But my husband, and my kids, both encouraged me to go for it. So I did and I am so very glad that I did. What an amazing experience! I roomed with two of my RWA Chapter mates and I honestly think that made the experience even more fun because at the end of the days we could come back and decompress and talk about our experiences. Sometimes we talked far too late into the night which would account at least partially for the extremely tired puffy eyes you see in almost all of the pictures! But it was worth it.
Connecting & Reconnecting
I also got to reconnect with some old friends I haven’t seen in years! Priscilla and I were critique partners back in another lifetime before kids and family derailed my writing for a short (longish) time. I am not exaggerating when I tell you I was so excited to see her that I got up in the middle of a presentation to hurry to the back of the room and give her a hug. As a person who normally goes out of her way NOT to draw attention to herself that was huge!
Speed Dating Style?
On Friday I had signed up to participate in a pitch session for editors and agents. When I arrived I discovered that the 6 people I had thought I was going to pitch had magically turned into 12 instead. So all of my research and careful consideration went *poof* right out the window and I literally had to wing it. I am not a person who wings it in those situations by choice so talk about outside of your comfort zones. The pitches went great and I was thrilled to meet so many editors and agents all in the space of about 30 minutes. The pitches were set up speed dating style–listen, I’ve been married for 24 years I had no idea what speed dating was beyond what I’ve seen in movies. I can tell you it’s FAST, and it’s high-pressure but the adrenaline rush is unmatched. If you get a chance, do it!
One of my absolute highlights though was the breakfast on Saturday morning, the final day of the conference, for chapter leaders. I’ve had the pleasure of serving as president of my chapter for the second year now, and for one year before that, I was a vice-president. The slideshow at the top of this post is from that Saturday breakfast, the woman seated next to me talking with her hands is Dee Davis, the president of RWA. I came out of that breakfast so invigorated and recharged for my chapter and for the national organization I almost couldn’t wait to get home. (Almost!)
If you’re reading this post because you’re trying to decide whether to invest the time, energy and money in attending RWA nationals let me help you decide. DO IT! There’s something so invigorating and exciting about being in a room with so many people who share your passion and your interest. The vibe is relaxed, casual, and “pay it forward” in mentality. Stand in line for coffee next to best-selling authors and listen to workshops given by your idols. I’m already planning on how I’m going to make it happen again next year!