It wasn't that long ago (maybe 3 or 4 years) that right about now I would be gearing up to go to RWA's National Conference. I think the last one I attended was maybe 2009. I don't go any more. For one thing, it's pricy. For another, the workshops are very repetitive. And most of my writer friends go to the RT conference, and let's face it -- that's why I go, to hang out with friends.
I'm not saying there's nothing to be learned from the RWA con. There always has been and there continues to be lots of good workshops, parties, presentations, etc. But after my 3rd or 4th one, I found myself thinking, "been there, done that." It was great to be with friends, but I found the whole experience sort of draining, like a huge energy sink.
So I don't go anymore, but I still miss that feeling of excitement, that "ooh, can I get a pitch appointment with so-and-so?" and "let's meet for drinks, there's so much to talk about!" RWA has been slow to change and accept authors with smaller publishers (I was thoroughly snubbed one year by a group of authors who all but turned their backs on me when I explained I was with The Wild Rose Press), so for me there's still a feeling of being the odd person out, even though I have 20-some books under my belt.
I think what I miss is that excitement of being a newbie, of feeling as though each conference was A Chance -- a chance to connect with the right agent or editor, a chance to rub elbows with the Big Ones, a chance to hang out with others who care about writing as a career. Now that I'm 5 years into my writing adventure, most of that excitement has worn off. I'd love to recapture it, but I suspect it's not easy to do.
So those of you going to National, have fun! Enjoy your adventure -- I enjoyed my times at the conferences and who knows, maybe I'll show up at another one again. I know I'll be at RT next year (Kansas City -- my back yard, so to speak). And maybe there's an RWA conference in my future ... you just never know.