So much gets packed into 3-4 days and everyone's experiences are different. We go away with a variety of highlights or "a-ha" moments.
I thought I'd poll some of my RWAustralia & RW New Zealand friends and ask them to recall their most memorable moments of the conferences they've been to.
Over the coming weeks I'll be featuring these as snippets and as you'll read, you'll see just how special coming to conference can be. For any first timers out there, don't be nervous or afraid of going to conference. More often than not you're going to find yourself welcomed VERY warmly and will probably go away with a host of friends whom you can't wait to meet next year at conference.
Cath's Memories: My first face-to-face conference was Brisbane 2009. Thank goodness I’d done Clayton’s in 2008 so I had an inkling of how full my brain would become. I knew no one to look at, but had lots of email friends and acquaintances. Meeting them was incredible. What I’d picked up about their personality via email, was usually right. Firm friendships were forged.
The noise is the thing that left me speechless. I’d never heard so much noise. Walking into the Cocktail Party was like standing under a tree with a billion lorikeets screeching at once. I was with my newly-met critique partner and we made a few forays into the room but the waves of noise sent us out again. As we were about to leave, Anne Gracie (who was the RWA President) and Mary Jo Putney (the keynote speaker) stopped to talk to us. We almost swooned. Why would such famous people talk to us?!
We talked about books, writing, conferences, people, the attitudes of others to romance, the noise. They shared themselves with us - two nobodies. We were caught up in the spell of famous authors speaking to us. Then others arrived, the group expanded, people left. We made it to the end of the Cocktail Party and had forgotten about the noise, our discomfort, and our newness.
We walked around the rest of the conference on a high that just got higher. No matter how high a pedestal we’d put authors/editors/agents on, they came down and talked to us.
I’ve been to lots of work conferences and although I’ve enjoyed every single one, I’ve never felt the buzz or the high that RWA conferences give. It’s like a shot of creativity, mixed with confidence, mixed with hope and dreams. It’s the best feeling in the world - except for that noise! :-)