Posts Tagged ‘Jeannie Intrieri’




The 2014 NY SCBWI Conference–Part 3

Filed under: Check-it-out, Conferences, Publishing, SCBWI, Writing, Writing for Children

We are on the 2014 NY SCBWI conference recap homestretch!!!! But just like with attendance at a conference, even though you’re sad to have it come to an end, you should also be feeling those itchy fingers wanting to write and create now that you’ve been inspired.

One of the very best Keynotes of the Conference was by Kate Messner: The Spectacular Power of Failure



Everyone in the room was affected by the power of Kate’s words. Why? There were multiple reasons, but the biggest were that  Kate’s a dynamic speaker and the topic was relevant to everyone. Relatable and inspiring. Here are some of her best moments…

*Why do a talk on Failure? Because we share the shame we feel over the fear of failure.

*Be Brave. But it’s okay to be afraid. Of course you’re nervous–>if it weren’t , it wouldn’t be worth doing.

*Fight or Flight Fear is different than Fear of Failure, but it’s just as strong.

*On Art and Fear: You learn how to make your work by making your work.


I saved my chocolate fix for just the right spot…

*The act of sitting down to do the work brings on the idea fairy. (My idea fairy obviously likes chocolate-that’s why we get along so well.)

*Fail Fast, Fail Often: Sometimes losing can help you win.

*If we want to make art–failures are pretty good trail markers pointing us in the right direction.

*A problem that is insurmountable is manageable, when we talk to a friend. We are not afraid of our friend’s failures LOL!

*The only thing we can control is how we do our work. (Can I get an amen?)

*Failure let’s us be role models.

*High-stakes testing undermines divergent thinking. (I seriously LOVE this!)

Thank you, Kate–this pep-talk was exactly what I needed, right when I needed it. You’re the BEST! <3


Next up…Keynote Panel: The Art of the Picture Book

SS–Shandra Strickland

OJ–Oliver Jeffers

MF–Marla Frazee

RC–Raul Colon

PB–Peter Brown

Moderated by AL–Arthur Levine (If I have to tell you who he is–you haven’t done your homework well enough)


Just a few little tidbits that stuck to me…

*SS–When something isn’t working: sometimes you have to walk away to figure it out.

*MF–It’s hard to know when a piece is going downhill. I keep thinking I can fix it.

*SS–Turning down a project that doesn’t resonate is an ability that comes with maturity.

*RC–The illustrator doesn’t just want to illustrate the text–they are there to extend it.


Additionally Peter Brown got into a lively debate about authors and illustrators having more connection and collaboration in the picture book process. Everyone else on the panel felt strongly about giving the illustrator room to create without the influence of the author. Peter understood this, but felt there were advantages for authors to learn to think more spatially. I will tell you that he was getting a lot of cheers from the picture book writers in the audience LOL! In my humble opinion, both sides of the debate were fascinating and relevant.




I’m going to be honest–I was so bummed that Sharon Draper had to cancel due to a family emergency. I’d just finished reading OUT OF MY MIND with the boys and we are HUGE fans. But Nikki Grimes is such an eloquent speaker and writing royalty, I couldn’t stay disappointed. In fact, I could listen to her description of a girl’s first kiss all day long. Her voice. Her words. He perception and humor. It was amazing.

*I have been day dreaming for the better part of my life.

*It’s all right. Just keep writing. You’ll figure it out eventually.


Some other conference highlights as the big weekend comes to a close…


Tomie dePaola giving out the Tomie dePaola Award for Illustration


Jane Yolen giving out the Mid-list Author Grants (And it was her birthday!)


Hanging out with my roommie. It was Jeannie Intrieri‘s first national SCBWI conference. I think she’s hooked. <3


Getting more Kate Messner books for the boys and I to read. <3 We are uber fans!!!


The hustle, bustle and blur of everyone trying to meet their favorite authors and get their books signed.


And the moment you realize that it’s a l-o-n-g time until the 2014 LA SCBWI Conference in August. *le sigh*

I’ve done it! Another conference blog for the archives. Even though they are a lot of work to put together, I know I’m going to continue to look back at these memories and bits of wisdom and be so glad that I’ve journaled them. I also really enjoy how many people have told me how much they love the conference blogs. You guys rock!

What other kinds of blog posts–here or on other sites–do you find the most useful/memorable?

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Am I a Writer? Check Your Grocery List

Filed under: Blogging, Check-it-out, Community, Pondering, Publishing, Writing


If you write words down on paper, you my friend, are a writer.

If you dream about writing words on paper, you’re a dreamer. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t getting close. If writing is your goal, you’re almost there. You just have to take that extra step. And by the way–you still get to be a dreamer. You don’t have to give that up. In fact, it’s part of the job. Day dream and scribble stuff about it on paper. Or type it. We do that too, now a days.

So far you’re with me, right? We dream and scribble. But the scribble has to have purpose. It involve words with intent. It can’t be  just your grocery list.


