I had the pleasure of speaking/slash/attending two lovely SCBWI conferences recently: Philly (my childhood hometown- Go Haverford Fords!) and Minnesota (Go Garrison Keillor!). Besides meeting so many talented illustrators, one of the other best things was meeting Lin Oliver... Twice! I didn't set out to conference-stalk her- purely coincidence. Her speech about co-founding the SCBWI and her path to a successful career as a writer was inspiring. Look, I even took notes! That porcine fellow at the bottom has been popping up in my next story idea...
Her tips for a smoother road to publication were as follows:
1. Define yourself as a professional ("Hello, I'm Victoria Jamieson, and I'm a children's book illustrator!")
2. Write or draw before you're published. Use any opportunity to practice your craft. (Thank you, 8 months of working as a portrait artist!)
3. Set goals with deadlines.
4. Be brave about getting your work out there (Thank you, soul-crushing RISD crits!)
5. Be part of a community.
6. Have the courage to stay with your own voice and vision.
7.-- and this was my very favorite, which she said she heard from Bruce Colville (whom I met at the Nashville SCBWI conference):
FOLLOW YOUR WEIRDNESS. I think that is such a great motto!
8. Do market research as if it were your business.
9. Enjoy your creative life on the road to publication.
10. Keep a success chart.
11. I know there were 11 points, but unfortunately my list somehow ended at 10. Ah, that's why I always stunk at taking notes.
Anyway, both conferences were very inspiring to me, as always. If you're interested in becoming a member, check out the SCBWI website here!