Thursday, May 2, 2013

The People You Meet - New England Chapter of the RWA

When I went to the big conference in the beginning of April, I was blown away by all the sessions there were - character development, self-publishing, how to land an agent...the list was seemingly endless. It was a great, albeit slightly overwhelming, experience.

The conference this past weekend was different, and in a very, very good way. 

The New England chapter of the Romance Writers of America had a wonderful conference with incredible sessions ranging from a class with Julia Quinn (we discussed colons! Semi-colons! Hyphens vs. commas! It was thrilling, and I am absolutely not joking) to the benefits of obtaining an ISBN number for a self-published work. 

But the best thing this conference had was some the most welcoming, down-to-Earth, friendly, wonderful people you could ever imagine. From the moment I walked in and registered (where I met Sandy, who made me feel like I had always been a part of the group) all the way through when I said my goodbyes to Veronica (whom, after meeting once, I felt I'd known for years), it was as though I'd come home.

Groups of women tend get a bad rep. We do. We're categorized as contrary, snarky, mean backstabbers. We've been portrayed that way throughout history, and throughout literary history as well. This is not to say that we aren't shown in a positive light - we most certainly are, and definitely more positively than negatively across the board. But the sad fact is that many, if not most, people remember the negatives.

Let me tell you about the romance writers I met this weekend. Universally, they:

  • support each other through every up and down
  • read each other's work
  • respect each other enough to give an honest review of said work
  • dance on a tiny dance floor, other people's views be damned
  • laugh loudly
  • cry together
  • make room at tables for anyone, at any time, because you can never have too many friends in one spot
  • jump up and down in the middle of a hotel when someone shares good news
  • welcome each and every person into their group because the success of one is the success of all

It's a sisterhood. It's the feeling of safety, where you can make a fool of yourself and know it's going to make for a great conversation later, because you will be getting together later. It's continuing the journey with people who have been there, are thinking of going there, or are on their way. Like-minded people who are friendly, open, and brutally honest - and you know they're that way to make you better and see your success.

If you haven't already, get yourself to the nearest chapter of RWA and check it out. I can't guarantee that they are all as fantastic as the NE (or the NJ!!) ones, but the feeling of sisterhood (and, for those men who write romance, you are included in this family) is one that is very, very hard to replicate.


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