Sunday, October 4, 2009

AMAZING! I Wasn't Stricken With a Case of CWFBS!

OK, so... I received a lot of ribbing from our fearless NJ SCBWI leader, Kathy Temean that my recent once a month blogging has got to stop and that I need to resume my once a week-former-blogging-self. It was like she was channeling the spirit of my dead mother, the guilt thicker than molasses... so fine! I get it. Point well taken. I will resume my normal once a week blogging. I promise-ish... Okay, I will do my best. How's that... (I know she is sitting reading this saying, not good enough. A promise is a promise... *sigh*)

Anyway, I am back from the fabulous, the amazing, the all-inspiring Toms River weekend. I cannot say enough about this workshop. But before I go on and on about that... Thank yous are in order.

First, thank you to Kathy Temean and Laurie Wallmark for putting together this stupendous mentoring weekend. What an amazing opportunity!

Thank you to our wonderful, encouraging, and sweet-as-apple-pie (or lemon squares...) editors, Lisa Yoskowitz from Penguin's Dutton and Eve Adler from Henry Holt . (Who, by the way, I would give anything to have the experience of working with at any point in my career.) Every writer I spoke with said they had such a great critique session and found each editor approachable, friendly, easy to talk to, and full of such insightful comments and suggestions regarding both their MS and the industry in general.

Third, thank you to all the novelists who had the daunting task of reading 180 pages total and offering supportive, yet informative critiques.

Although, I did not read any of the PB manuscripts, I spent some time getting to know this special group of gifted writers as well, and it was a pleasure getting to know all of you (PB writers, novelists, and editors alike).

This is the first time I have come back from a conference/workshop without "Conference/Workshop Furrowed Brow Syndrome," CWFBS for short. Come on ladies, you know what I'm talking about. CWFBS is what happens to writers near the end of the conference/workshop weekend when you've heard such an onslaught of feedback and information, and as if it helps in the process somehow of contemplating all that info in your head, your brow begins to pucker.

This simply did not happen.

Well, it almost happened after Kathy suggested that page 30 (out of a 30-page submission) was really my page 1... So, I almost came down with a serious case of CWFBS on Sunday morning after sleeping on this idea. But once I was in the room full of inspiring writers and editors, I was cured.

Sometimes a serious case of CWFBS occurs when you come home from such a weekend. You walk through the door, relived to be home, happy to see your family and pets, when your grab your briefcase weighted with critiques and reality sets in. UGH! Now you have the arduous task of wading through all the critiques to ponder their suggestions.

But, again, it didn't happen.

Why is that? What sets Toms River apart from the knowledge-filled June Conference or any other great workshops offered through NJ's SCBWI where cases of CWFBS have been known to sweep through the room like a flu epidemic? Why didn't it happen here?

You might think it was the gorgeous fall weather with a kiss from the summer sun. Could be. You might think it was the proximity to the ocean. Maybe. You might think it was just simply getting away for a weekend. Possibly.

I think it was the cast of characters. And not just the ones on our pages. It was a coming together of a diverse group of dedicated women who have made children's book writing/editing their life's work, the relaxed ease of friendship that comes from this commonality which creates a bond among essentially strangers.

When I taught kindergarten, I used to end the school year with the same bulletin board: We started the year as strangers but we ended as the closest of friends. This was true about this weekend.

Photos were taken, hugs were shared, warm words of support were spoken, and the awesome task was understood by all about what it takes to make this dream a reality. And to each of us I raise my proverbial glass and say, To us! To our dreams. To our stories. To our perseverance. I know I will be seeing you on the bookshelves one day! L'Chaim!

Hugs and kisses and wishing you all the best,


PS, Please send me your blog/website links. I would love to add an "in attendance" below. This is what I have so far...


illustration poetry said...

thank you very much for letting me join this blog.

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

You are very welcome and thank you for visiting my blog. I went to your blog, too. What a talented artist! Welcome to the blog-o-sphere, btw.

Rebecca Gomez said...

Sheri--I agree. You really do have to start updating more often!

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

HA! Thanks. You know, it's so hard sometimes to balance work, kids, writing, blogging, housework, etc. So I pulled back and thought once a month at the beginning of each month would be fine. Who knew I would receive such abuse for it this weekend(meant in the spirit of friendship and looking out for me, I know.)

My family and writing must always come first before blogging. =] But I am so glad I've been missed.

Barrie said...

Sounds like it was a great conference!

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

It truly was like non other I have ever experienced before.

StrugglingSerpent aka BL McIlvain said...

Okay - Sheri - so you hooked me with your wonderful personality and enthusiasm and OMG wonderful MS. I am now your nyscbwibf. BF meaning "Blogger Friend". Nice Blog!!! I want to learn how to do this! Yes, Kathy and Laurie give sooo much to us - don't you think? Great retreat! You described Lisa and Eve perfectly. Thank you to them for giving us their time and knowledge. And thank you to our novel buddies for their perceptive comments - WOW! And finally, I'd like to thank the Academy....

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, sounds awesome I thought about going, but I had already gotten in to Rutgers and I really couldn't do two conferences in one month.

Maybe I'll see you there next year!

Cynthia J. Iannaccone said...

Hi Sheri!
It was very nice to meet you at the retreat.... I didn't realize it, but I was following your blog!

Jean Wogaman said...

Okay, Lucky, I am officially jealous. :) Your workshop sounds fabulous! In-depth critiquing with pros and fellow aspiring authors in a beautiful setting is just what this writer is craving.

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

Bettelynn, funny! I am thrilled to be your njscbwibf! But… you need to update your blog now too. So let me know and I will send you some linky love.

Corey, you’re in NJ, right! You need to attend some of our events. They are really awesome and plus, then we’d get to meet once and for all! Congrats on Rutgers. That is really great. And yes, two conferences in one month might end in an almost fatal episode of CWFBS…

OMG, Cynthia! That’s right!!!! How funny is that! I knew your name sounded really familiar to me but I used to do the mailing lists for Kathy and Laurie, so a lot of NJ SCBWI names are familiar to me. I just assumed that was why! So now it’s not only a small world but a small blog-o-sphere!

Jeanie, don’t be jealous, join us next time. You won’t regret it. I can’t remember what state you are from…

OK, so I will admit, I really do miss this part of blogging! *sigh*

Kathy Temean said...


Well, here I am checking on you. Good Girl! Remember me telling you how much you have grown as a writer? I'm thinking that maybe forcing yourself to write every for your blog helped in that improvement. Plus, you probably learned a lot doing researrch for your blog. So even if it took time from writing your novel, I don't think it has been a waste of time. And look how many people enjoy what you did and what you are doing. They are all going to enjoy buying your book, when you sell it.


Kelly H-Y said...

Sounds like a FABULOUS weekend!!! LOVE CWFBS ... too funny (and oh-so-true!!!!!). Thanks for your recent comment too ... it made my day! :-)

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

Homerun driving the point in, Kathy, and thanks for caring so much about me that you would not stop until I saved myself from me! =]

Kelly, I'm glad you liked my "I've fallen and can't get up" comment on your blog. I LOVE your blog. Not only is it always so pretty to look at but I love what you write about. If only we weren't about 2500 miles away - we could meet at SCBWI events!

Kelly H-Y said...

I would love that, Sheri! Too bad for those 2500 miles in between!!! Thank you so much for your kind comment ... you just made my day again!!!

Clementine said...

Sounds like a fabulous weekend! I'm so glad you had such a good time, and I've missed your blog, gal!

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

Thank you, Amy. I have part of your MS critiqued btw. I hope to have it done soon.

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“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous