Recently, the Romance Writers of Australia celebrated their annual conference in Sydney. It was also my first.
Realistically, I dipped my toes into the conference by only attending the cocktail party. I was so nervous, that when I arrived, I asked for the wrong floor. My stockings had also been coming down my legs throughout the ten-minute walk to the venue, that I was in desperate need to remove them. Sweating, but putting on a brave face, I reached my destination, missing the start of the get-together for newbies, and catching the end of a couple of speeches.
So, off to a good start then!
However, things did begin to improve once I met some familiar faces. And that is one of the great things about social media. Even though I had never met these people before, I had been communicating with them on-line for some years and had seen pictures of their faces. They were ‘known’ to me. Without that starting point, I would have been a bigger wreak by this stage.
Throughout the evening, I kept searching for familiar faces each time I needed to fill my glass with water. This could explain why when I met one familiar author, she told me that she meant to catch up with me as I looked ‘lost.’ Yes, I did feel like a rabbit in the head lights all evening, but I continued to put on a brave face and swallow my fears.
This is what you need to do when you attend your first conference. Every writer has been at this point in some time of their writing lives. It’s taking that first step that eventually keeps us moving forward.
I must admit, that without the support of my husband, I never would have gone at all. He insisted that I needed the social interaction and meet other writers. He drove us to Sydney, and he escorted me to the cocktail party and back again. Having a supportive partner, friend or relative is a bonus! Regardless, though, it is up to us to work up the courage and be determined enough for our own benefit when attending our first writing conference.
I came away feeling a variety of emotions, but in the end, I’m glad I made the effort. I finally met some familiar faces and got to know new ones.
I’ve decided that all going well, I’ll be attending the entire conference next year in Adelaide to appreciate the whole experience. 🙂
Writers, have you attended a writing conference? What was your first experience like?