Sunday, July 9, 2017

Laurie Halse Anderson Closing Keynote

Laurie Halse Anderson closes our conference by giving a shout out to her fellow introverts. Especially if this was your first conference, it's hard just to sign up, but you came here, and you aren't in your hotel room right now, so that's all a great job.

She thanks Lin and Steve for all they do, for changing the face of the children's book industry around the world.

Laurie asks us to take a moment to feel all the feels right now and in the next 24 hours take a chance to write or draw about this weekend so you can turn this into a touchstone moment you can take home with you.

Because, Laurie says, we have to go home, back to reality now. In the space we're in right now we feel like we can do anything.

The doubt and fear of our everyday life, of the current political situation, the fear of being found a fraud even if you are already published is what stops us from making the work we are so excited to make during weekends like these.

Laurie's giving us three ways to take all this love and energy home with us.

1. Laurie says, "You are the boss of your brain, and your brain is the boss of your emotional states. I know this to be true, I've done the research." When you start to spiral down into anxiety and fear, your lizard brain thinks you are about to be eaten, and all of your creativity shuts down.

Laurie's secret weapon for combatting this is the country of Denmark. She wants you to learn the word hygge. A warm, pleasant, and comfortable atmosphere, it's an interior coziness that extends to your external surroundings. A lot of it has to do with being surrounded by friendship and supportive, kindred spirits, too.

2. GET STARTED. Laurie blames our educational system for teaching us that the first draft is what we get judged or tested on. We don't get tested on our first drafts in the real world, first drafts are hot messes, the only way we can fix it is to let that mess be made and then revise it. You have to give yourself permission to suck. Revision is about clarifying, just like when you are getting your eyes examined and the doctor is trying out lens after lens. Lower your expectations to the basement and make a hot mess, you can clean it up later.

3. We are saving #3 for the conference goers, but we hope you have enjoyed all the posts on this conference blog and we would love to see you at a regional or international SCBWI conference in person some time soon, so you, too, can share in this bubble of love.

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