33 Responses to “My Love/Hate Relationship With the RWA National Conference”

  1. katiebabs July 15, 2009 at 7:15 AM #

    A week to recover? Try a whole year. But overall a grand old time even without sleep.

  2. Vivian Arend July 15, 2009 at 7:30 AM #

    I went to the Lori Foster reader/writer event this June and had an amazing time. Since there were few midday activities it didn’t have that panicked ‘I must do this…and that…and OMG what….’ that conferences can produce.

    Meeting my CP’s in person for the first time was the highlight of the trip.

    But the sleep thing? Lack thereof? Oh yeah. But sleep is for wimps…

  3. ev July 15, 2009 at 7:36 AM #

    I just got back from Readercon in Burlington, MA. RWA may be full of women, but Sci-fi cons are full of nerds and geeks. I find it amusing. Kinda like a real life Big Bang Theory. However, some of them have never gotten the message about what NOT to wear and about combing or washing their hair. I am stil recovering from some of the things I saw this weekend. It was at a Marriott also. I hate that there is no internet without paying for it. So much for “full service hotel”. although this one had a greenhouse and they would let you go in it. I did get a bunch of shopping done and hit a sale at the Sony store for a new ereader for one of the kids. LOL

  4. Shannon Stacey July 15, 2009 at 7:40 AM #

    One nice thing about my not attending is that I won’t be notorious all over the internet for being the author who stabbed another other with a fork when she reached for the always-too-small coffee carafe over breakfast.

  5. Chris July 15, 2009 at 7:47 AM #

    I have been to academic conferences, back in my grad school days. I went to a national forestry conference, a national rhetoric conference, and some conferences on teaching English/writing.

    Do try to make it out to see some of the city! Some of my favorite conference memories involve non-conference things, such as going to see the band X in Indianapolis or lying by the pool in Tucson instead of drowsing in the audience of a dreary talk.

    Please, take pictures of the Nora’s shoes for us! 🙂

  6. Kwana July 15, 2009 at 7:51 AM #

    Thanks for sharing Jaci. I’m so sad about not seeing my writer friends this year. I always feel like i need 2 weeks to recover from conference fatigue. You are always on at conference. It non-stop. I’m the queen on comfy shoes. Mine are awful really but they get me thru.

  7. Kira Daniels July 15, 2009 at 8:32 AM #

    I’ve only been to one RWA conference and I LOVED it!! I hope to go next year because its closer to me. 🙂 I love just about everything about it. Except for the dressing nice every day. Doesn’t everyone know that authors wear sloppy clothes most the time??? lol I love talking to people–that is the best.

  8. Rhian Cahill July 15, 2009 at 8:44 AM #

    I got to go to my first two conferences this year. Flew all the way from Singapore to attend the RT convention in Orlando then hung around visiting my CP’s before heading to the Lori Foster event. I had a ball. The best part was meeting all the great authors I’ve met online over the last two years. Brilliant! I’ll be back next year for the Lori weekend.

  9. Lillie A July 15, 2009 at 10:01 AM #

    I go to Dragon Con every year and I absolutely love it. And while the panels are great, my favorite part is seeing my friends.

    Drawbacks : Everything is spread out over 4 hotels. It really sucks to be in the Hilton and realize that you need to be at the Hyatt in 5 minutes. And you are wearing a costume that has 5 inch platforms.

    Staying up until 4 am partying with friends and getting back up at 7 to march in the parade.

    And the worst, people that don’t understand personal hygiene! Soap, water, and deodorant are important! Too many forget to use these things at least once a day. It’s in Georgia, in August. By Sunday night, the funk is horrible.

  10. jaciburton July 15, 2009 at 10:25 AM #

    Lillie – 4 hotels? That’s a LOT of running. And depending on the type of conference, the whole personal hygiene thing makes me insane. You either get people who bathe in perfume…or don’t bathe at all. Bleh.

  11. ev July 15, 2009 at 10:32 AM #

    Lille- The personal hygiene thing seems to run rampant in the Sci-fi con world. I have no idea why. This weekend was the worst I have seen it. Ours here in Albany is small, so it isn’t as bad.

