I’m back from the Romance Writers of America Conference and while I’m re-energized with writing excitement, I’m exhausted. You would be too after five days of writing workshops, networking, book signings and fun!
Some conference highlights for me were seeing my agent, Michelle Grajkowski, meeting my favorite author, and giving the Kick Butt Heroes: Using Martial Arts in Your Action Scenes workshop with Melinda and Rayna. I also met a new writer friend, Katherine Lowry Logan, who took the above picture, and cheered Virginia Kantra as she won her first Rita award.
So who is my favorite author? Diana Gabaldon. And I got to meet twice. Which was a good thing because the first meeting didn’t go so well. Before I tell you how I embarrassed myself, I need to back up and explain that Diana had inspired me to begin writing. I’ve always wanted to write, but it was her three “rules” to writing (specifically, rule #2) that made me finally sit down and put words to paper. Here are Diana’s three “rules” to writing:
Read a lot. Reading is how you develop critical judgment as a writer. It’s also one way–and quite possibly the best way–of learning technique.
The only way to learn to write is to…er…write. This is a Truly Awful thing to realize, but I’m afraid it’s so. You can read all the How-to books in the world, attend zillions of workshops and seminars and classes, do tons of research–and none of it counts for anything, unless you get words on paper.
3. Don’t stop
I first saw Diana Gabaldon at the RWA “Readers for Life” literacy book signing, and wanted to tell her how much I enjoy her books, and that she had inspired me to start my writing career. Unfortunately, excitement hijacked my composure. I totally went hyper fan-girl on her, sputtering and tripping over my words and pretty much humiliated myself with a total lack of articulation. It was not pretty. Fortunately, I saw her the next day, and was able to calmly and rationally talk with her (apparently I had left an impression since she remembered me from the night before. I’m thinking that’s not a good thing.) But she was gracious and nice and signed my copy of Outlander. Too bad I didn’t think to get a picture taken with her.
The final highlight was giving our Kick Butt Heroes workshop. Our moderator (my critique partner, Cathi Riccie) counted 54 enthusiastic attendees, including previous guest blogger, and New York Times best seller, Angela Knight.
The workshop went well, even with the distraction of a camera crew that unexpectedly popped in halfway through and filmed the rest of the session for a documentary. Having the camera inches away from my face threw me off a bit, (seriously, didn’t they have a zoom lens they could’ve used?) but I was able to regroup and continue
stabbing Melinda a knife technique. I’m still not clear who the people were and what the documentary was all about. Once I figure it out, I’ll let you know.
Anyway, I came home from this year’s conference with more knowledge, more friendships, and a lot more BOOKS!!
If you were at RWA, what were the highlights for you?