By Sharon Lathan
I'm a planner. Drives my husband insane, as he is the spontaneous type. You know, one of those get up one day, throw stuff in the car, and go type of guys. That is well and fine, as long as I know we are planning to do it several days in advance! This character trait is one reason why I am already rifling through the information for the RWA National conference in Washington DC that is 2 months from now.
Frankly it is driving me insane that it is still a whole two months away. That is AGES from now! I suppose that means that the other reason I am already studying the scheduled workshops and speakers is because I am impatient. But I can’t help it! I am giddy with excitement. You see, this is my first conference - ever. I always wanted to go to one of the numerous nursing conferences that are held all over the place. I have thought of it for years, but for some reason I never took the plunge. Part of that may be that no matter how much I adore my chosen field, attending 3 or 4 days of 8 hour lectures on neonatal disease processes and new treatment modalities never sounded as exciting as High Octane Heroes and Sex Scene Viagra!
Yep, those are just two of the hundred workshop topics. Oh, some are rather ho-hum, like The 15-minute Synopsis or Love Your Voice. I’m not saying these blah titled workshops may not be riveting and replete with vital information – I know I will be attending a number of them - but how can that compare with How Not to Suck and Smart Women, Short Skirts. But whatever the catchy title, or not, I am blown away by the diversity of topics. What to do, what to do!! So many of them are happening at the same time! Thank the maker for DVD recordings, amen?
Anyone else perused the lengthy list offered at the RWA website? There are even PDF outlines for most of the workshops. My personal must-go-tos are: How to Live in Another Century, Why We Love Mr. Darcy (I am not making this up), The Setting as Character, Sex Throughout History, Prioritizing Life (boy do I need this one), High Octane Heroes (studies popular movies as examples), and the one this self-confessed geek is SO looking forward to – Lessons of Firefly: Learning from the Works of Joss Whedon. No, I have no idea what it has to do with what I write – probably nada – but I LOVED that show so will not be missing this one! Maybe Nathan Fillion will pop in to share his thoughts.... with his shirt off – Hey, a girl can dream, right?
What is really cool is the balance of subjects that deal with the craft of writing, living the writer’s life, understanding the career aspects of the publishing business, researching related, and others that are just for fun. I have nothing to compare it to, but I am fairly impressed with how it is arranged. There is something for everyone, no matter where you are in your career or what type of romance you write.
So I am plotting and figuring out how to work the lectures in with visiting my Casa Sisters, editor and publisher, and meeting new friends. I am looking forward to the luncheons, the librarian networking event, the Sourcebooks spotlight, and “Readers for Life” literary autographing. And, my first real booksigning!!! Oh joy! I will be sitting with my fellow authors and hopefully people will want a signed copy of my novel. I just can’t wait.
But, I must. The plane ticket is bought, the hotel reservation is set, and my conference registration is secure. I already have ideas on how to get my hair done and money is set aside for some new clothes. I am raring to go!
Now I know some of you are veterans of the RWA conference scene. I want to hear your thoughts on past conferences. Tell me which workshops pique your interest this year and what you learned most before. Share insights, words of wisdom, humorous anecdotes, etc. with the admittedly naïve newbie who wishes the plane were taking off tomorrow.