Not for the faint of heart

Yesterday marked the end of the 2010 RWA National Conference. Knowing over 2000 writers and industry professionals were going to converge and experiencing it are two very different things. I’ve been a member of Romance Writers of America for ten years. I’ve watched and listened with envy from a distance many times, but nothing prepared me to be an attendee…no tip sheets, no advice, nothing that my friends could share about their past experiences quite captured the frantic madness I found myself a part of when I wheeled my shiny new XOXO Amore luggage into the labyrinth that is The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

Don’t get me wrong. It was a glorious madness at times.
Dancing to the Black Eyed Peas on the same dance floor as Nora Roberts during the Harlequin Party. Listening to Heather Graham sing. Talking with the amazing Olivia Gates. (A woman of such warmth and beauty that she brightens every room she enters.)

Again and again I was achingly reminded of the young girl I once was…the daughter of an alcoholic who found a box of Harlequin romances in her mother’s closet that took her away from poverty and pain to exotic places where positive relationships arose out of conflict and became happily ever afters.

To say this week was emotional for me is taking understatement to the extreme.

Though I attended the conference as a professional woman with goals to achieve and books to promote, the young girl I once was walked with me every step of the way.

And what we both discovered was the awesome crush of creativity, struggle, perseverance and hell-bent-for-leather, kick ass mightiness that goes into bringing those happily ever afters to life.

Here in Orlando I had my first close up look at the incredible effort that goes into creating the magic I found in mom’s closet that day. It was my own effort to do the same multiplied on the grandest scale imaginable.

There were moments when I felt empowered and moments when I felt drained. There were ah ha moments when I learned information vital to my career. There were moments of connection when I learned just how precious time spent with others of my same species can be.

And just when I began to catch my breath, blink back my amazement and find my way to a bathroom when I needed one, my first RWA conference was over.

Next year I’ll be more experienced with workshops and signings, dinners and parties, appointments and editors not to mention brushing elbows with legends.

And maybe with practise I might even be able to dance in heels.

5 Responses to “Not for the faint of heart”
  1. Your gonna make me cry!! So greatmeeting you if only for a short time!

  2. Suzanne Rock says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time, Barbara. I’m so happy you got a chance to experience the madness! 😀

  3. chandraryan says:

    This post was so inspiring. Something about conferences (even hearing about other people’s experiences at them) always motivates me. Glad you had such a great time. Thank you for sharing it with us 🙂

  4. I enjoyed meeting you also, Stephanie! I have all these wonderful, but brief conversations swirling in my mind this morning. I’m very intrigued by your myths and monsters. You’ll have to come by and tell us all about your Bites some time!

    It was mad, Suzanne. And I was completely wowed by Amanda and Dara Lee and Barbara C…my conference veteran companions. They certainly had it all together while I was wandering in a daze. LOL

    Chandra, I would say motivation was the single most valuable thing I carried away from conference!

  5. Susan Blexrud says:

    Beautiful post, Barbara!

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