passion to the fore

This is my year of renewal. No. More repurposing.  I’m at that place between getting a request for a full and hearing nothing afterward. I have this character, a cozy mystery.  I was told that mysteries are a ‘dime a dozen.’ Definitely not what I wanted to hear.

Keynotes. Intensives.  Seeing friends. Discussing writing. Let me tell you what I get out of the international conferences.


This year a lot hit home. While it was interesting to hear the story of Jarrett Krosoczka, and to hear Christopher Paul Curtis cruise through his childhood but it was the passion and fire, the language and oratory of Elizabeth Acevedo that took my breath away.  

I have no connection to her story, her history, the society in which she grew up. But I was stunned by the acuity of her phrasing, the depth of her commitment to her writing life, and the confidence by which she communicated.  Would that we could bottle all of that and give it to those kids who don’t get that whatever—love, support, or just plain belief in oneself tattooed on her spine.  What a gift! 

This year, more than in those past, I got a lot out of the intensives. I learned about the four faces of a character. I re-learned classic POV, tropes. Revisited Aristotle. About tent pole moments, the diagram of narrative nonfiction. To discover what is at stake in a nonfiction story, using prologues and epilogues. and Zotero and sprinting and the Pomodoro method of writing.

and I signed up for a mentorship program. “About time”, said Tom. And I agree.