Tuesday, July 29, 2008

RWA: Feast for Writers

Like bees to honey, RWA members (Romance Writers of America) travel to the hive each summer. This year the hive is San Francisco, and for me, the national conference feels like coming home - wherever home happens to be that summer. I, along with all the other writer bees, arrive for the big festivities beginning Wednesday. This is my fourth conference - I missed one so as not to leave my newborn. Otherwise, it's a Must Attend event. Now my only new babies are books.

My first conference was in 2004. For new-bees, the conference experience is quite different than for pub-bees. I recall running into an Oklahoma author at the time who was a long-time pub-bee, and I asked her what workshops she was attending. She laughed and said, "Oh, I don't come for the workshops. It's a huge networking conference for me." I smiled, my huge highlighted workshop schedule in my bag, thinking, "when will it become a big networking event for me?" At the time, I had so much to learn. I can't believe just four years later, I've metamorphed from new-bee to pub-bee and care most about connecting with writer friends, meeting with my publicist, editor, publisher and agent and having fun.

I no longer let the ear-deafening buzz of the hive bother me. (Crowds have never been my thing.) This year I'm even taking my videocamera along to capture some great pieces for A/B TV to post on athenasbookshelf.com and YouTube. I want the world to see how fabulous this group of women is. If you see my camera, don't be a shy-bee.

If you're reading this and you're a new-bee, be sure and hit the literacy event Wednesday evening and peruse the schedule to hear from best-selling authors. I don't necessarily think their advice is any more sound than anybody else's, but you go in because you must know - you must believe - that someday that could be you giving that very same workshop. The publisher workshops are always enlightening to hear what they love and what they're looking for. The pub-hosted book signings where for the cost of standing in line a bit, you get a free author-signed copy from your favorite authors and lines.
The big shin dig is Saturday night at the "Oscar-ish" Rita (pubbed) and Golden Heart (unpubbed) awards ceremony. Unfortunately, I've gone back home each year on Saturday, usually to do with babysitting, missing my kids and not ever having nominated a book of my own (though I'll consider it for next year's.) This year I was planning on attending the gala but my daughter's Annie schedule came out and I must return to see her final performance on Sunday afternoon, which means, again, I'll be a no show. But I'll be checking in and posting all the winners on my site.
Good luck to the nominees and I hope to see you in SanFran!

4 comments:

  1. Wish I was there.

    Next year, for sure.

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  2. Look forward to meeting you, Malena!! Sorry you won't be there, Mary Margaret.

    I'm with you on the workshops, Malena. Not many of them appealed to me, but the idea of getting to meet my publisher, editor, publicist and agent were the big draw for me. I don't attend a lot of writing workshops in general because I don't want to be influenced by how other people write. Does that make sense? My process seems to work for me, so I go out of my way to keep it from being infiltrated by outside influences.

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  3. Never been to a national conference or even a local meeting, but maybe someday. Of course, this requires me to actually get on an airplane, which I avoid whenever possible. (For the reason why, see the today's Wickedly Romantic comment) But, yes, Marie! We must protect ourselves from those evil outside influences at all cost! Someone once told me that a writer shouldn't read someone else's stuff while they were working on a book because they would be influenced by the style. I made the mistake of reading some Douglas Adams once, and believe me, I got very wordy and veddy, VEDDY British! I probably read too much Harry Potter which may be why my "voice" still sometimes has a slightly British accent....
    But you guys have fun, anyway! Drink a margarita or two for me...or three...or four....

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  4. Have a great time! Green with envy, here! Next year it would be awesome to go, and I'm hoping to meet everybody there.

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