After a lot of soul-searching, financial probing, and writing needs, I decided to once again attend RWA’s National Conference this year in Orlando. I’ve been attending nationals since 2001 or 2002 when I went to my first one as a new non-published RWA member in New Orleans. I was like a kid in a candy store. I wanted to see and to experience everything—and tried to!
I went to as many workshops as I could fit into my day, took copious notes, and talked to as many other writers as I could. By the end of the day I was exhausted, and by the time I drove home I collapsed. It took days for me to recuperate.
As a published author with many local, regional and national conferences under my belt, I now consider myself a seasoned conference attendee. My expectations are totally different. I have volunteered to help during the conference. What better way to meet new people. I will still attend as many workshops as I can, but I’ll be more selective. My goal now is to work on marketing and career info. I might drop into some craft workshops as well because I think we are never too old or too experienced to learn something new. If I can take away one bit of new information from a workshop I feel I’ve used my time wisely. Sometimes just being reminded of things we know we should be doing as a writer is as important as the new info we get.
When I’m asked to give recommendations to new writers, I always tell them to attend as many writing conferences and workshops as possible. Learning is never complete.
If you're going to RWA this year and it's your first conference, plan for an exciting, educational few days. Wear comfortable shoes, dress in layers, plan your days so you can have downtime, attend workshops that will best fill your needs as a writer, but most of all have fun.
I look forward to a great time in Orlando. If you see me, please stop and say hello.
FRAN MCNABB grew up along the Gulf Coast and uses that setting in many of her novels. She writes tender romances and presently has eight available through most major outlets. She and her husband live on a quiet bayou harbor and enjoy boating, fishing, and visiting the local islands. Writing, painting, and spending time with grandsons fill the rest of her days. Visit her at www.FranMcNabb.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She loves to hear from her readers.