Saturday, April 16, 2016

Conference Confidence

By the time this posts, the Romantic Times Convention in Las Vegas will be wrapping up. (Are you here? Come see me at the Giant Book Fair!)

When I first began writing, back in the stone age--and by that I mean pre-internet days--going to conference was one of the only ways to stay on top of publishing news and learn tips to hone your craft as well as network with fellow authors and other publishing professionals.

I went to many, always finding them a little overwhelming, but I learned so much and travel is always exciting. New Orleans was a highlight, although my husband seemed to enjoy himself more, going on swamp tours while I was in workshops.

Then, as time wore on and I wasn't yet published, but had little ones at home and tight budgets, I took a long break from going to conference. I barely made my local chapter meetings!

I was a little wistful every year as the buzz started among fellow authors when conference season rolled around. Then, in 2012, I sold! My book wouldn't be out until 2013, but I felt justified in booking a ticket to Anaheim for the annual Romance Writer's of America conference. Here I am at my very first Harlequin party with my dear friend, Superromance author Cathryn Parry.

That actually might be from the following year. I honestly can't remember, lol! And I recycle the same dresses so it's not like that is an indication of the year. Here I am last year with Jennifer Hayward.

The only thing that changes is my hair, apparently!

Seeing writer friends is one of the biggest reasons I show up for conference. It's always wonderful to see my editor and to be treated to drinks and luncheons, too. So for the last few years, I've signed up for a lot of conferences and even began giving workshops at many of them.

In 2014, I went back to New Orleans for my very first RT Convention, this time with my daughter. Then I went to San Antonio the next year, leaving directly from that conference to the Sydney conference in Australia, where I was also visiting my sister.

Yes, I multi-task my conference travel as vacations with family. Here I am in New York last summer with my husband.

I loved New York. This, by the way, is from a gal who lives in a town of fifteen hundred people. I like my rural roots and my roads long and quiet, but we had a ball while we were in the Big Apple.

The only problem was, I discovered that I wasn't going to workshops and I barely saw my friends. That wasn't my husband's fault. He was more that willing to amuse himself while I attended to business. I did manage some, but I felt torn. I discovered I wanted to travel with my husband, but just travel with my husband, not book it around a bunch of other stuff.

However, that's exactly what has happened with this trip to Vegas. My cousin lives there and I had promised her years ago that if there was ever a conference in Las Vegas, I would go so she and I could catch up. Well, you know my husband wasn't going to be left home for that destination.

So, as I pre-write this post, I am pulling together all my conference details, booking dinner with friends and organizing both a workshop and a panel as well as a couple of signings. Yes, I'm also scheduling time with my cousin as well as getting tickets to a show (Cirque de Soleil - Love.)

In other years, I would also be booking my flight to the RWA conference--which is in San Diego this year. I was so tempted to go. But we have a family reunion in June which will pull me away from writing for most of that month and, the truth is, I'm ready to reassess. I do love conference, but we authors have a lot of introvert tendencies. That's probably why I spend most of my time in my attic, avoiding even the few people who live in my tiny town!

So after this convention, I'm taking a small break from conference--at least until I've bought a new conference wardrobe! (San Antonio...)

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