Next week, I’m heading west to attend the Romance Writers of America National Conference in Denver, Colorado. This year’s theme is Rethink, Revitalize, Renew – particularly appropriate as I start my reset this month. I’m looking forward to spending time with my writing tribe,
drinking margaritas, talking about the state of the industry, drinking margaritas, and determining the next steps in my writing career.
Seriously, though, while I know that when I talk about conference with non-writers, it sounds as though I’m going to a seven day drunken vacation, there is real benefit to these trips. There is something empowering about being in a room with hundreds of other people (actually thousands of people) who think like you do. Who, when passing a man dragging a duffle bag down the street, have managed to develop a complete backstory and plot before he gets to the corner.
Don’t get me wrong – I love my non writing peeps something fierce. But only other writers understand talk of shrinking medalists and market saturation. What’s more, when I leave for a conference, my Mom, Daughter, Wife, and Bookseller hats stay behind. Simply being Barbara Wallace, Writer is a wonderful well-filling experience. Let’s face it, after the past six months, my well needs some filling.
Plus, I need clarity. The romance industry has shifted a lot in the past couple years. While there’s still room for everyone, those of us who aren’t superstars in the industry need to think long and hard as to where we’ll fit. I’m hoping that in between discussions – and yes, margaritas; some of the best lessons come from the bar – I’ll gain some clarity as to where in Romancelandia my place going forward will be.
It won’t be all drinking and discussions though. I’m giving a talk with Honor Roll author and former RWA President Leslie Kelly on Slaying Your Mental Demons. (Leslie’s got a bunch of RITA pins on her name badge so I’m definitely need to be On My Game!) Other highlights include watching my colleagues Scarlet Wilson and Liz Fielding duke it out in the RITAs for the Best Short Contemporary Romance of 2017, and my friend Janet Halpin compete in the Golden Heart (RITAs Unpublished equivalent). And, of course, I’ll be seeing friends I haven’t seen in months.
All in all, it’s going to be a busy, exiting week. I plan to document as much as possible on my Facebook page, so check in regularly for pictures. There may even be a video or two if I get me act together!