You may know the ancient tale of the Wild Boar and the Fox:
A wild boar was about to take a walk in the woods one pleasant day, but he stopped to sharpen his tusks against the trunk of a tree first. A fox, lazing in a nearby glade, laughed at the boar. “Paranoid much?” the fox teased. “I see no hunters. I hear no hounds. Why are you wasting time sharpening your tusks? It’s a beautiful day. Why not chillax?”
The boar snorted and said, “If I run into hunters and hounds on my walk, it will be too late to sharpen my tusks then, won’t it, foxy?”
And the moral is: Be prepared.
That is a good old tale. But if Aesop were a modern slave to the written word, he might have called his fable, The Writer and the Cottager:
A writer and her neighbour were packing up their cars on a Friday night. “I’m going to a writing conference,” the writer said, packing her laptop and business cards and pens. The neighbour laughed, closing his trunk on a cooler full of steaks and beer. “Why waste two days sitting inside talking with a bunch of writers if you’re not even done your manuscript? It’s a beautiful weekend. Why not chillax at the cottage?”
The writer snorted and said, “I need expert advice, I need peer support, I need to get the skills and inspiration to finish my manuscript. And I need to get away from the kids — they’re driving me nuts — and besides, the lake’s too cold for swimming.”
And the moral is: You should sharpen your tusks at a writing conference.
Next weekend – October 4-6 – is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)’s “The Art of Story” conference in Montreal. (I am very sad I’ll have to miss it – the lineup is fabulous.)
And next month – on November 16 – is the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers (CANSCAIP)’s annual Packaging Your Imagination conference in Toronto (followed by a CANSCAIP Get Published Bootcamp on November 17th at the same venue). Also with an awesome line-up, and you can join in from your home computer.
Check them out. Sign up if there’s a spot left. And get prepared for your next book.