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in the lounge and getting to give an impromptu pitch, the PRO workshop, and meeting fabulous people, both published and unpublished, ranked right up there as top favorites, but there was so much gained by everything we encountered.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?