Friday, July 17, 2009

RWA Nationals: Late Nights at the Marriott Wardman Park

So, I'm here in Washington D.C. at the Wardman Park for the big RWA National Conference and, since I have expanded my digital horizons enough to have finally bought a laptop with wireless, I felt it was high time I used my nifty new technology.

For those who have never attended one of these events, RWA Nationals is a writing conference involving some 2,000 publishing professionals--from authors to literary agents to editors to booksellers and librarians. It is a largely female gathering and, as such, there is much talk of cute shoes...girly drinks...hair annoyances and wardrobe selections... But, do not think for a second that a range of professional issues aren't discussed as well. The Google settlement, character arcs/motivation, book contracts/advances and a number of aspects of e-publishing are up for heavy debate just as often.

For me, as is usually the case, I've been here since Wednesday morning and have gotten, maybe, 9 hours of sleep total. There are publisher parties and a range of special-interest-chapter gatherings that go late into the evening, it's true, but the reason most of us find ourselves reaching for the most highly caffeinated beverage we can find the next morning is because we're up until way past midnight just chatting... (And, for those of you wondering, yes, I did bring some Starbucks VIA™ coffee packets along with me! And I've been sharing. :)

For many of us, we see each other only once a year--at this event. In some cases, a friend may have skipped a conference or two, so we have a couple of years worth of writing-life and personal-family news to catch up on. My good friend and conference roomie, YA author and 2008 RITA-nominee Simone Elkeles, lives less than a half hour away from me at home. We're members of the same local RWA chapter. But, due to her chaotic schedule and mine, we haven't had a conversation that's lasted longer than 10 minutes in months. Now--finally--we get to TALK!

This is my seventh consecutive RWA Nationals. Looking back, these late-night conversations are what I remember most about prior conferences. And for those friends who are not in D.C. this week, I just wanted you to know I was thinking about you, missing chatting with you and wishing you all were here.

Next year: Nashville. Put it on your calendar, okay?!

**A note to all: If you're a coffee lover, please sign up for "The Great Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew Taste Test" in the July 12th post below! I will respond to all private emails when I get back home (if not before), and I look forward to leisurely reading all your comments!! Now, back to the conference...**


Erica said...

Sigh...I am so looking forward to next year! Sleep deprivation in the name of writing is ever so much more enjoyable than sleep deprivation in the name of cleaning up the kitchen.

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks, Erica. Yeah, you're missed... Nashville, my friend. Nashville. :)

Robin said...

I'm so happy to hear you're getting to catch up with all those special friends of yours! I hope you'll share more with us when you get back home!

And I'm so planning on Nashville!

Nancy J. Parra said...

I was thinking about you- hope you had a fabulous time. I hope to be at Nashville next year~ Can't wait to hear more about your experiences!!

Marilyn Brant said...

Robin, it was a lot of fun (and, yeah, very exhausting!). Looking forward to posting more when I'm back from the New England wilderness and REALLY looking forward to seeing you again next summer :).

Nancy, thanks! I missed all of you guys and am hoping to be at the 7/27 meeting... Not sure if I'll make it, but I'd love to be able to catch up with everyone in person soon. I really hope you'll be in Nashville, too!!

Maureen McGowan said...

Was so fabulous to see you again, Marilyn. :-)

Marilyn Brant said...

Maureen~thank you. Getting to catch up with you and Kim was a conference highlight for me. And HUGE CONGRATS on the story!!! Can't wait to post about its release!

L.A. Mitchell said...

It was so wonderful seeing you again, if only for a short time. I enjoyed reading your book sample from the goody room...I know it'll be a fabulous read!

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks, L.A. Glad you liked it :). Hope you had a fun and productive conference--although I'm pretty sure we all could've used more sleep!!

Sandra Ferguson said...

Sorry to have missed this year. The fam and I are about to embark on our first cruise and that took precedence over the RWA this year. Looking forward to Nashville, though.

Glad to hear you made it through, okay -- coffee induced if necessary.

Hope all went well with your editor/agent meetings.

Pamela Cayne said...

You know you need your Nationals fix when you miss standing in line for the bathroom after lunch with 2000 other women.

And I've already been pricing flights to Nashville. Yes, I'm sick. I admit it.

Glad you had a fabulous trip!!!

Nadine said...

I am very bummed I missed this year's Nationals, and seeing so many of my friends, and I've never been to Washington either, so it's a double bummer. I'm starting a savings fund for next year... I'd ask you if you had fun, but I'm sure you did!

Marilyn Brant said...

Sandra, you were missed! Hope you have a wonderful and relaxing cruise, though! Will hope to see pictures :).

LOL, Pamela :). Neither the bathrooms or the elevators were big problems this year. Checking into the hotel, however...what a freakin' mess! Can't wait to see you in Nashville or, hopefully, before. (*cough-Spring Fling-cough*)

Nadine, I looked for you! I'd expected you to be there... Will keep my fingers crossed we'll get to catch up in person in Nashville :).