I’m sitting home and feeling hungry, dreaming about chocolate chip cookie dough. I Decide I must have dough NOW. But I also need five other things at the store. Milk to go with the cookies. Paper towels to clean up the mess. And shampoo, olives and tomatoes. Because when does life make sense? So, I scribble down my list of five things plus chocolate chip cookie dough ingredients and presto….now I am a writer. NOT!

To be a writer you have to dream, scribble and create with purpose. It might only be meaningful to you, but that’s ok. No one says a writer’s audience has to be bigger than one. Each writer should  find value in what they put on the page.

Now, don’t mistake meaningful with serious. It doesn’t have to be serious. It also doesn’t have to be particularly brilliant. It simply has to be connected to you. Really, it’s not that hard. It doesn’t even have to be conscious intent. You wouldn’t believe how much of myself I find in my writing AFTER I go back and examine it–even the word doodles. (the little bits and pieces that come from our subconscious)

Writing is many, many wonderful things. Just not the grocery list. But feel free to day dream while doing your shopping. I do it all the time.



Now you know if you’re a writer or not. And if you use my definition, there are a lot more writers out there than you expected. But don’t worry, not all of them want to be authors. I hear some of you gasping. It’s true, lots of writers strive to be published, but not everyone does. It’s ok–it’s all good. Tolerance people. There’s room for all us nuts in the nut bowl. But you’re not wrong either. There are lots of us that do want to be published. It’s like an itch we can’t scratch. An itch covered in poison ivy in the middle of our back where we can’t reach it. But we keep working on it until we no longer have the itch.

Oh, wait–I just spilled the beans.

I told you the secret to getting published some day. YOU KEEP WORKING ON IT. It’s not magic. It won’t happen without the effort. This is not a what came first? the chicken or the egg? scenario. Everyone starts as a writer. NO ONE STARTS AS AN AUTHOR. I mean it–grocery lists do not get published. Imagine walking down the grocery store aisle, slipping your fingers into a jumbo tub of cookie dough (because you don’t have patients to wait until you get those fresh ingredients home) licking your fingers. Yum! Then you drop your grocery list. And then a publisher walks by and picks it up. YOU’VE BEEN DISCOVERED!!!

Yeah, it NEVER happens that way.

So for the writer who is itching to be an author, let me recap…



have intent.

keep working.


Right now I’m going to stop and hold you. A great big, warm, itchy, covered-in-cookie-dough hug. Because I have to tell you the hard part. You can do those four things and never get published. There is secret sauce. It’s ingredients are some well guarded combination of luck, timing, talent, personality, cat hair and chocolate.

*hold me closer*

Here is the truth about publishing and life…


You can do everything “right” and still get it “wrong.”

Only that’s not how you should look at it. It’s not “right” and “wrong.” IF Yoda were here, he’d say it’s WRITE or WRITE NOT. I love Yoda. So wise that little green cutie pie.

I will always choose WRITE. I remember what WRITE NOT feels like. It’s not a place I ever want to be again. But since I’ve been there, I do understand. WRITE=COURAGE. Yup–you guessed it. Totally don’t need courage to write the grocery list. You need it to write with intent and to keep going when people tell you you suck monkey balls. You also need it to take an infant, toddler and preschooler grocery shopping with you. (Thank goodness those days are over.) But you don’t need it to write the grocery list.

And in case your wondering–we all have courage. It’s a part of our make-up. It comes down to choice. Who do you decide to be today? That one is up to you. What you should know is when I look back over all the occasions I bowed to fear, I’ve always had regrets. But on all the occasions where I’ve found my courage, even when my knees were knocking, even when I chose “wrong”–I never had regrets. Trust me, there is good stuff on the other side of courage.


Advice for the writer who hopes to be published, but regardless of what’s in the sauce, wants to live their best life…



have intent.

keep working.

be courageous.


How can you help out writers, who hope to be published or are trying to sell their damn books, while still living their best life? Be supportive. We are not competing against each other. Instead think of it as a group of people who are on a quest to turn the whole world into readers!!!!  *fist pump* There is power in numbers and kindness.

Today I’d like to introduce you to a writer friend who hopes to be published and who’s trying to live her best life with courage. Meet Jeannie Intrieri.



Jeannie writes YA fiction and has just started a blog. I very clearly remember how hard it is to start writing posts. Is anybody out there??? I went years without comments or any idea if anyone was really reading my blog. Hello? You guys are still with me right?

Anyway, I thought it would be really nice if you could stop by and check out Jeannie’s blog. She wrote all about today’s topic from her own perspective. Check out…SO YOU THINK YOU CAN WRITE?

You can also connect with Jeannie here:




And I think we should keep the good will going. Do you have a writer friend that has a really great overlooked blog? Today is the day to give them a shout out! Tell me about your writer buddy and post a link to their blog in the comments. If you have the time dear readers, stop by and check out all the blogs listed. Why? Because we’re a community and we dream together, we write together, we share intent. We cheer each other on to keep working and we look to each other to find our own courage. We are writers.


Happy Halloween!!!!!!



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