The Flipside, or What I Learned at RWA13

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but too many things kept getting in the way. Whether it was continuing my frantic attempt to finish revisions on my manuscript, the part time social media work I do when I’m not at my job, squeezing in my workouts and remembering to relax once in a while, there always seemed to be a reason why I couldn’t get to this. I left off the last time I posted with severe writer’s block, and a general feeling of meh about my writing that I haven’t had in ages. But since I’ve returned from Atlanta, the best thing has happened. I got my mojo back. Big time.

RWA13 fueled my inspiration in ways I’d never expected. From reconnecting with old friends to solidifying connections with new ones, to the workshops, to the simple act of going somewhere by myself again, it was an incredible experience. And, after weeks of going on overload prepping for it, here’s what I learned:

  1. No one gives a crap about your shoes. Seriously. No one. And if they do, they’re at the conference for the wrong reasons. So wear whatever shoes make you happy and won’t leave blisters on your feet.  Because you’re the one who has to carry your damn luggage around, anyway.
  2. You cannot be everywhere at once. You will want to, but you can’t. There are far too many things going on at once–too many workshops you want to attend, too many post-workshop parties you’ll want to go to. You’re always going to feel like you’re missing out on something. Be happy with wherever you are, whether it’s going to workshops and passing out at night, networking your tush off or a quiet dinner at a coffee shop with a friend away from all the madness. Be where you are at that moment in time, and get everything out of it you can.
  3. Breakfast is not worth getting up for. Pack some granola bars, suck up the line at Starbucks, and sleep in.
  4. Don’t feel the pressure to practice your pitch to anyone who will listen. Hell, don’t feel the pressure for anything at all when it comes to pitching, because it’s really not that bad. I figure, as long as you don’t tip your chair backwards, accidentally knock over your table, end up hitting it into the face of the person you’re pitching to and setting off a chain reaction wherein you knock over every table in the room like dominoes, you’re good. (And even if you did do that, you’d be very memorable!)
  5. Don’t be afraid to eat your dinner at a bar one night and chat with whoever you’re sitting near.
  6. Don’t be afraid to say screw it one night, order room service and a movie, and go through the ridiculous amount of swag you’ve picked up.
  7. Don’t try not to be overwhelmed. You are going to be. And that’s ok. Just roll with it.
  8. And the most important thing I learned by far was what I picked up in the “Joy of Writing” workshop I went to: the two most important words in any writer’s arsenal are “I am.” If you say “I am nervous,” well, you’re going to be nervous. If you say “I am having writer’s block,” well then, guess what’s going to happen? If you’re thinking “I am never going to make it in this business,” then what are the odds of that happening? Now, I’m way too sarcastic a person to really buy into that whole ‘power of positive thought’ stuff, but I took this to heart. Instead of all the negative self-talk I’d been dealing with over the past month, why not say “I am going to bring it?”  And that’s what I did. The morning of my pitches, I kept saying that over and over again, and I got a full, plus synopsis, request from an editor, as well as my first 100 pages from an agent. Score!

So I hope you’re going to bring it. Not just at a conference, not just during a pitch, but every single day.

(And in case you’re wondering, the featured photo with this post is the table number Tara Sue Me and I had to snag at lunch, because that’s how we roll 😉 )

Happy-almost-end-of-August, everyone.


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