I’ve attended three RWA National Conferences over the years and benefited from each. Being with other writers and away from the keyboard lifts your spirits and, as a side benefit, widens your social network.
Last year at the conference in Orlando I attended a reception and kept staring at the blonde woman standing at the cocktail table across from me. I was blown away when I read her badge. It was Rita Clay Estrada! I mean, God, she is an RWA founding member. The RITA award is named for her. Here I was sipping wine with her while a group of us chatted about women writers. How cool is that! Ever the bold one, I asked if another attendee and I could have our pic taken with her. Cell phones are great stand-ins for that camera left in your room. It’s not the best photograph in my collection but I’ll always remember the moment.
I’m sorry to say I am not attending this year’s RWA Nationals in NYC. I’ll miss the excitement and thrills, and I know those of you who are going will have a terrific time. I spend so much time alone in front of a monitor that these outings are my chance at self-renewal as a writer.
Sometimes you find inspiration in your own backyard. I’ve decided to support my local RWA chapter and attend a couple workshops presented by a variety of authors. Last month I heard Jane Porter, Megan Crane and Liza Palmer speak about voice and its importance to you, the writer.
Yesterday I attended the LARA annual workshop, “A Day with Anne Stuart.” She spoke on a variety of topics from writing dark love stories and writer’s block to her survival strategies in today’s complex publishing market.
I came away impressed by her words and awed by her varied and lengthy career. First published at age 25, she’s survived more than thirty-five years in the romance business. With laugh-out-loud humor she peppered the presentation with her candid anecdotes, which left me re-energized and eager to get back to my writing desk.
I’m saving up for RWA 2012 in Anaheim, California, and hope to see you all there!