What can I even say about the RWA nationals? If you’ve never been to a writers conference you are so completely and utterly missing out on amazing. It was better than amazing. It was amazing on a sugar rush. And I was a nervous ball of energy the entire dang time. But is a good way.
Here are my top 5 favorite things about attending a Writers Con (in no particular order, because, come on. Trying to order these would blow my mind, they are all that awesome!).
1. Meeting other writers IRL. I mean in the living, breathing, flesh. Writers are not just avi’s on the interweb. They are real people!! *gasp* I know, I know. I didn’t believe it myself (at first). I thought Nora Roberts might actually be a sleek, sentient, word-producing computer from the future come back to destroy us with tear-jerking stories of love and heartbreak. But no, she’s actually a really real person. AND. I. MET. HER.
Pretty cool, right? But better than meeting Nora Roberts I met a CP, former LitReactor class mate, and friend: Cherylanne. She was just an avi until last week when we actually got to meet face-to-face. It was awesome!
2. Free books. Like the real paper kind. For FREEE! Yes yes, I can afford to buy them but I’m like the rest of you. I’m stingy when I spend my money. When I buy books I generally buy books that I know I will like (based on reviews or, more often, based on the authors twitter persona and back jacket blurb). So when I walked into a Romance Writers convention I have to admit, I was terribly out of my element. I love a good romance but I don’t read a ton of it. Not to say I haven’t. But it’s been a while. And I was never too keen on historical. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as small town romance (but I’ve already read TWO of the small town romance books I picked up – I think I’m in love). Anyway, the point of this is to say the free books were amazing because they served to open my eyes to new work. I became a new reader. I exposed myself to more than just my YA/NA nitch. It was terrific and one of the absolute best parts of the Con. Because if we writers are not readers, reading widely and thoroughly, we are stagnating. (
Here my kitties are investigating my first day swag
Day 2 Swag
3. Education. I learned more than I could ever put up on this blog (but dog gone it, I’m gonna try). I learned about story structure in simple terms which struck a chord with me. Sure, I had read tons of books on structure but these lectures, given by published authors and their agents/editors really got through. I think my favorite lecture was about synopsis writing…although the goal-setting lecture by Cherry Adair was a close second. She’s hilarious! Cherylanne blogged some of her favorite tips from the conference here. Check it out.
4. Community. Writing is hard. It’s an all out battle against fear and doubt all the time. It never gets easier (from what I understand) and it never gets less scary. But at the conference there was so much positive energy that the ATL Marriott Marquis seemed to hum. As bitchy as women can be (and we all know we can by huge bitches) the 3 days of RWA was filled with positive, supporting, caring, energy. People were helping each other with pitches over breakfast, they were encouraging each other over lunch, and letting loose to enjoy each other’s company over dinner and drinks. I’d say it was like a sorority meeting where the girls actually like each other – but I’ve never been to a sorority meeting where the girls actually liked each other…so RWA is way better.
5. Inspiration. There were so many inspirational stories being shared. Everywhere I turned another author was telling a tale about how they got their agent or how they sold. The message wasn’t “this is some secret club that only cool kids can join” it was “if I can do it so can you.” And the luncheon speakers were amazing. First of all, they took the stage to speak in front of more than 2,000 people so hat’s off to them for having amazing lady-balls of steel. Second, both of them made me laugh and cry. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more motivated to push forward in my writing career than I do now.
Want more? Check out my interview with Cherylanneabout our RWA experience hosted by YA CONtEMP-O-RAMA.
Have you attended a writers conference? RWA or another? What were your experiences?