Meg McKinlay.. This will be my first SCBWI conference and no one is more surprised than me that I’m actually going.
It’s not the distance or the expense, though those are certainly factors when you live, as they say, off the earth in
|Meg McKinlay, children's author and poet|
It’s just that I’m not really a joiner. I’m not really into groups and gatherings. I’m much happier getting all hermitty in my little study with only books and silence and the occasional grevillea-visiting honey-eater for company.
When I joined SCBWI, it wasn’t for networking or support or anything remotely groupish or social. It was because I had been trying and failing to crack that elusive first publication here in
Australia, and was considering submitting directly
to the US.
Lacking any contacts or information on the market there, I saw SCBWI as a
resource, something I might join for a year, strip-mine for information, and
then be on my way.
Six years later, I find myself the newly minted ARA for SCBWI West, heading off to the National Conference. I’m still not entirely sure how this happened, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I’ve found SCBWI to be such an incredibly welcoming organisation, supportive of gregarious networkers and solitary hermits alike, and also professionally useful in so many ways that go beyond the simple gleaning of facts and contact details. The wealth of knowledge among members, so generously shared, is one of SCBWI’s real strengths, and something I know will be a feature of what is shaping up to be an amazing conference.
I’m something of a paradoxical hermit in that, given the right circumstances, I love to talk. I love to debate, argue, and discuss. And I hope to do a lot of that over the course of the weekend. I’ll be participating in a panel on “Realistic Fiction”, and chairing another on “Industry News” with delegates from the ASA, CAL, and the NSW Writers Centre. And I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into those discussions. Mostly, though, I’ll be sitting back, listening to others, learning, mingling, enjoying being in the company of likeminded people.
I can’t say that I have any tangible goals for the conference other than Spend time with my tribe and Think about stuff. But I’m a fan of woolly goals, and suspect that will be more than enough to send me away satisfied.
Congratulations to Meg on her appointment as Assistant Regional Advisor for SCBWI West (Ed. :)