Last week, I attended my first Writer’s Conference since deciding to write again after a long hiatus of many years. The Romance Writers of America’s National Convention, or RWA13 for short, exceeded my expectations in many respects. I found it well worth the time and money, and here’s why.
The sheer size of the conference was a bit overwhelming; I don’t have figures but heard numbers of 2,000- 3,000 attendees. I would not doubt it. Being in the presence of that large a number of other writers, people like me, for the first time was both thrilling and comforting. Age, physical attributes, and socio-economics were unimportant; we were all there for the same purpose- to learn and grow as writers. Whether you were published or not, famous or unknown, Traditional or Indie, you were as welcome as anyone else.
The workshops were for the most part very well presented and full of important information. My writer pals Linzy Antoinette, Chhaya Delaine, Lanie S. Flin, Ny Corson, Linda Joyce and I all scurried from class to class, jotting down notes and making new friends with other attendees. Linzy Antoinette even provided the play-by-play to Twitter, posting the highlights and nuggets of wisdom from each presentation.
My only critique would be, it seems the organizers underestimated the popularity of the topics “Self-Publishing” and “Writing Sex and Writing it Well”. Most of the workshops on Self-Pub were in small rooms and they were packed, with people on the floors against the wall. And the Sex Writing workshop was standing room only- who knew Romance writers would find sex interesting?! (Sarcasm font). Other craft and traditional topics had larger rooms that were half empty, so maybe they need to reevaluate that for next year.
It wasn’t all work, though- we attended some fun parties. The lovely and talented Annabel Joseph joined us for the Passionate Ink party, which had delicious food and an equally delicious demonstration by Author Eden Bradley. Then we headed over to the Georgia Romance Writers Masquerade party, for dancing and networking. We made contact with many other writers who were having as much fun as we were.
Speaking of delicious- one night we ventured into Velocity to hang out and discuss the day’s events. The waiter suggested their signature Chocolate Nachos, which generated confused and skeptical looks from all of us. But it looked good in the picture so we tried it.
To. Die. For. We attacked the pile of pita chips, chocolate syrup, ice cream, and cherries with gusto, leaving barely a marshmallow clinging to the empty plate. It occurred to me that a conference like RWA is just like that big, gooey dessert- something you don’t have every day, so you just have to dig in and enjoy it for all it’s worth. It may feel like excess while you are getting into it, and you are in a sugar-coma afterwards. But hey, no regrets, right? It’s something we will always remember.
And next year, I will definitely be back for more.