Romance Writers of America National Conference was in Atlanta Georgia last week. I’ve planned to go since my first one in 2011 in New York City. It was a bumpy path. I’ve had two roommates cancel on me. With all the family travel this year, I almost had to give it up. Almost.
For yet-to-be-published authors, RWA is a chance to learn about writing, pitch to agents and editors, and meet our favorite authors. For me it was an affirmation.
I had the chance to meet a few of the greats: Nora Roberts, Jo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, and Candace Hern. Remember Rita Clay Estrada? The “Rita”? Met her in the bar. She was lovely. All the authors I met asked about my writing and encouraged me to keep going. They have all been where I am now: yet to be published.
This year has been tough. I struggled for every word. I questioned my path or if I even had a path. I’ve been seriously writing since 2007. It’s the half way mark of my ten-year plan and I haven’t moved too far up the path.
I’ve learned a great deal. I think my writing is so much better than when I started writing in 2007, but the path has been a lot rockier than I had anticipated. My inner demons were taking over.
This year’s conference was a special delivered message for me. I bawled through two keynotes. Cathy Maxwell and Kristen Higgins talked of adversity and hardships. They talked about that low point when they thought they’d give up but couldn’t. I felt as if they were talking to me. Thank you both for the kick in the pants and the pep talk. I really needed it.
I assisted with a workshop for the first time. One of our chapter mates couldn’t make it due to illness, so three of us kicked in and delivered a 2-hour session in her place. We couldn’t do it justice, but we tried. I discovered that I knew more than I thought I did about the Regency and research in general. I’m now working on my first online workshop. Mine won’t be as good as Karen’s or as thorough, but I’ll give it a try.
All in all, romance writers, whether published or not, are a rare breed. We celebrate each other’s success no matter how big or small. We encourage, we teach, we support. We pay it forward. It is this that draws me back to RWA and other romance writer’s conferences each year. I need a dose at least once per month, when I attend my local chapter meetings and a heavy dose when I attend conferences.
Writing is hard. Most people who say they want to write never do. Of those who start, most never finish. Of those who finish, most never get published. The business is subjective and doesn’t pay that well. Few make it to the top. Most of us will be lucky to make the midlist.
Yet we still pursue publication and getting our voice heard. We willingly pour our souls onto the page for the world to see. It is this that keeps me writing and plotting more stories. The voices in my head want their story told.
So I’m home and back to plotting the next story in the Wish series. I’m working on a proposal for another series and am playing with a contemporary. I’m rejuvenated and excited again about writing. I’m taking my ‘aha’ moments and putting them to work. I’m a writer and I can’t just stop. I must write.
What keeps you writing when the rejection piles up and nothing is working right? I have books and swag for two lucky people who comment.