I didn't attend RWA's national conference last week. Did I miss going? It's kind of hard for me to miss something I've never experienced, but I always hear how wonderful it is so I'd like to go someday. If I'd had the time and money, I probably would have made the trip last week. But alas, I have a day job and I'm financially challenged.
Though I've never been to nationals, I make it a point to attend smaller conferences whenever I can. My absolute favorite that I've never missed in fifteen years is Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Colorado Gold. Why is it so special? Because it's all fiction, all genres. Very, very cool. You get the best of all worlds at this conference. The next one coming up is in September and I can hardly wait! Every year I reunite with dozens of writer friends I've known for as long as I've been attending this conference.
There are several things that set this conference apart and make it special. Lots of male writers attend this event and it's great to hear the guys' perspectives on writing. The guest agents and editors hear pitches from attendees, present their own workshops and panels, just like they do at RWA conferences. But the bonus is the critique workshops with the agents and editors who run them. I've learned so much from these intimate gatherings where an industry pro has read your sample pages beforehand and offers feedback in a group setting with a handful of other attendees. I love it!
I also enjoy the pre conference party for all the committee people who help make the conference happen. In fact, every evening is party time. I eat too much, drink too much, and never get enough sleep. Though I used to attend all the workshops years ago, now I only catch two or three, and buy the CDs of the interesting ones I missed. I also give a workshop or two myself. But my greatest delight is soaking up the creative energy from all these inspirational people, my fellow writers, who share my passion for writing books. It's awesome! And it charges my creative battery for another year.
Being with people who "get me" as a writer is invaluable. I think any conference anywhere will do that. Being around people who share my same interest in writing is like being in heaven. It's the best!