Friday, June 18, 2010

39th annual International SCBWI summer conference! And...ever do affirmations?


Happy Poetry Friday!
  Poem and Writing Workout --how do write affirmations--below.

Today I’m continuing the topic of a writer’s conference I’d recommend…and why.

In the first class I ever took in the UCLA Extension Writers Program in about 1984, my teacher, the late Terry Dunahoo (who I call the Johnny Appleseed of Southern California children's book writers), told us to join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator (SCBWI) and to attend the annual international conference which, luckily for us, was in Los Angeles. 

Like a good solider (or a well-trained little sister), I did what my teacher told us to do, and boy, am I glad I did. I swear that the classes I took through the UCLA Extension Writers Program and my membership in SCBWI made me the writer I am today.  I've been going every summer since then.

From this West Coaster’s point of view, SCBWI’s annual conference in Century City, California is a fabulous trip-to-New-York-in-a-box.  Editors, authors and web gurus that we’d never EVER get an appointment to see if we flew to New York on our own, show up in LA to teach us, inspire us, critique our manuscripts and party with us.

Come if you possibly can.  Really.  But here’s the great news!  If you can’t come to my home state, you can follow conference action on the SCBWI Blog, which has already begun posting preconference interviews.
How cool is that?
Here's a list poem about the conference:

EVERY AUGUST IN LOS ANGELES
by April Halprin Wayland

I join 800, sometimes 900
kith and kin,
blood and family,
clansmen and women
as we sing our
anxious,
frightened,
excited,
inspired,
ways through
this galaxy, this most amazing writing world
in solidarity
in fellowship
in unity...
in hope.

And if you DO come to the conference, please find me and tell me you’re a TeachingAuthors reader!  This will be my eighth year of critiquing picture book manuscripts.  Is that cool or what?

Writing Workout

When I was a marketing manager at Pacific Bell lo, these many long years ago, I was pretty much a round peg in a square hole.  I knew the corporate world wasn't the right one for me....but I wasn’t sure where I belonged. 

Every once in a while managers were sent to seminars on business and leadership topics.  One of these changed my life.

I remember sitting on the floor in this particular one-day workshop taking notes and wearing jeans and shoes that were not high-heels.  My feet felt wonderful. This seminar was about goal setting and specifically about the power of affirmations. 

We were taught to write three to five affirmations on a 3 x 5 card and keep it in our wallets. Affirmations, we were told, are in the present tense, as if whatever our goal is had already come true. We were told to focus on our affirmations every day in three ways:
1.    Say the affirmation aloud.
2.    Visualize it as true.
3.    Feel it to be true viscerally in our bodies.

Every day as I drove east on the Santa Monica (10) Freeway into downtown Los Angeles, I would say them, see them and feel them.

I said: I am the author of a published children’s book.
I pictured a stack of my published books on the passenger side of my car as I drove.
I let myself feel the joy of being published.

Shortly thereafter I left Pac Bell and began to write children's books and poetry.

One day, perhaps five years after that workshop, I was driving east on the 10 freeway to speak at a school when I glanced over at the passenger side of my car.  There sat a stack of my first book , TO RABBITTOWN.

I got chills.

So…what are your hopes, dreams, wishes?

Write out three to five goals—
at least one about your writing or teaching.
At least one about your health.
At least one about adding fun into your life.

Every day, for each affirmation:
1.    Say it aloud.
2.    Visualize it. 
3.    Feel your body sensations as if it were already true: close your eyes and feel the blood flowing in your veins, your heart expanding, your breathing slow with a sense of well-being.

And then write.  With joy.
photo, drawings and poem (c) by April Halprin Wayland

12 comments:

Toby Speed said...

You're so right, April. Allowing ourselves to believe in our possibilities is what brings them into being. Affirmations bring the future into the now.

I went to the fabulous LA conference twice a long time ago, and now that I'm bringing writing back into my life, I'd like very much to go again. Next year, I hope!

Carmela Martino said...

Maybe one of my affirmations should be: I AM ATTENDING THE SCBWI NATIONAL CONFERENCE. :-)

Amy LV said...

What an inspiring post, April. Thank you! My writing hope is much the same as yours was years ago, and I am going to take your suggestion, write it down, and say it to myself. Happy Poetry Friday! Next year I attend SCBWI in California too.
A.

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thanks for recommending the 39th annual SCBWI International Summer Conference in LA, April!
I know first-hand: the experience is Life-changing IF you are someone who wants to create children's books.
For those lucky enough to be attending the conference, especially for the first time, my Networking Tips will soon be available on SCBWI's website. Just click on the LA Conference link.
Thank you, too, April, for sharing your affirmations and encouraging us to create our own.
For anyone attending a conference, it helps to carry a piece of paper that bears the following words: "I am a writer - a person who writes."
We sometimes forget that wonderful Truth about ourselves during understandably overwhelming and thus sometimes doubt-filled Conference Moments.

Laura said...

Thanks, April. I had heard that before about goals, but had forgotten it. You have inspired me to go back and do this again with new goals related to writing for children.

Laura Evans
all things poetry

April Halprin Wayland said...

Yes, yes, I tried to link to Esther's wonderfully helpful "CONFESSIONS AND SECRETS OF A VETERAN SCBWI CONFERENCE-GOER
(Or, Do As I Say, Not As I Did" with the help of the SCBWI staff, but they did not get it up in time for this post. I recommend it!

And my affirmation about being less mess (wait...let's make that a positive: about being ORGANIZED and TIDY)has also been powerful. And it's all connected to writing, isn't it?

Elaine AM Smith said...

Thanks for deciding to post this piece today. I'm off to take your wise advice. Generating affirmations - right now!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thanks for affirming the affirmations, Toby! And yes, Carmela--that is an EXCELLENT affirmation--for you and maybe for others ~

And yay for creating your affirmations right now, Amy, Laura and Elaine!

Ann Wagner said...

Affirmations--something I can really use to get me through those low moments or when I'm really tired after a day at work and the couch looks more inviting than my laptop. Thanks, April!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Go, Ann--affirm away!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Go, Ann--affirm away!

Kimberly Mitchell said...

Thank you for reminding me that with focus and patience, my goals will one day be realized. I do believe that we send out to the Universe will come to us, but it is often too easy to get distracted, maybe by the needs of others (for moms like me out there) and by impatience (for those like me who complain when Internet is slow). What a moment of revelation when you saw the books sitting next to you! Quite an inspiration!

I am new to the idea of thinking that I could maybe write, and, therefore, am very glad to have learned about your blog. Much learning is what I need, so I hope to attend the DFW Writers' Conference in Texas in February.