I have survived the craziest 4 days in writing once again. RWA’s National conference has come and gone, and scenic Times Square New York has made a hefty impression. I had a great time, filled with productive networking, incredible workshops, tear-filled speeches, and even a little time for sightseeing. The air of positivity, support and creativity seemed to lift us all up, which is good, because the elevators couldn’t be relied on to do that in any particular hurry.
The Gathering – the annual awards dinner for the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal genre chapter was once again a smashing success, and the PRISM awards were handed out to some incredible writers. Science Fiction Romance was well represented (and even got a pair of nods at the Rita Awards for Marcella Brunard’s great romp “Enemy Within”).
Speaking of SFR – this year’s keynote speaker was Sherrilyn Kenyon, and there weren’t many dry eyes in the room after she told her story of triumph and success despite what seems like insurmountable adversity. Her signature, on the inside cover of my Nook, will be a reminder of her inspiring story, and will definitely be a place for me to look when I think it’s “just too hard” to do this crazy carousel. By comparison, I can assure you that I haven’t even begun to see a rough road.
Dry eyes were also hard to find during the Rita and Golden Heart awards – RWA’s yearly awards for published works and unpublished manuscripts. Most of the recipients got teary eyed with joy, and we followed right along with them. Tales of unwavering support, loyalty, and love reminded us that no matter how much this feels like a solitary endeavor, none of us exists in a vacuum.
Old friends were met, and tales of the last year were swapped (because despite all the time spent writing, I and many others are simply rubbish at answering our e-mail). New friends were met, and friendships kindled over drinks, cheesecake, and more drinks. Workshops filled us with new ideas, and if other folks are like me, left with notes about current and upcoming manuscripts scribbled hurriedly in the margins around their notebooks. Critique groups formed, and so did plot brainstorming circles. Manuscripts were pitched (and some of those will probably be started in the coming weeks, no matter what their state was declared to be when pitched).
In other words, it was the best of times and I was sorry to see it end. Now the challenge will be to keep the magical feeling of that time alive in the weeks after the Big Show has ended. Fortunately, like everyone else I talked to, I came away with my creative batteries at full charge, eager to take on the world and pour myself into the writing at a fever pitch. I hope that everyone else who attended got as much out of it as I did.