Over the weekend my critique group pal and I drove up to Buckeystown, Maryland, for a SCBWI* Regional Conference. We're aspiring children's book writers, though she's a giant leap closer to that goal than I am. Arbordale purchased her manuscript last year; it will be published next Spring. (How cool is that?!) Hoping to learn a little more about publishing our precious words and to learn shortcuts around the infamous slush piles** in publishing houses, we signed up for this conference.
The conference was close enough to allow us to drive up and back each day, rescuing our husbands from certain peril and the prospect of bed-timing our respective children by himself. Sherryn drove the first day, I drove the second.
On the first day, we took the major highways--the treacherous Beltway and always trafficky I-66. There were a ton of other cars on the road, in a rush to beat us to the next exit. As we either zoomed or inched along (there was never an in-between), we chatted about hopes and dreams like school girls, and then how to fit those hopes and dreams into our busy adult lives. We arrived at the conference early, ready to soak up every nugget offered, and ready to pimp our manuscript should the opportunity arise.
On the second day, I took a wrong turn practically out of the parking lot. I headed the wrong way on I-66. Luckily we realized it quickly and my handy dandy GPS showed us that this wrong turn was just fine; we could take this path, too. 15 North was a small backroad that wound around farms and antique stores, and across the Potomac on a picturesque old bridge. We arrived at the conference, albeit a totally different way.
Those two drives on those two days provided a refreshing reminder of the multiple paths that exist to get to the same goal. It's all about having faith and believing that you will indeed get there. Wherever "there" is for you.
* Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. www.scbwi.org if you're curious
** A slush pile is the giant pile of unsolicited manuscripts that sit, their pages crossed, hoping to be read and accepted, in the office of an agent or editor.