Every year, I like to attend the Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) conference. And this year was no different. It’s held in various cities throughout the U.S., and this year, it was in the Mile High City of Denver, CO.
RWA’s conference and my experiences have changed a lot over the years. When I first joined RWA, I had a dream of being a published author. I was overwhelmed by my first conference, and it wasn’t half the size it is now. Today, 2,000+ aspiring writers and authors attend hundreds of workshops held during the week. You can learn how to craft a better scene, how to create better character, how to navigate the business of writing, you can even learn police procedures on investigating murders. Now, I actually teach a workshop at the conference, and it’s always fun. I think inspiring other writers, paying it forward to all those who were there to offer me advice, teaching craft or just offering words of wisdom, is my favorite part of the conference.
When others come up and tell me that I inspired them, or that I’ve given them something that will help them with their work, it gives me a sense of sharing my passion. I love what I do and I want others who love storytelling as much as I do to live their dream.
Then there’re the fans. This year I had a fan that came all the way from Louisiana to see me. (And if you are reading this, I went looking for you to buy you a drink and couldn’t find you.) Her hug and telling me how much my book got her through some difficult times was like a cocktail of feel good emotions. Thank you.
And then there’re my writing buddies. Friends that I’ve known for years but don’t see often since we live in different states. When we see each other, there are smiles, hugs, chitchat, and we share our writing successes and woes as well as a glass of wine or cup of coffee. One dear friend even helped me out by doing a short video. She took time out of her schedule to do this. Thank you, Peggy! You’re the greatest. Then there was the spend-the-night party with my roommate, laughing at each other bed hair and giggling like teens.
Of course there are the industry folks, too. Editors, publicists and agents. The dinners and cocktail parties. The late night get-togethers, and a few more drinks that I partake of than when I’m home. Then there’re the aching feet. (Hey, at home I’m in tennis shoes.) I don’t think anyone would have appreciated it if I’d removed my bra during the signing. So, it’s good to be home, but at the same time I’m already missing the friends, the hugs, the laughter, the comradery you feel when you are amongst so many other writers. I can say that RWA is like a family reunion. You may not know their names or where they live, but if you spend just a few minutes with them, you feel like they’re family.
I’m already looking forward to New York next year!