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...**