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 & RWNew 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.
Jenn's Memories: I, unlike a good heroine, have been a round a bit! (I mean online, of course.) Having been involved with the Claytons Conference previously, 2011 was my first ever RWA face-to-face conference and here are a few things I learned.
- Not all writers are introverts – just give them a feather boa, some pyjamas, a steamy topic and a microphone!
- A hug is the new handshake: hello, goodbye, congratulations, nice to meet you, OMG is that you! Yes, it was hugs, hugs and more hugs.
- Everybody really is as friendly, warm and generous as I was told they’d be.
- Making a list of people you want to meet is good advice. I had 36 ‘must meets’ on my list and I met them all – almost - plus many, many more. A list gives you a reason to wander the floor and stare at people’s navels (ahhh, name tags!)
- If someone enters an elevator but your name tag is un-readable, they may grab it, squeal your name, then hurl themselves at you and hug hello (Hello Helene — my very first conference hello hug!!! LOL)
- It helps to have been around a bit (in a good way!). So I can’t stress enough how effective volunteering can be. Now is the time to get involved in this great organisation. Members can email firstname.lastname@example.org. You don’t have to volunteer for anything in particular, just put up your hand. Other ways to get your name out there is to post on RWA loops, comment on blogs, join the forum or win a contest (or two, or three).
Oh, that reminds me.
What I learned #7 is – this conference thing is addictive.