RWA for the very first time
So, I'm back from my first RWA conference.
I thought this was the first conference I'd been to, but I had been to a film festival before. All I had to do was go to some screenings, a couple of parties, an award ceremony, and that was it. I don't remember it being very stressful, but I'd also left young children at home with my husband, so it had a definite escape factor to it.
RWA was different.
Maybe it's because I'm older. Maybe because I've been working at home for the past ten years, and my little introverted self has become accustomed to lots of time on my own. But this was...overwhelming.
Everybody who sees that "first timer" flag on your badge tells you it's going to be overwhelming. And you think, how overwhelming can it be?
There's just so much...people, books, places to go, things to do. There are parties (big parties with lots of people) and award ceremonies. There are lunches and get-togethers. Seminars, sometimes down in the dungeon (otherwise known as the Majestic level). Meetings, book signings. The only down time you get is what you carve out as down time. It does tend to get overwhelming.
But there's so much that is awesome: people who are willing to help and share, books to discuss and acquire, interesting seminars (though the AC was too much in some to the point where it affected seminar choice) and no chance to be bored. There were endless opportunities to network, learn, and expand your understanding of what was going on in romance.
There was not time to enjoy Denver, unfortunately. Which was too bad, because it looked like a fun place to explore. But I had to get home to the day job. Others stayed on to see the city and it looks like it would have been fun.
I missed some things because I had to go back to my room and nap. I needed to recharge after being out with so many people and ideas so that I was equipped to go out again.
Next year in NYC? I don't know yet. This year life is in great flux, and I don't know where I'll be next July. But I'd like to be there. And if I'm there, and I see you with a "first timer" flag on your badge, I'll tell you exactly what they told me.
It's going to be overwhelming. And I'll add, take time out when you need to, because it's worth it.