J. Lynn Rowan

Lessons from RWA’s National Conference

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This past month has been a whirlwind of activity – professional development, a family wedding, Babycakes’s third birthday…

Oh yeah, and a trip to Disney World for RWA2017 (AKA National).

About five years ago, I informed my husband that I was going to the National Conference in 2017 – yes, because it was being held in Disney World. Plans to attend the 2014 conference in San Antonio were scuttled because I would be eminently due to give birth. NYC in 2015 didn’t happen because we’d just moved to Charlotte, and 2016 in San Diego wasn’t doable for a variety of reasons.

So not only was attending this year sort of a goal-met moment for me, it was being held in the Happiest Place on Earth and we could roll a fun family vacay into the whole deal.

I cannot express what it felt like to walk into the conference center. The energy was through the roof – inescapable when so many creative minds gather under that roof. Because of said family vacation (I mean, I didn’t want to miss ALL the magic of Babycakes experiencing Disney for the first time), I gave myself Thursday and Friday, the two “full” days of the conference. And I jammed them full.

Prior to leaving for Florida, I read the very wise advice of fellow Soul Mate author Rebecca Heflin, regarding the challenge introverts face at writers’ conferences. I can’t say I followed her advice well, but I definitely learned some lessons for myself – and maybe for others – that I can take to heart the next time I have the opportunity to attend RWA National.

If you’re not an introvert like me, maybe these lessons don’t apply to you. We all have different professional needs, and finding your stride, figuring out what your conference mojo looks like, is valuable.

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