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.