My advice to anyone on the fence as to go to a conference, especially the RWA National conference, is to go. The experience is like none other.
I’ve just returned from DC where the national conference was held this year, and I’m totally exhausted. It might take me weeks to recover. The funny thing is I didn’t feel drained at all while at the conference. The energy was amazing. Every workshop
I attended provided information I didn’t have or brightened light moments which for me had for some reason or another dulled over time.
Networking is probably the biggest reason to go to a conference. Your circle of will friends grow. I’m so happy to have met a number of my on-line friends face to face, especially my Golden Heart sisters and the Elements Chapter ladies—along with a few of their husbands, and new friends (waving). The conversations and laughter we shared strengthen our bond. I also met readers. I was so excited when one asked me to sign a DayTimer I had given her. Yeah, I know it’s not a book, but still. And one day soon.
Also, the chance to just sit and chat with NY Times authors, agents and editors is an opportunity none of us should pass up. I met several agents, my publisher, and a few editors. A particular editor and I found we’re co-24 NUTS. We chatted about next season and the twists that might occur.
In a social setting, my DH and I spent hours talking to Deb Webb. One sweet lady. We chatted with Suz Brockmann and her hubby—the guys talked playing baseball. Suz and I talked about mending them up after a game. Frozen peas do have another use besides being part of a health meal. DH also chased and caught lighting bugs for Maureen Child and friends, who had never seen them before. I spent an hour chatting about the industry and craft with Jordan Dane (She was awesome), and met Allison Brennan while doing so. Avon author, Deb Mullins, dished out advice and hugs as only she can. Along with my long distance good friend, Intrigue author, Jan Hambright. And of course I ran into Brenda Novak, who I adore—not only for her writing but because she is an example of an author who gives back. I could name a hundreds of authors but this post could go on forever.
I believe no matter what line of work you’re in conferences can be invaluable to your career.
What are your reasons for attending conferences, or not? Please share. And if you had a favorite moment or learned some great at RWA this year, please tell.