I’m heading off to the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference tomorrow morning with my dear friend, Marnie (a talented writer from one of my writing groups who has taken this year off to write and is going to pitch pitch pitch at the conference. Lots of fingers crossed for Marnie. 🙂
I, like many other romance writers, look forward to this conference all year. It’s our chance to mingle with others who know I’m not insane when I mention that there’s a bunch of characters talking in my head, catch up with friends made from previous conferences and events, network and learn, learn, learn. The workshops usually give me at least one lightbulb moment and have been an essential part of this writer’s journey – there is always something new to learn (this journey is far from over!)
I’ve never been to WA, so I’m really looking forward to having a little time to look around on Thursday afternoon and Friday before the conference starts.
This year is a little bit more exciting for me than previous years, (although, it’s always been exciting). For starters, I’m going to my first conference as a published author. I will be getting my ‘First Sale’ ribbon, a coveted ribbon in RWA and one I’ve been wanting the thrill of receiving for years. Secondly, after many wins and places in competitions in the US, I finally managed to crack a place in a RWAustralia competition this last competition year and will pick up my certificate for a 3rd place in the STALI on awards night. Also, a dear friend of mine, Anita, placed first in the Selling Synopsis contest after years of just missing out in the comps (rather like me) and she is also up for the Lynne Wilding Meritorious Award, which is given out to an RWA member who has gone above and beyond in their capacity of a volunteer. So I will be absolutely cheering Anita on and am so thrilled for her.
Then there is also the fact that Penguin and Destiny Romance – my publishers – are having a cocktail party to celebrate Destiny’s first birthday, which will be fun and exciting to be there and part of it all. Then the Destineers (that’s what they call us Destiny authors) will be having a catch-up dinner after. I’ve got postcards for my novel, Killing Me Softly, to hand out, new business cards and posters to put up on the ebook wall – all very exciting. I’m looking forward to all of it. And I’m also joining the RWA committee this year as Contest Co-ordinator – something I’m looking forward to as a big learning curve-journey into insanity kind of thing. I have to stay an extra couple of days for my first ever committee meeting. I’ve been told it’s a mind-blowing, full on day that will leave me exhausted – I know it’s crazy, but I’m really looking forward to being a part of all that!
Then, to top off my lovely time away, for the very first time at a conference, I am not pitching! Yay. Pitching has been a wonderful thing – preparing a pitch really makes you dig deep, understand your story, it’s themes, concepts and conflicts and can massively help iron out problems in a manuscript. I know I will pitch again in the future – I’m an author who wants to make a career of this writing thing, so I can’t avoid it (and I shouldn’t try, because it’s good for me!) but this year, I decided to give myself a little break and just enjoy the conference, rather than spending half of it wired on adrenaline and nerves, feeling like I was going to yak, not being able to eat properly for fear of said yakking, and mumbling madly to myself in a corner (along with all the others who are pitching) as I try to practice the perfect logline and elevator pitch.
I’m going to help my friend, Marnie, with her pitch, (and try to encourage her to eat and drink and not yak) but then I’m going to sit back and have fun, soak up the atmosphere, learn lots of stuff about being a published author (I can now go to the published author workshops!), celebrate with my friends and drink lots of cocktails and champagne – because hell, this has been a year to celebrate!
RWA Riding the Waves Conference – here I come!