I went to my very first Romance Writers of America Conference! To be honest, ‘thanks to COVID and everything being locked down’, I didn’t have to go far — it was a VIRTUAL conference and I only had to make the journey to my den where my desk and computer reside.
The conference was spectacular! The virtual aspect was just as new to RWA as the conference was to me. I was truly greedy and attended sessions non-stop (okay, except for 15 minute bathroom breaks, lol). Seriously though if one ever needed the encouragement and inspiration to be a writer, this was the ultimate opportunity. The knowledge that was imparted, the encouragement, and yes, even some networking, was so much more than I had expected.
Starting Friday morning, August 28, after a welcome from the RWA President, Alyssa Day, was a “First-Timers Meet-Up” which was done by ZOOM so we were truly in a nice group and it was a great ice-breaker. Following that was a whirlwind of sessions, which we were able to choose ourselves. Since I told the hubs that he was basically on his own for the weekend, I stayed GLUED to my computer screen. Several classes were held along with terrific Key-Note speakers (renowned author Xio Axelrod and past RWA President Shirley Hailstock). Ms. Hailstock’s speech was 150% inspiration and no matter where you are in your writing process, it was like manna to a starving soul.
There was a wonderful emphasis on diversity and being able to see, and tell, your story through other eyes; it was like the world was opening right in front of us. There were talks that sparked the imagination and prompts to help us use our everyday journeys in our writing. And of course there were innumerable sessions simply about CRAFT such as plotting and motivation, copyrights, and dealing with bloggers and reviews. I am so grateful for an excellent discussion from Win Day about Computer Management which was appropriately titled Saving Your Sanity; oh, if I had only known some of these “tricks” a month ago!
While I have been writing for most of my adult life I only began pouring my soul into romance writing since the late 90s. I connected with a small-press (now defunct) publisher in 2008 and literally felt my way through a lot of things I NEVER even dreamed of. I joined RWA and a local in-person chapter where I used to live in New York, but, and this is mostly my own fault, I never made enough use of the resources available to me. Through the years life changed. Ultimately we moved and there are no VERY local chapters where I now live and circumstances aren’t convenient for long journeys — so I found an online chapter (RWAOL) and recently have gotten in DEEP!
Thanks to the opportunities from RWA, both National and this online chapter, I am finding the inspiration and the confidence once again to write and to pursue a field I love so very much. In some ways I am a newbie and in others I’ve got the battle scars of experience. With the resources available to me, and the support and experience of those around me, I feel literally like I am coming alive again.
I am, once again, a writer.