I'm not a crowd person. I enjoy solitude, but despite that, I love the RWA National Conference! The very first RWA conference I attended was in Reno,Nevada in 2005. I’d dreamed of attending before that, but most extra pennies I had went toward raising kids—a worthwhile expense, to be sure—so scraping together the conference fee and airfare was beyond my means. You can imagine my excitement, then, when I discovered that the conference was going to be held in the city where I did my “big shop”, only 175 miles away!
That conference was life changing. I met the editor I was communicating with (by communicating, I mean that she was sending me rejections and I was sending her new renditions of the manuscript after receiving said rejections). I took every class I could. I introduced myself to Debbie Macomber in the elevator. I soaked up romance writing energy and to this day, when I stay at the conference hotel in Reno, I feel vestiges of that energy. It made me become a more dedicated writer.
This year’s conference in Atlanta felt particularly inspiring. I took as many classes as possible, bought the recordings so I could listen to those I missed, soaked up the energy and came home ready to write. I also trekked to downtown Atlanta during a rainstorm, complete with flash flood warnings, wearing a plastic bag so that my roomie could buy a power cord at the Apple store. Quite the adventure. FYI—if you want people to volunteer to help you find your way in a large city, wear a plastic bag.
|Here are three of my fellow bag people readying themselves for|
the wet trek back to public transit.
The moral of my story is that if you are a writer and have the opportunity to attend a conference or writers retreat, do. It doesn't have to be large—in fact, small regional conferences can be beneficial in ways the larger conferences are not. It’ll boost your creativity and writing energy and you may get to have an adventure--with or without a plastic bag. You’ll make writing friends and contacts and come home ready to write. Go for it!