Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Experiencing it for the first time.

My travel partner, Rosie, put it perfectly when she cheerfully sang to her roommate (not me thankfully) early one morning “I've had the time of my life” from the movie Dirty Dancing. She was describing her experience to date at the 2009 Romance Writers of America National Conference in Washington, D.C. Obviously, her roommate was disappointed when Patrick Swayze wasn’t in the room when she opened her eyes after only the typical 3 to 4 hours of sleep – who could blame her.

As a first timer to the conference it was an experience and opportunity beyond anything I could have imagined. I am grateful to the RWA staff and the many volunteers who orchestrated such a fabulous event. It was nothing short of the Oscars for writers. I also want to give special shout out to those experienced members of the Ohio Valley RWA chapter for preparing me so well to take this journey.

When it comes my time to attend this annual celebration as a published author, I will remember the way I was treated by so many of the published authors I met. Their willingness to share their experiences, their struggles and successes, was priceless. I came away with the hope and belief that I too will succeed. I will pay this generosity forward.

As we made our way home Sunday, exhausted and motivated, my travel partner and I tried to pinpoint our favorite part or moment of the trip. We couldn't. There were things that stood out of course – meeting an agent in the lounge and getting to give an impromptu pitch, the PRO workshop, and meeting fabulous people, both published and unpublished, ranked right up there as top favorites, but there was so much gained by everything we encountered. The speeches given by keynote speakers and those accepting Rita and Golden Heart awards made us laugh and brought us to tears.

There are stories we will tell for years to come, as well as memories and friends that will remain with us for a life time. I know that no matter how many RWA conferences I attend in the future none will ever be as special as this first time. We, the first timers from OVRWA, are no longer virgins. We have learned on our journey that we are or have become promiscuous readers.

So, what was your first time like?

Um, I mean to an RWA conference. If you haven't been to an RWA conference, is there an event, a person or anything that made a major impression on you or influenced your writing career?


Becke Davis said...

Tina, what a great introductory blog! I just thank God Rosie didn't do what she threatened and take pictures of me sleeping, for blackmail purposes! I haven't quite recovered from my lack of sleep yet, but it was certainly a memorable week. Just meeting so many of my favorite authors was a dream come true, and it was so much fun to have friends like you and Rosie to share it with!

Jenn Stark said...

Hey, Tina! Fun blog -- and my first RWA conference was in 2000 or 2001, I think, and it just blew me away to see so many great authors all in one place! It was fun seeing you at RWA 2009 and hope to catch up with you in person again soon.

Tonya Keller-Kappes said...

I wish I could've gone, but I decided on a week long writing conference (at the BEACH!!!). The cost is the same, I couldn't do both.
At this point in my writing career, I feel the writing conference will help me hone my craft and allow me to get to RWA as a signing author!! RWA 2010-I'M THERE!!

marye.ulrich said...

Hey Tina-- love the look of your blog.

Thanks for sharing your experience at RWA. I got goose bumbs when you talked about paying it forward. I want to hear all the stories, but I know it isn't the same as actually being in the moment. Don't forget anything--I want details.

I'm already planning for Nashville. Mary

Keri Stevens said...

I was almost over my RWA envy, then I read your blog. Now I'm stewing with jealousy yet again.

It's okay--I'm already saving my pennies for Nashville, just like Mary is. I'll see you there (and, of course, at OVRWA meetings).

Gonna link my blog at http://thekeristevens.blogspot.com to yours now--welcome to the blogosphere.

Rosie Murphy said...

Tina-LOL! Now you've done it. I'm working on a song expecially for you and will sing it to you the next time I see you, girlfriend!

Seriously, you captured the RWA national conference experience perfectly and I couldn't have said it better. Meeting so many generous people was a great experience and no, I mustn't forget it.

The agent in the bar/lounge experience happened because of a published author's desire to give us the opportunity to pitch. She, Monica Burns, told me later, it makes her happy to help out. Well, I'm happy she did and would love to pay it forward!

I can hardly wait for Nashville next year because we're going to have more of our OVRWA members joining us and the only thing that comes to mind...Nashville will never be the same!

Christina Wolfer said...

Thanks ladies for visiting. I was so excited to see 6 comments.

Becke, you are the best and thanks again for the part you played in making this a successful trip.

Jenn, didn't get to see you much, but it was nice seeing a familiar, friendly face just about everywhere I turned.

Tonya, Mary and Keri - so glad to see you're planning for Nashville. I made some comment to my husband about next year and he said, "Oh, so this is going to be an annual event?" Well, yeah! Well, at least for Nashville with it being so close.

Rosie, I know a certain waiter in DC who will never be the same with just the two of us, I can't imagine what Nashville will be like after the bunch of us have come and gone.