I joined The Society of Childrens' Book Writers and Illustrators (an organization that is by and of authors and illustrators of childrens' books). Why would I do such a thing? Because I am all-in on this like I've never been on anything in my life aside from my wife and kids. Although I don't think I'll have a chance to make it to a conference this year (and don't really have any interest in going to one in Los Angeles anyway), I've already learned a ton just by reading through the forums, and the members of the group who I've communicated with so far have been extremely kind and helpful. Thank you, internet, for still doing some good things for the world that have nothing to do with advertising or making people afraid of things that are not real.
I've been a member of AWP before, but it was always paid for by the university where I was enrolled, and the moment that I was asked to pay for my own membership, I immediately knew I would not. The only reason I attended AWP conferences was to spend time with friends. I sat in two or three panels in all my years of attendance, and I walked out on two of those. I don't mean to say that AWP is not for anyone, but I am saying it is not for me, and I am also saying that if you feel that way, then you are not alone.
SCBWI, however, is for me. I joined because I wanted to, and I am looking forward to learning as much as I can from people who are working at the same things that I am. Two books go out this week, and that means I am on to the next one. Pinky Panda Bear is going to check out the solar system in a rocket that runs on peanut oil.