Today was day one of the conference, and it was definitely inspiring to hear from some great authors/illustrators. My takeaway from the break out sessions with editors and agents was that your focus should be writing a great book. The gimmicks about marketing, query letters, contracts, etc. is far, far down the list. Numbers 1-10 should just be writing well.
I really enjoyed one of the key speakers, Jules Feiffer, both writer and illustrator (he did the pictures for Phantom Tollbooth). At 83, it is so clear how much joy he finds in his work, which he calls play. He said he goes into the process unafraid, in fact expecting, it may not work, but also knowing inside he'll make it work, even if it doesn't the first four or five times.
The other take away, oddly enough, is how nice it is to have less stuff to manage. I brought three dresses and a coat. I have no stuffed closets, no knickknacks, no crammed drawers of stuff to deal with - I can see the appeal of living simply for writers;-).
Good wishes to all. Tomorrow is day two, then I have a six o'clock evening flight back to Wisconsin.