Conferences and Retreats

Posted Jul 26 2012, 3:44 pm in , , , , , ,

So I blew off writing a blog post on Tuesday. I didn’t forget. I didn’t have a topic and a migraine started and that was enough incentive for me not to write. I’m easily swayed.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This is what I feel like at a conference

If you’re a romance writer, you probably know that this week is RWA’s national conference in California. I’ve never been to Nationals for a few reasons. First, my husband usually travels for work a lot over the summer and trying to work that schedule around a conference and getting backup for the kids is more of a headache than anything. Second, it’s expensive. The conference itself is almost $500, then you have travel expenses. Finally, I’m a wimp when in comes to crowds. My chapter holds a conference every 2 years. We had one this year and it was fabulous. This was my third Spring Fling. Every time (with the exception of this year), I’ve had to leave early because of a migraine. It’s not that I wasn’t having a good time or that I was stressed. For me, it’s just being surrounded by that many people for so many hours. I can’t imagine how bad it would be for a conference as big as RWA. I kind of imagine myself hiding out in my room a lot.  Which would totally be a waste of money. I am considering going next year, since I can be part of the book signing and by then, my second book should be out, but I don’t know.

If you aren’t at Nationals, but want to get a lot of great info, follow #RWA12 on Twitter. People are tweeting from all kinds of workshops. Lots of info and laughs without leaving your house.  😛

image courtesy of Jenny Kaczorowaki

In other news, I participated in a writers’ retreat last weekend with some chaptermates. A friend hosted at her house and we all brought food for a pot luck lunch. Although Ryann was prepared and had a goals board posted, I didn’t walk in with a goal in mind. Part of me wanted to be able to finish my WIP, but I knew that was a bit too lofty as a goal. I’ve never tried to spend an entire day writing. As I’ve said before, most of my writing happens in hour chunks of time during my kids’ extracurricular activities. The idea of writing all day was a little overhwhelming.

But then we got down to work. I didn’t plug into the Internet. I just sat down and wrote. I hadn’t written in days because I’d had a migraine earlier in the week (yes, another one), so I had ideas about where my book needed to go and what scenes were coming next. Even with breaks for drinks and chatting in the kitchen with fellow writers, I accomplished WAY more than I thought possible. I wrote over 8 thousand words and put myself in a position to finish the rough draft of my WIP by the end of the month. (Except of course I got another migraine this week which prevented me from writing.) It was such a fabulously productive day that I highly recommend that if you get a chance to participate in a writers’ retreat even if it’s only for a day, take it. 

I’ve always loved going to my RWA chapter meetings because there’s nothing like being surrounded by people who get you and what you’re doing. Being in a writers’ retreat was even better. Because it was a smaller group, about 10, and we all know each other pretty well, we had back up if we needed brainstorming help or a little nudge to keep working. This is something I’d definitely love to do again.

Have you ever gone to a big national conference or a writers’ retreat? Was the experience good?

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  1. […] The following links go along with my post yesterday about conferences and writer retreats. […]