My first Romance Writers of America national conference is an experience I’ll never forget. It wasn’t just being around 2,000 plus people who either write or support romance novels, or learning about the craft of writing during workshops, it was the affirmation and inspiration I left with.
I’ve attended various conferences, for my day job and as a writer, but I will say this was the first one that I openly shed a few tears. Starting with Cathy Maxwell’s empowering speech that this would be a “no doubt” conference and ending with Kristan Higgins bringing home that what we do brings light in a world of darkness. Both women moved me and hundreds others with the realization that what we do IS important and to hell with those who say it isn’t.
I learned to trust myself.
And boy did I need to hear that. It’s okay to take advice that strengthens my writing, but not lose the essence that make my stories…well mine…in the process.
The workshops on the craft of writing gave me several “Aha!” moments. I’m excited to tackle revisions to the manuscript I just completed. But the workshop I enjoyed the most was from two sociologists who are studying us romance writers. My scientist brain loves that concept! Their early findings are dead on with many of my own observations since taking this ride in 2010. (Read the Tweets on that here)
I could go on forever, but I won’t. I will find a way to attend future national conferences, or regional ones when nationals is too far away. If you write romance consider attending at least once. (Though you’ll probably be hooked.) You can never learn enough about improving your craft, but the biggest reason to attend is to immerse yourself in an atmosphere that inspires creativity, forges new friendships and provides endless optimism that no matter where you are in your career to never give up.