The theme of the SCBWI-Carolinas fall conference in Charlotte this past weekend was “Oh, the Places We’ll Go.” And where I went was away from my computer screen, out of my hole, my busy-ness, my stale state of mind, and my writer’s block and into a world of possibilities, dreams, connections, inspiration, and support with fellow writers. Now if that isn’t good mental health for a writer, I don’t know what is.
Writing by its very nature is lonely, isolating, stressful, and emotionally draining. Ironically, it is often the chosen profession or obsession of creative people in less than stellar mental health who are ill-equipped to ride the roller-coaster of rejections.
No matter what your state of mind or stage in the writing process these days, you might be surprised at what you’ll find when you venture out “to go places.”
Take me, for instance. I’m the queen of lurkers on several writers’ listserves. I haven’t darkened the door of our local critique group in years, and I rarely venture out to conferences these days. Maybe it was the spirit of Dr. Seuss himself, or the shere desperation of one writer in search of an agent that drew me to the SCBWI-Carolinas conference this past weekend in Charlotte. No matter. Within a few short hours of writerly immersion I found encouragement from fellow authors (especially Alan Gratz), a second wind for the agent pursuit, and a fresh twist for a new manuscript rolling around in my head.
Thanks, Dr. Seuss and (SCBWI conference leaders). I really needed that!