Last night when I sat down to tell Hubby about the RWA Conference, I had to look at my calendar to remember where I was and at what time, because it was all one big exhausting blur. A big, exhausting, happy blur.
But there are a few things that are popping right in the front of my brain, and since I stinketh at writing comprehensive summaries of things, I want to note a few things.
Agreed. And it’s larger than that. There is a lot of effort, exhaustion, and sometimes a small amount of drama surrounding RWA National, but moments like that one speak volumes about how extraordinary RWA as a community and an organization is. There are a lot of folks who have problems with it as a whole, and there are surely some things I would love to change or see addressed, but consider the amazing combination of elements that makes up the RWA National convention:
1. It’s a business conference
2. About writing
3. And demystifying the publishing process
4. And examining and educating writers and aspiring authors on writing techniques,
5. and business techniques
6. and marketing techniques
7. and how to schmooze successfully in the bar. (Very Important)
8. It’s a one-stop experience for a lot of aspiring folks, because there’s craft, sales, pitching, research, and marketing advice.
9. It’s a business conference dedicated to the business of writing.
10. Specifically, dedicated to the business of writing romance.
11. And it is—pay attention – this is the really crucial part.
12. Created, run, administrated, directed, supported, and attended by an audience of mostly
Seriously. It shouldn’t be so amazing, but it truly is. Women in the thousands steer a business made of millions of dollars, and the conference is created and supported by women.
For the past five days, I’ve been surrounded by amazing ladies from ages ahead of and behind my own, at various stages of their careers, all of which are based on writing romance and reading it. Not one of those winners said, “I don’t read romance, but thanks for this award.” I’m in a rather strange position when I attend because I’m not a fiction writer (ergo not a competitor) and I’m not a publishing professional, and I’m not really press, but I am a long time member and volunteer for RWA. I’m sort of a random person who doesn’t quite fit, but does. To say I don’t like large crowds is a massive understatement, but I’d voluntarily walk into the hotel bar at an RWA Conference without hesitation.
Barbara Caridad Ferrer (three names = very important) calls it “hanging out with our tribe.” Carrie Lofty said she felt like she was being welcomed home. And that’s true – where else are you going to find erudite, dedicated women who pay a monsterload of time and effort, plus some money, to go hang out with a few thousand romance readers, writers, and publishers? And in my always so very humble opinion, every woman that attends adds to the event, because that which is RWA National is truly, marvelously, and ass-kickingly extraordinary for so many, many reasons.
Big ups and mad props to the RWA staff and volunteers who put on such a great conference. See y’all next year.