I love RWA conference and truly the RWA board out did themselves this year. With the floods in Nashville, they were left with little time to secure a location that could and would hold all of us.
Imagine 2500 romance writers in one place. And that’s not counting the people who came over to conference without actually attending it. Romance writers, readers, lots of great conversations, food, drinks, and very little sleep. It was great.
What wasn’t so great was the heat. Yes, I live in Florida and you’d think I’d be used to the sweltering weather. Not so much. In the middle of the state there isn’t a breeze, or at least not much of one. And of course, they had a couple of record breaking heat days while we were there.
And I have the best roommate in the world. None other than my BFF and critique partner, LKap. The two of us together can be dangerous, but it’s a no brainer fun will be a part of everything we do.
Seeing mine and LKaps peeps and meeting new ones is some of the best times at conference for me. These include not yet published, published authors, editors, and agents. This once a year time is the only time I get to see them face to face and do we have fun.
It’s not about pitching to these people; it’s not about the work load, but more about what’s going on with each other over the past year. Catching up and knowing when Saturday night and Sunday morning roll around the good byes are bittersweet. We’re ready to go home, sleep in our own beds (well, sleep period will be a good thing), yet knowing it will be many months before we have this time again is hard.
We’ll talk online and send texts (hey, even flashing truckers will be shared), but it’s a long time until we’ll all be together again in the VIP area.
Nope, not even going to begin to name them here, because it’s not about who they are, but what their friendship means to me and LKap.
Workshops are another great thing at conference. Some people attend as many as they can, while I’m a little choosier on which ones I go to. That’s not because I’m all that a bag of chips (trust me, I’m not and I know that I’m not), no, it’s because my local chapter has fabulous workshops each month. Several of the conference workshops were given by my chapter mates.
I did attend Donald Maass’s workshop and can I go on record to say OMG, it was amazing! Of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s funny and not bad to look at either. Heehee. I can honestly say if you’re given the chance to hear him, go. Don’t hesitate; don’t ask yourself if you can afford it or if you should spend the time. The answer is yes.
Conference brain does linger on, taking days to settle down and allow you to remember what you were going for when you’re standing with the refrigerator door open and have no idea why.
You’re proud that RWA members such as yourself raised a ton of money to give to literacy. This is huge to me as a writer.
The book signings during conference will have waiting in line early and your back aching as you carry another box, full of free books signed by your favorite authors and the new authors you’ll now be reading, back to your room to be shipped home or packed in your car.
So conference means: no sleep, conference brain (that leaves you feeling a bit unglued), fabulous workshops, seeing friends, and meeting new ones. You pitch editors or agents your baby in hopes they’ll want to see read it and love it. Your feet hurt but you’ve got amazing pictures in your Rita/Golden Heart attire. You may think you might be getting a little too old for staying up all night partying (and this is from the young ones). But the thing is you’ll do it again and again. Where else can you sit at a luncheon and nibble on chicken of some kind and laugh while Nora Roberts talks only to end up during the last few lines of her speech wiping tears wondering where they came from.
You’ll have renewed energy to pursue your writing career, and you may find out you don’t Suck (thank you Kimberly Lang ). You’ll know that when Nora Roberts tells you ‘We eat hard for breakfast’, it’s the truth. And you’ll understand exactly what she means.
I miss the VIP group tons already and I can’t wait until we can do all over again next year in New York!