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Monday, July 19, 2010

Almost Conference Time

In exactly one week and one day I will be boarding an airplane to head to Orlando where I will join over 2,ooo other authors for the Romance Writers of America Conference. To say I am excited would be putting it mildly. This will be my third conference and I know what to expect (at least I hope so).

During my first conference, which was in San Francisco, I knew only a few people. Okay, I knew one and had not met her face to face. She was my critique partner, the Jodie of Lydia Dare. In San Francisco she introduced me to Tammy, the other half of Lydia Dare, and Patrina. All three belong to the same RWA Chapter. Let me tell you, the experience would have been much more overwhelming, if not scary, had those three ladies not been present. Had I known no one, I would have survived, but perhaps not have had nearly as much fun. You see, I am a bit of an introvert with strangers. I am not one to walk up and comfortably talk to someone I don't know. If I were in a group, no problem. But on my own. . .

Often I would be in workshops where I knew no one. Though people sat next to me, I have trouble being the first one to strike up a conversation. I don't mean to be rude or standoffish, I am just uncomfortable introducing myself. If someone approaches me, or makes a comment or starts a conversation I am fine. And the thought of an elevator pitch makes me break out in a cold sweat. I don't know why I am this way, I just am, but I am going to seriously work on this issue in Orlando, though it is so much easier for me to communicate through a computer than face to face.

The second conference attended was in Washington, D.C. last year. I did have more fun at this one, not that Jodie, Tammy and Patrina aren't a riot, because they are. What made DC better was because several other members of our crit group were able to attend, including some of the Lady Scribes authors: Jodie, Julie, Jerrica, Samantha and Heather (all the way from Australia). Heather and Julie can't join us this year, but Clarissa will be in Orlando and after being her critique partner for the past two years it will be nice to finally meet her face to face.

So, yes, I am excited. I can't wait to see my critique partners, as well as Tammy and Patrina again, and to meet up with some of the ladies I met at the Spring Fling conference this last April.

In preparation I have reviewed and made a schedule of the workshops and spotlights I want to attend. I do this every year and it always changes at the last moment. But, it is still fun to get an idea of what is offered and form some type of plan in my mind. Now all I have left to do is make a list of things to pack and I am good to go. If only it were that easy. I am still trying to figure out which are my most comfortable shoes.

Are you attending the conference? Have you reviewed the list of workshops, spotlights and booksignings? Do you have an idea of what you will attend? Is there a workshop that you can't wait for and don't dare miss?

Oh, and if you see some lady sitting by herself, not talking to anyone. Don't assume she is not interested in others. She may just be very shy, overwhelmed or uncomfortable seeking out conversation. If you are an extrovert, strike up a conversation. She will probably be grateful for it.

19 comments:

  1. Amy: So glad you get to go to this conference.

    I will attend the Indy Christian Writers Conference in November, and I hope to attend one in October in New York. That one is contingent upon me winning a contest.

    I like your suggestion to help others feel comfortable. I am an extrovert, and I'll remember this. Thanks. Have fun!

    Jen

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  2. Amy,
    saw your comment at Jennifer's and had to say hi!
    May your conference bring glory to God and blessings to you!
    Will you be at ACFW?

    Visit my place when you have time.
    Patti
    www.pattilacy.com/blog

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  3. I'm so jealous! I want to get to a conference SO bad but we just can't afford it:(

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  4. Jeanette, I am still trying to see if I can swing the November conference in Indy. Good luck in the contest.

    Patti, I've never made it to an ACFW conference yet, but I intend to one of these days.

    Candyland, hopefully next year. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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  5. Great advice, Amy. I can't wait to meet all of you. Now if someone would just come to my house and tell me what to wear...

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  6. LOL Clarissa, I am sure you will look wonderful no matter what you happen to be doing.

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  7. I wish I could be joining the rest of you at Nationals this year! Have fun. I have to say, though, when I do attend my first convention, I will be just like you. I'm very much an introvert. So I'm glad I've got so many online friends through our critique group and a few other places, so at least I'll know someone--even if I don't know them.

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  8. I haven't been a large conference like that before but I'm going to my first in September, the ACFW conference. I am so much like you are. I'm not usually the first to strike up a conversation and I've actually had nightmares about elevator pitches. Needless to say, it will be overwhelming--but in a good way. I can't way to meet some blogger friends, I know they'll make the experience extra special! Have a great time in Orlando.

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  9. Oh Amy, I am such an introvert that I rarely ever spend time with people other than my family. Perhaps that is why I crave adventure so much. Most people misinterprete my shyness as being standoffish or snobbish. And that is so far from the truth. I have such an issue carrying on a conversation that I hate the phone as well lol.

    Though, I really wish I could go this year. I am really going to make the effort to save the money so I can go next year. You guys have tons of fun and take loads of pictures! LOL, I know Jerrica will.

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  10. Catherine, I wish you could be there too.

    Cindy, I need to plan to fit the ACFW conference in to my schedule. I know more and more online people that go to that conference every year. You will have to let me know what you think.

    Melissa, We will have fun (can't imagine not having fun) but I wish you could be there too.

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  11. Candyland and any others who can't afford Nationals this year: Sometimes the local conferences might be a good option. There are smaller crowds and the costs tend to be less. I had a great time in Chicago and met some great new people.

    I'm sooooo ready for Orlando. I can barely pay attention at work, which is why I'm commenting on my lunch break. ;)

    I'm not so much of an introvert and can talk to just about anyone, not that I always do. But, I will certainly be on the lookout for people sitting alone this year.

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  12. I agree with you on the smaller conference, Samantha. I am pretty sure I will be returning to the Spring Fling.

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  13. I wish I was a member or at least was going to this since I live only 25 miles from where it will be at:)) I would love to meet you all and trust me-- I would talk to you:)

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  14. Terri, You should try to make it on Wednesday night for the Literary signing. Over 200 authors will be signing books to raise money for literacy. This is the one thing that is open to everyone. I will be there among the crowd looking for my favorites.

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  15. I wish I was going to Orlando! I'm dying to go to a conference. LOL I've thrown the gauntlet down and declared to my hubs I'm going to Natl's in 2012 when its in Anahiem and only four hours away. The baby that's on the way will be almost two by then and our other two kids will be headed for K and 1st grade. LOL He can cope! :)

    I hope you ladies will be posting some pics of the conference! Hope you have a blast!

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  16. Amy,

    I can be an introvert as well, but I really have tired to overcome this. The more I force myself to strike up conversations with stranger, the easier it has become. I wish I could go to the conference this year and see all of you again, but I will be in NY next year with bells on!

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  17. I find the more people I know, the more extraverted I become. And I've always known you, Amy. :)

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  18. I am SOO excited about Nationals - particularly to meet the ladies of the crit group whom I have not met in person yet. Also, I am looking forward to the workshops, networking, and catching up with friends I met at Spring Fling.

    Oh, and seeing Clarissa walk away with the Golden Heart of course!

    And cupcakes ... always cupcakes :)

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  19. Can't wait to see you again! I am so far behind...life has been crazy good around here lately, so I've only made it as far as making the list of things I need to do, and I leave Saturday! I'll never make it.

    But, I guess, as long as I remember to pick up the Golden Heart dress from the tailor and pack the shoes, I can't go wrong.

    See you there!

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