Romance Writers of America's National Conference, 2015 NYC

I've just returned from 10 days in New York City, about half of which were spent at RWA's yearly national conference. That's when a couple thousand romance authors gather together and talk shop. How to write better, how to sell better, what's the state of the industry.

I went to college in NYC and graduate school in Boston, so this year's conference also gave me the opportunity to visit with some of my favorite people, friends who I don't get to see very often, to visit some old haunts and enjoy a bit of city living. I went to plays, I went to museums, I went to restaurants, I went to parks... I used to visit the Met often enough to take it for granted. This time around, it staggered me. 

This was my third National conference but my first as a published author. I showed up with a different attitude than I've had before--I wanted to learn, I wanted to connect with online friends. I did not want to hustle. The conference can be terrifying if you see it as Your One Chance to.... do whatever. Find an agent or a publisher or a mentor. 

I promised myself that I'd be natural, or as close to it as I could. That I wouldn't drive myself crazy with high expectations. If I make a few friends, have a few good conversations, see a few friendly faces, I figure I'm doing pretty well. 

I loved the workshops and, since I decided to buy the conference recordings this year, I didn't have to stress about which ones to attend. Whatever I missed, I'd listen to later. Of the workshops I did attend, Sherry Thomas's workshop on Subtext and Joanna Bourne & Grace Burrowes's workshop on ten tips to tighten your prose were highlights. 

So maybe I'm projecting, but I thought the mood at the conference was pretty low-key this year. The keynotes struck an overall note of, "Chin up, we all have rough patches but there's a light at the end of the tunnel." That's a good message, and an encouraging one, but doesn't exactly saw at the heartstrings. 

I might have more to add later. I've definitely got a mini-review post coming up in the next week or so. In the meanwhile, happy reading.