When I first saw the word "takeaways" in people's conference reports, I was confused. What were takeaways? Were they giving out free food?!? I was even MORE disappointed that I had missed the event!
But no, takeaways are key messages you've learned at a conference. They can vary from person to person, depending on their own situations and experiences.
I'll be posting more details about my takeaways from various panels and workshops, but overall my main takeaways were:
1. What's most important: STORY and CHARACTERS. Some panelists listed both while others just listed story, but the message was the same. It doesn't matter what format a book is in if the story sucks. Voice and style can help make good writing, but aren't nearly as important as having a story and characters that the reader cares about.
2. Do the work. Get it written. Don't get too obsessed with the process, or networking and promoting, or all the other extras that can be good but NOT if they're keeping you from doing the work. This is something that has really hit home for me, which is why I'll probably be easing back somewhat from social media. (Ok, I'll still be posting a lot compared to some people, but it'll be easing back for me!)
Both of these apply to both writers AND illustrators -- I'll be interpreting the takeaways from an illustrators' point of view and posting them in the SCBWI Illustrators' Mentees Blog soon.