I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

CONFERENCE TIME: Memorable Moments with...Melissa Smith

With the conference season just around the corner, I begin counting down the days until I meet up with friends I usually only see once a year.

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.


Melissa's Memories: The RWA Conference bar was set sky-high in 2008 when attended my first conference at the Langham, Melbourne.

VPAward - Mel is third from the left
Even to this day (and with many conferences now under my belt) this conference continues to resonate. For a start the incomparable Margie Lawson was a keynote speaker. Not only did she bedazzle a newbie with all her writing and psychological insights but she also illustrated a very powerful lesson - show not tell.

One rhetorical device she explained was 'backloading' (putting an important word at the end of a sentence to create instant impact) but it was in the showing of such a device that she excelled.

For three days she stood in front of us, self-contained and articulate, and then at the very last moment she shared her personal journey of recovery after a car-crash. She cleverly performed an emotional 'backload'. And to quote some Margie Lawson jargon - 'Powerful. You bet.'

The 2008 conference also remains a hallowed one because of the special friendships forged. Being a geographically isolated writer, the experience of talking writing to like-minded people proved both empowering and liberating. Faces were put to on-line friends and new connections were formed over cups of English-breakfast tea and mad dashes to already-started workshops.

Each and every RWA conference committee should be commended for the job that they do, year after fabulous year. RWA conferences are truly a magical event. Their sparkle and glitter shine long after the bags are unpacked and the goodie-bag chocolates are consumed. And the magic-dust from 2008 is still very much shimmering.


  1. Oh that is one of my fav conferences too Melissa - and the one afterward we became CP's!! I'm going to miss this year's conference, but hope to make it to the next one!

  2. And I did Claytons that year and so wish I'd heard Margie Lawson. I've done her online courses and they're fantastic enough!

    See you on the GC Melissa!!


  3. Big wave to Mel and Cath:) Thanks so much Kylie for having me - where did you find those photos!!


  4. What a fab idea Kylie!! Melissa - LOVED your memories and that special photo of us. I cannot wait to catch up again in a few years. There's just something SO magical about RWAus conferences. x

  5. Sounds like some great memories =)