Next week is the Romance Writers of America National conference, the ultimate conference in the US for romance writing professionals. It’s THE place to learn, socialize, meet industry professionals, and network. My first RWA National conference was quite a few years ago in New York. I was both nervous and exhilarated at the same time. Five conferences later, that hasn’t changed. Though I feel those same emotions for different reasons.
This year I’ll be meeting my Harlequin editor for the first time, assisting with the RITA awards production, putting faces to the names of my fellow Desire authors, and helping my little sis celebrate her Golden Heart final. I’ll also get to attend as a PAN (Published Authors Network – recognition of an author achieving a certain level of professional sales with her writing) member, my debut year after making PAN with my first Harlequin contract.
But I’ll also get to meet up with authors I only get to see at conference (like my Ruby Slippered Sisters) and hopefully get to go to a workshop or two on topics that aren’t widely available at chapter meetings.
Though attending conference means 4 1/2 days of constant people, along with the stress of being “on” all the time, and even the good stress of catching up and meeting people, these times navigating crowds and learning to pull myself out of my comfort zone have been some of the biggest growth opportunities of my life. They’ve helped this introvert develop better people skills, more confidence, priorities, and learn to accept not being perfect. By Sunday morning I’m exhausted but happy.
So next week I’ll be silent (because I’ll be prepping, then gone), but I hope to return with many, many happy memories and some pictures to share!
Until then, share with us your most exciting/exhausting growing experiences. If you’d attended Nationals, what’s your favorite memory?