So many smarter and more astute people are posting their wrap-ups to RWA14. Some can even do it with Supernatural GIFs. (Jennifer Armentrout is so full of win.) If you follow my twitter you’ll see that
I LEARNED SO MUCH.
And I didn’t even learn what I went to learn.
Which is great.
I will explain. I went to RWA nationals with the intention to learn everything I could about craft, to only take the workshops that taught the fundamentals and mechanics of writing. I looked at the workshop offerings and thought, “publicity, six figures, publishing, blah blah blah.” Those other things were for people more advanced in a writing career than me. Someone like me, a
virtual unknown needs to write a damn good book. Or six. Hence, the focus on craft.
But then I got to San Antonio and I just started… following. Following the whispers, the advice, the serendipitous occasions. Following Julia Kelly. (Or did she follow me? We may never know). And when I followed this mysterious whispering wind, I found myself in the presence of Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, Sylvia Day, Julia Quinn, Bella Andre… the list goes on and freaking on. And sometimes those fabulous women would talk about craft (SEP’s exercises on character will stay with me for a long time) and sometimes they would say stunning things like “Don’t write from a place of fear” (That was the ah-maz-ing Sarah Maclean) or “Stop fucking around and write” (that was the inimitable Nora Roberts. Seriously. Nora Roberts is a BAMF.)
I heard these inspiring writers talk about having no regrets, even when their careers were dead and no one believed in them. To them, a dead end only meant they got to scale the wall or throw their truck into four wheel drive and take it off road. They look back and are thankful for a bad contract or an unhelpful publisher because it pushed them to be better, be stronger, be more resilient.
I heard, “Be you.”
I heard, “Your voice is sacred.”
These are not messages women hear every day.
And these were the messages I needed to hear. Maybe they won’t help me write a damn good book or six.
But maybe they will.