It’s been well over a month since the RWA 2016 National Conference and I’m still processing the experience. This was my fifth national conference. Each time I attend I’m re-energized to write, but I think it’s safe to say that this conference was the best of the five for me — even surpassing my 2012 conference experience of being a Golden Heart Finalist (which was very special in a different way).
First of all, the location. You really can’t beat San Diego in July, and we had perfect weather for the entire week — low 70s — not too hot and not too cool in the evenings. Take a look at the view from our balcony at the Marriott:
It was like that every single day. Just gorgeous. I hated leaving.
Did I mention having a balcony? That was a complete surprise. My critique partner and I arrived a couple of days early and we were given a lovely room on the 8th floor. Our room faced the bay and had a small walk-out balcony large enough for two people to stand and/or sit (there were two chairs and a small table!). Being able to step out on that balcony and enjoy the view was a highlight of every day. Definitely one of the best hotel rooms (with one of the best views) I’ve had outside of Hawaii and the Caribbean.
What really made the conference special, though, was being able to experience it with my critique partner. This was Meagan’s first RWA conference, and I’m so glad I was part of it. The previous four conferences I attended solo, and the experiences I had were wonderful (especially the Golden Heart experience), but I’m such an introvert that I never made the kind of connections with other writers that I really wanted to make (I know this is entirely my own fault — everyone I’ve ever met at an RWA National has been unfailingly friendly).
Attending conference with someone who is already a friend, and who brings a truly positive energy and determination with her, was a revelation. By the end of Wednesday (after her First Timers meeting), we had four new acquaintances from across the country. These women would fast become friends and then finally a tribe of crazy-talented writers who now meet online once a week to share writing and life. And I owe it all to Meagan. She’s the one who gathered us all together.
There’s so much more to say about the conference, but I think I’ll end here for now and continue in Thursday’s post.