The Vermont Novel Writing Retreat was terrific! I loved spending the weekend with authors Holly Black and Coe Booth and editor Alvina Ling. They were excellent presenters and fun to be with as well! I enjoyed getting to know the participants. I feel like I have many more friends in the writing community.

I’m always surprised by that, but it always happens. I remember the first conference I ever attended—the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators regional conference about 15 years ago. Somehow, I convinced myself to go. I think I had decided that if I ever really wanted to write, I needed to move forward. I needed to try new things.

I remember walking into the bustling lobby of the hotel where people were getting their conference materials and greeting each other. I didn’t know anyone. But I picked up snippets of conversation around me—snippets of talk about books and writing and authors—and knew I had found my people. I walked through that whole first conference in awe.

I’ve been there every year since. Now when I arrive, I run into people who have become my friends, people I stay connected with throughout the year. It’s a reunion of sorts and a chance to connect in person for writing which is such a solitary activity.

In two weeks the NESCBWI conference happens in Springfield, MA. This year, for the first time, I’m presenting a workshop with my friend and writing partner Jo Knowles. I know there will be first time attendees wandering around the same way I did that first conference long ago.

I can’t wait to meet them!