Friday, August 4

Back from Conference

Happy Friday everyone! With getting the kiddos ready for the start of the new school year, it seems like eons ago that I was down in steamy, sultry Orlando for the RWA National Conference. But I
promised a recap of my experience, and I wouldn’t dare be derelict in my duties.

While it had seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, my biggest mistake was making this a family vacation/conference trip. I stayed off-site at another resort, so had to worry about timing my travel arrangements and couple fully immerse myself in the conference experience. Then got to hear about all the rides/attractions the family enjoyed while I wasn't with them. Yes, I was jealous, and that bitter pill likely flavored my overall enjoyment (hate to say it, but no matter how vivacious and entertaining Damon Suede is as a workshop presenter, he's no Anna and Elsa Disney Character meet & greet ;-)

So maybe because of this, it took me awhile to gain some traction at the conference. I’m shy, but can usually push myself to step up to the plate and be social. This time, I had to ease into that particular pool. “Two-thousand of your closest friends” might be an apt descriptor of this romance writer’s conference, but that was one-thousand-nine-hundred-and-ninety-seven friends I’d never before met. A few of my fellow chapter-mates were there, but as they’ve already been several times and had their own circle of friends, I didn’t want to be the obnoxious-tagalong-little-sister. Fortunately, I’d made tentative plans to meet face-to-face with some online friends (like fellow Wrangler, Kristi!), and it was great to make that personal connection.

The workshops were all wonderful, and I tried to balance my choices between craft and business. As with everything related to conference, my personal take-away ran the gamut: mortification that I’d made soooo many (all?) of the mistakes the presenters warned against…gut-wrenching realization that I’ll never be as talented, knowledgeable, successful—cool—as the workshop presenters…inspiration from the many golden nuggets of wisdom imparted. This business is all about baby steps, and even though the summit is hidden way up there in the clouds, all I can do is keep trekking toward it, one step at a time.

The people-watching was awesome. Imagine 2,000 authors, many of whom focus their appearances on standing out from the crowd. The hair color, the tattoos, the outfits, the shoes… nearly everyone dressed to be memorable, and it was more fun than a three-ring circus! While I concentrated on making sure I didn’t sit in melted chocolate while wearing my white pants, others were stunning and memorable.

I by no means made my mark on RWA in a blaze of glory and hutzpah this year. I doubt I made much of an impression on anyone at all. And I'm okay with that. It means I’m still a clean slate for future conferences. Like my writing career, I’ll just keep taking baby steps until I get where I want to be.

But dang it if I didn’t take a single picture while I was there!

12 comments:

  1. Wow. It is so much experience to stuff into such a short time, isn't it? Thanks for the report, Ava!

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  2. Ava-- I want to go with you to a Con. I am not shy and we would have so much fun. I'd ply you with wine until you were dancing in the aisles.

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    1. I don't mind dancing in the aisles sober, but am always open for wine! 😄

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  3. Denver for RWA18 here we come

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    1. RWA18 conflicts with WOTR author signing... I'm conflicted!

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  4. Great! Now, I have to buy a whole new wardrobe if I get to RWA? Agh! The pressure! Because I tend to dress for my comfort which doesn't seem to impress anyone. lol I don't even own a pair of heels. Couldn't walk in them if I did.

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    1. Don't worry... there were plenty of attendees who went for "comfortable" (me included)!

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  5. Can't wait to see you next year, Ava!

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    1. Next time, we'll plan for more than a quick coffee!

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  6. A bit overwhelming I bet, and you're right, I love Damon Suede, but at times he made my head spin. Sometime in the next three years, I'm going. I'm leaning towards New York, but I haven't been to San Francisco since we lived out there. My husband doesn't like NYC, but he loves SanFran.

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  7. I'm glad you got to go and that you shared some of your thoughts with us.

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