I’m off to conference for the rest of the week. I probably won’t be blogging here unless there is…*ahem*…news.
In case anyone’s wondering — YES! I’m a wreck. An absolute basket case. For a bunch of different reasons. The outer sense of zen calm I may exhibit *snicker* is only a defense mechanism to hide a squirrelly bundle of nerves.
But it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t at least attempt to reflect a little and put some order to all this. Last night I was thinking of all the RWA conferences I’ve been to. Each one sticks in my mind as a milestone.
- 2006 – Atlanta: My first writer’s conference ever. I stayed by my lonesome in a free room I got from hotel points. I hardly knew anybody and I had 8 chapters of my first novel done. I attended workshops back to back and tried to soak up everything. This conference motivated me so much. Real people did this, I could do it too!
- 2007 – Dallas: This year I was able to rope one of my critique partners into staying with me in a dinky hotel room outside of the conference hotel. My book was still about four chapters from finished. I was too scared to pitch — in fact, I didn’t even know how to sign up for an appointment! I met my beloved Romance Divas including Crystal Jordan who had received an offer right on the eve of conference! I watched Trish Albright, my chapter-mate, vie for the Golden Heart® award. She didn’t win the pendant, but she did win a contract with Dorchester. That’s the real prize, right?
- 2008 – San Francisco: I jumped in with both feet. I had two books complete by now. The first one took 2 years, the second one, two months. (disclaimer: first draft only) I pitched to agents and editors for the first time and received three requests for fulls and a couple requests for partials. I schmoozed at chapter parties. I volunteered and lugged books around until my back was sore. I did that magic thing people always mention — I “networked”.
- 2009 – Washington D.C.: I’m going to conference this year as a Golden Heart® finalist with the support of my wonderful agent and so many friends. Butterfly Swords is sitting on the virtual desk of publishers. I can hardly sleep with excitement.
RWA conference gives me a marker to stop and say, am I getting closer? Every year, this conference has given me new hopes and dreams. Sky’s the limit this year, I truly believe that.