Jane Yolen at the SCBWI Conference

I attended the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Winter Conference in New York City a few weeks ago. I think it was the first time I've ever been away from my family for a whole week--and I got to spend it in my favorite city, with my best friend, Lois.

This was quite a large conference. Well over a thousand attendees, and a prestigious list of speakers and presenters. Like Jane Yolen , Libba Bray, and Jaqueline Woodson.

Jane Yolen is the author of over 300 books in many categories, from children's to adults. She is such a quotable writer, that I'll give you a few of her gems here. For more from this amazing woman, check out her book for writers, "Take Joy" .

Here is my favorite quote from this amazing writer:

Most women writers do not have the luxury of a wife. We muddle through our chores and our writing, doing a balancing act that would put the Flying Wallendas to shame.
 I couldn't agree more!

A few other pearls of wisdom from Jane Yolen--these are from my notes on her talk, so they may not be exact quotes:

Have fun writing--or do something else.

Butt in chair, heart on page.

You may not be the best, but you can always be better.

Don't write stuff you hate.

No one outside a fairy tale expects a happy ending. Don't look away from the hard choices.

Fall through the words into the story. Simple is best.

Exercise your writing muscle. Flabbiness is bad, so write every day.

Every writer is either a nurturer or is nurtured. No one can be both. Do what you have to do to make time to write.

What editors want: truth, attention to detail, quick responses, affirmation. We all need an editor.

Too many writers ignore landscape to their peril. Develop the art of seeing and looking. We miss the small or the large, immovable objects. Details of the landscape must be precise, like you're a native, and you've been there.

Beware of reading other novelists while you're writing. You'll lose time, and you might change your own voice.

There are some projects you'll never complete. Get over it.


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