Friday, July 14, 2017

RWA Bound! by Christine DePetrillo

At the end of the month I will be attending my first Romance Writers of America Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida and I am psyched! I've gone to local chapter events and other writing conferences, but nothing of this magnitude.

Did I also mention that I've never been "away from home" by myself? Yeah, 40-something years old and I've never traveled alone.

You can call me a loser. It's okay. I agree with you. Why in the hell have I waited this long to go on a quest? Clearly, no one would entrust me with tossing the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. You thought it took Frodo a long time to make the voyage. Me? 40+ years people. 40+ years.

I'll know people once I get there and I've been to Disney World like nine times. I feel comfortable navigating my way around down there, but a part of me is a little nervous. I'm not going to lie to you. I'm a writer. I imagine scenarios. Like airplane problems. Getting lost. Terrorist attacks.

Or the worst... getting stuck sitting near a baby on the flight. Ugh. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

I plan to pack light and just take a carry-on bag. Summer dresses that I can roll up for easy, fuss-free packing. A pair of comfortable shoes and a pair of cute sandals. Maybe a set of Mickey Mouse ears.

Traveling alone should make for a streamlined experience, right? No one to worry about but myself. No husband who ALWAYS is the guy security wants to investigate further. "Step aside, sir." Every. Single. Time. But me? Who would find me suspicious? I'm sailing right through that check in.

I'm looking forward to the entire experience. Going a day early to bounce around the parks and get my Disney fix. Then I plan to soak in the fun of being around other romance authors and people who "get" writing. People who understand the dream.  People who, like me, enjoy weaving a good tale.

If you've gone to an RWA conference before, what tips do you have for me?




Jannine Gallant said...

I've never been to any conference, big or small. I do plan to go to RT next May in Reno. Uh, it's an hour from me, so I figure I have to! I'm afraid I have no tips to offer except have fun. That one is always good advice!

Leah St. James said...

I've never been to RWA but have gone to the New Jersey conference which is pretty big. I would say look through the schedule and plan what you want to attend in advance (especially those things you CAN'T MISS), but leave room for flexibility. Conferences are great for meeting up with online friends, making new friends, and sharing the author experience. And like Jannine said, have fun!

Diane Burton said...

Chris, you will have so much fun...if you let yourself. Don't try to hit all the workshops. You'll OD on info and your head will burst. LOL I went to a few RWA conferences by myself. That opened me up to a lot of new experiences. Be sure to sit in one of the conversation pits. You will meet so many terrific people. I played Fan Girl to a number of my fav authors. Going by yourself is a little scary, but someone will take you under her wing. The 1st time, Pat Ryan and Pam Buford invited me to have dinner with them. Another time Joan Shapiro insisted I go to lunch with her and a bunch of Detroit writers. At the time, I didn't know anyone. At later conferences, I went with a friend and while that was enjoyable, I think it was more fun being on my own. Enjoy yourself. Make some contacts. Most of all, have fun.

Brenda Whiteside said...

No help for RWA. I've never been. I've done other conferences but none quite so big. As far as traveling alone, I've done a bit. Definitely has it's advantages, depending on the reason for the trip. We'll expect a report!

Rolynn Anderson said...

My first one last year. It's bigger than you can imagine...make friends quickly so you have lifelines...apply generous amounts of wine. You're have fun and learn a lot!

Andrea Downing said...

Have fun, Christine. Better you than me with a conference that size--sure you'll do well.

Margo Hoornstra said...

This will be my third National. Would you believe the first one I was a Conference Committee Chair. That was a long time ago. I'm not traveling alone, we're driving and incorporating Orlando into a longer road trip culminating in a family wedding in Colorado. But, I digress. What Diane said about being there, and what you said about packing. Dresses are the best. I packed 'business' style for the conference in DC a few years ago. It was so hot, I ended up in cotton pants and short sleeved tops instead. No doubt it will be hot in FL. Who goes to Florida in July? Anyway, hope to see you there! Who else is going?