Not long ago I was offered the opportunity to serve as one of the moderators for an SCBWI Critiquenic at Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills. The event was organized by Dawn Knobbe who is SCBWI-LA Small Events Coordinator and Executive Editor for Toe the Line. Despite the threat of rain, there was a pretty good crowd when I arrived. Each moderator was assigned a group of writers based on a particular type of material. Mine was picture books. We found a comfortable spot under a tree, settled down with our picnic lunches to get acquainted then went to work reading and offering suggestions on the shared work.
What a great experience! It was a treat to hear so many different stories...ten writers...ten ideas...imaginative and original, each told in the author's unique voice. The enthusiasm that the writers brought to their work and the thoughtful suggestions offered to their fellow writers was impressive. I left the writing workshop renewed, energized, and grateful for the chance to spend an afternoon with people who are so passionate about developing their craft.
I was reminded of a marvelous quote from Jane Yolen, "Love the writing, love the writing, love the writing...the rest will follow."
Writing is such a solitary endeavor. We work in a vacuum. It's empowering to feel the connection that a workshop provides. My mind was humming with ideas for my own manuscripts as I made the drive home. I couldn't wait to get my hands on my story.