Sunday, May 22, 2011

Conferences and workshops

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!


Terry Spear said...

I hope to go to that one, too, and see you there, Sheila!

Sheila Tenold said...

Thanks, Terry.

I'm sorry to miss RWA 2011 since Madeline Hunter is the keynote speaker. My husband and I had the good fortune to have breakfast with her at RWA 2010 in Orlando. What a fun and gracious woman.

Mona Risk said...

No RWA conference for me this year too. New York is too expensive and I don't have anything to pitch. But I enjoyed so much RWA Orlando.

Sheila Tenold said...

Yes, celebrating RWA's 30th anniversary made it a special conference, didn't it?

And our FTH meet and greet was fabulous!

Josie said...

Alas, no RWA conference for me this year, either. What a thrill to see Rita Clay! She is a legend.

Jill James said...

No National this year but I'm saving up for Anaheim next year because my husband can drive me there.

I love how you feel after a conference, so filled with confidence, and gung ho to write the next book.