Last week, I attended the National RWA Conference for the first time. I was nervous and excited. When I registered at the desk of the Marriot Marquis, I was given a bag of books (very nice) and my name badge. In the envelope with the badge was an orange ribbon that read "FIRST TIMER". I was a little skeptical about attaching the ribbon. I felt like I had the word "virgin" tattooed on my forehead. As if reading my mind, the lady registering me said, "Make sure you wear your ribbon. When people see you're a first timer, they'll make sure they talk to you." I wasn't sure how I felt about that. In my high school, virgins were a rarity (at the very least, no one admitted to being one, it made the guys try way too hard).
But writers aren't horny teenagers. They were sincerely interested in me and what I wrote. And I was interested in them. I met a few people that I had previously "met" online. I was extremely excited to see them. I got all fan-girly over Jude Deveraux. Her workshop was standing room only, and with some other authors in the room, I sat on the carpet. I've been reading her books for years. No, I never talked to her. I got tongue tied and left the room as soon as the workshop was over.
I had to sit on the floor an few times during the conference. The "Writing Sex Well" workshop has well over fifteen people taking up carpet space. But it didn't matter. I sat on the floor diligently taking notes.
Keynote speakers, workshops, authors interacting, made for a great time. Yes, I retreated to my introverted self a few times. I didn't attend any of the dozens of parties. There were times when I looked around and realized I was alone in a sea of friends greeting and hugging each other But those moments didn't last long. I met some outstanding authors. And got excited about writing again.
In short, I had a great time. And hope to do it again next year.