I'm very excited to attend this year's RWA Conference. Last year in Sydney was my first RWA Conference and what a mind blowing experience it was!.
I’m an introvert.
I have never been comfortable making small talk. The thought of going to a conference and socialising with a few hundred people who I didn’t know was terrifying but being finalist in the Ripping Start Contest and the enthusiasm of a friend who attended her first conference the year before helped me to gather the courage to register.
I even registered to pitch to a publisher and an agent!
Then decided to volunteer for the Committee, but that's a story for another time!
Having a friend who I knew well outside of RWA did help but I didn’t want to be the needy friend hanging off her arm all day, she had made new friends the year before (who also welcomed me).
I was still the person wandering around smiling, fan-girling (quietly off to the side), saying hello, starting conversations and then being unable to finish them (I promise to try better this year!) but every single person I met or sat next to was friendly and many were clearly in the same boat as me.
The “newbie” attendees were supported by a group of wonderful, lovely and generous members (big shout out to Lisa Ireland, Clare Connelly, Nina Campbell and many others). The pre-conference Facebook chats were invaluable in easing my need to know what I was doing before I attended.
RWA members are a lovely, talented bunch of people and I’ll talk more about my experiences in the lead up to the Melbourne Conference.