I just got back from my first Romance Writers of America National Conference in New York City. 2,000 romance writers took over the Marriott Marquis—I’m pretty confident we raised a few eyebrows of the other guests, although we were in Times Square, so maybe not—for five days of networking, workshops and events.
It was great!
The smart elevators did not outsmart me and elevator conversations were a lot of fun.
Random man in super crowded elevator: You can fit. Suck it in everyone!
RWA lady: We're dressed for the awards and wearing Spanx. We can't suck it in anymore.
Everyone else: And we're romance writers. You don't want to continue this conversation!
I roomed with my best writer friend and we still like each other. We ate yummy food and discovered new restaurants. We might have offered to marry the cute waiter who gave us a bowl of coffee, but I was really tired at the time and don’t fully remember.
There were a ton of workshops offered and it wasn’t possible to go to all of them. I had hoped to get some really good information on marketing, but those workshops weren’t particularly helpful. However, there were some great ones on different writing tips, such as conflict (and then…and then…but!), subtext (taught by a writer who’s first language is not English but who has won multiple writing awards for her English-language romances—I would have wanted to kill her but she was really nice, as well as hilarious), and characters (taught by Susan Elizabeth Phillips).
I skipped the keynotes because they were really early in the morning and I’ve heard many of them speak before. They’re awesome speakers, but I needed my sleep. I escaped from the crowds by hanging out in the New York Public Library, absorbing the solemnity of the building and the love of learning that was built into the walls. It was surprisingly noisy but the architecture was beautiful.
I saw a romance cover model up close—a little disturbing but wow, the muscles! I ate breakfast in the same space as Eloisa James. And I met a Twitter friend for the first time and we found each other, despite knowing neither names nor faces! And my shoes made it into a blog!
It was a fabulous time and now I’m looking forward to taking what I learned and applying it to my writing. I’m inspired, I’m grateful and I’m exhausted!