It’s August (for one more day), the traditional time for back to school. One of my memories from the first month of school is the “what I did on my summer vacation” essay. So this is my attempt at recreating that experience.
This summer I attended my second RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference. This year it was in San Diego, California. Last year, I skidded into New York the day before the conference. This year, I went for a week and attended a few extra, smaller, conferences. For those who have never been, or wonder what on earth writers do at a conference, I’ll just summarize it by saying that I came home with my brain as full as my book bag. Here are a few highlights.
- I love San Diego. I’m from Arkansas. July is miserable at home. The weather in San Diego made me cry for all the right reasons.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. (Thank you, Grace Burrowes.)
- I have wonderful taste in friends. Last year, my first conference, I knew very few people. This year, my best memories involve reuniting with friends from last year and finally meeting people I’d only met online. (Yes, Inklings and Sisterhood of Suspense, I’m talking about you.)
- My critique partner, Carrie Nichols, is a superstar. Seriously. She knows everyone and doesn’t mind introducing me. Not only that, but she can now add a Golden Heart to her list of awards.
- Romance writers are an amazing group. Funny, smart, encouraging, and self-effacing. They don’t mind sharing what they do well.
- I laughed more in that week than I had since January. Yes, Beverly Jenkins is really that funny, but so is Sherry Thomas, and so are so many other authors (on so many different subjects).
- I was really glad to come home. I am an introvert. I can fake extroversion for short periods of time. Apparently about a week.
There are lots more things I could list, but this post is already late. Here’s what I’ll leave you with: If you’re a new author who’s never been to a conference and is terrified to go, don’t be. It will change you in great big, confidence-boosting, ways.
And, if you’re not a writer, or a romance writer, take a minute to talk to a few before you make a blanket observation about us or our chosen genre. You might just be surprised at who you find behind those delicious covers.