Right now my twitter feed is full of people saying goodbye and thank yous to everyone they have met this week and I can't help but want to favorite every post. I had wonderful friendships and connections with people before I came here but the time at RWA affirmed and deepened them.
RWA was exhausting, exhilarating and thought-provoking. Again and again I am struck with how accessible everyone is at this conference. I rode the elevator with some of my favorite authors, shared drinks with others at the bar. I had the fun of seeing authors be unapologetic fans of each other.
I loved that everyone wants to know what was the last book you loved.
I had the chance to smile and share with people just starting out writing Romance and people with 30+ plus years and dozens if not hundreds of novels to their name (or names) and every one of these people were impressive to me.
They are navigating a very tumultuous and ever-changing market.
They are trying to figure out how to hone their craft, how to best market their stories and how to cope with the pressures and stress of it all.
They do it because they love these stories. They love to read
& write them and they want to share them.
I was struck by the incredible variety within Romance. All the little nooks and niches people write in and for. I only had a chance to attend a fraction of the panels offered and I think depending on your track and interest you could walk away with a completely different conference expereince than mine.
Outside of the Keynotes, people had the opportunity to engage in the conference in different ways, and will take away different impressions.
I was happy to see a larger conversation about diversity and for that conversation to spill out of the sessions into the general conference.
When I was among other bloggers and readers I took part in a lot conversations about how fragmented and specialized the blogging community has become. There has been a lot of turnover and shifting of the conversation to different platforms away from traditional blogging. I'm a newcomer to blogging romance so a lot of the older voices were before my time, but it was still fascinating to see how the community has evolved and changed.
Many of conversations I had this week with writers centered on how much there is to do as a romance writer. Most people have day jobs and families to support.
They squeeze in writing around the fringes. Yet there is incredible pressure to produce, produce, produce.
spoke again and again of slowing down to think, slowing down and refocusing on their love of writing, slowing down and connecting with others. As a reader, I know that I always want a new novel or work from an author I love but I am always happy to wait for it. I rather have a late novel, that has been well edited, and produced than one that was rushed out. I can wait for quality. But it is clear that writers feel pressured to give readers what they want as soon as possible.
The panel of depression was incredibly powerful. Again and again the reminder to love and care for yourself, by knowing yourself and doing for yourself what you would do for a friend really stuck with me.
I am so glad I came. I hugged so many people
(probably a couple who didn't want to be hugged, sorry Erin!) and I laughed a lot.
I've gone to lots of conferences with booklovers but it was such a treat to be at conference with people who don't even question but instead celebrate the very things I love to read the most.
I hope everyone had as good of an experience as I did. I know I will be back for another. Safe travels home everyone!