The festival is now over and it was a great success. (Kudos David Levithan, editor, author, and organizer extraordinaire!) As an author, an editor, and a reader myself, I found it valuable to attend for a whole host of reasons. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading I did at the library for about 60 high school students because of the astute, funny, and intriguing questions from the completely engaged kids. It also reminded me who I was writing for -- actual living, breathing teenagers. And it was reassuring too. When asked about how we deal with writing challenges, what we do first when we sit down to write, about our process at various stages, we all had completely different answers. That's right, folks. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to getting the manuscript written. You find what works for you -- no right, no wrong, just writing. Even the most seasoned writer needs to be reminded of this.
I also found the panels and other readings inspiring as well, as much for their content (really interesting info/discussions, great fiction) but also for the shared sense that reading and writing is to be celebrated. And what was also great -- all panels, signings, and readings were free and open to the public. Next time you hear about these kinds of events, I strongly urge that you attend! I know that I will.