About this time of year, I find that many writers will ask me if I'm planning to attend the annual SCBWI conference in Los Angeles. It's expensive, they say. It takes all day to get there if you're coming from another part of the country. By the time the fourth day rolls around, people are typically pretty exhausted.
I tell them I know. I go each year. I go because as a writer, our work is usually completed alone in a room. It is seen by a select few, our critique groups, our agents, and if we're lucky, our editors. Going to the conference is a way to connect with other writers, to learn what's going on in the writing world, to encourage those who have yet to begin, and to tell those who have created books so moving to us, we are not sure we would've started writing without having read their work.
In case you haven't registered, here's the link: http://www.scbwi.org/
I hope to see you there.