    I plan on getting to DragonCon next year if I have to put my family in a storage locker while I am gone. I really wanted to go this year but couldn’t do it because of scheduling conflicts. But dang it, I am going…..

  12. Connie T July 15, 2009 at 10:34 AM #

    I’ve never been to a writers/readers conference. Would I want to go….hmmmm…maybe. But the thought of 2000 women in one place at one time just freakes me out. I mean with my luck, they’d all have PMS at the same time! LOL! Seriously tho, it would be really cool to get a chance at meeting my favorite authors and get my books signed it. It’d be like one stop shopping! ;o)

  13. ArkansasCyndi July 15, 2009 at 11:05 AM #

    I love to go to conferences for all the reasons you listed. (No pressure on Nora every year to outdo with her shoes, huh?)

    But I find it exhausting. All the smiling. All the social chit-chat. All the Nora stalking! My feet (ankles) swell up to double sized. No amount of foot elevation works.

    And I hate getting “dressed” every day. And make-up and hair! YIKES. What a hassle.

    Even still, I wish I were there. I WILL be in Nashville WITHOUT A DOUBT!

  14. Ann July 15, 2009 at 11:45 AM #

    Jaci, go to RT next year, it’s a blast. Larissa and I are already planning to attend next year, and it’s in Columbus, OH (not sure if that would make a difference either way). I went to Lori Foster’s this year and had a great time. 🙂

  15. Renee July 15, 2009 at 11:47 AM #

    Don’t enter me for the drawing :). I have been to RT 3 times and Lora Leigh’s RAW last year. I love it because you get to meet so many authors and hang out with your online friends in person. I think the only thing I really hate is having to stand in lines for every thing. LOL.


  16. TAMARA HOLBERT July 15, 2009 at 11:51 AM #

    No, unfortunately, I have not been to a conference. I would LOVE to!! It would be awesome to be able to meet all of the authors I have read for so many years! I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some of you a little better through this cool thing called “facebook”. 🙂 It is is nice to discover that you are all (for the most part) down to earth, real people!

  17. Larena Wirum July 15, 2009 at 12:05 PM #

    I would love to go to one of the conference but right now that isn’t going to happen. hopefully one of these days. 🙂 As for vacation not sure if or when or where that is going to happen either.

  18. Emily July 15, 2009 at 12:22 PM #

    Hi! I have never been to a writer/readers conference. As an avid reader, I would really love to go. sounds like a lot of fun. (right now, I am waiting on Amy Knupp to leave a few pics on my fb page so I can “pretend” I’m there- LOL! )
    The only conference I make EVERY year is a homeschool convention. Lots of fun, LOTS of networking, great workshops. Wearing comfortable shoes is required, as is bringing at least one large EMPTY box on wheels and several water bottles, make-up is optional, at least my hair is done nicer than normal, and I have mentioned the SHOPPING? Hubby hands me $1-2 thousand in CASH and says not to spend it all in ONE place! LOL! Everyone leaves with at least one new reading book of choice. 🙂
    It does take a day or 2 to recover, and about a month to go through all the vendor stuff. Hmmmm, makes me want to go again now. the one I went to this year in our new state was less than satisfactory. So look out Jaci, I’m going to OK homeschool’s conf next year inOKC!! Do you need a new book? it will be on me! 🙂

  19. sashawhite July 15, 2009 at 2:05 PM #

    I ditto all you said about love/hate conferences. LOL I’ve never been to a small one though, and I often wonder if they might be more love than hate… just a thought.

  20. MarnieColette July 15, 2009 at 2:37 PM #

    I would love to go personally but the wearing Make-up thing everyday – yikes!

  21. Terri W. July 15, 2009 at 3:44 PM #

    Hi Jaci,

    Great post thanks for sharing with us.

    I’ve never been to a conference but I would love to go one day.

    Wow it’s been so long since I’ve had a real vacation!

  22. Sandi July 15, 2009 at 4:22 PM #

    I got to attend the literacy signing once, and have always wanted to go again. When I might have had the chance I was in Buffalo NY with my family, and never forgiven my friends for all the fun they had without me.

    This year a bunch of my friends are again attending, and having a fab time I’m sure, but I’m going to pretend it’s just awful so I don’t feel all that jealousy.

    It’s really sweet of you to offer a book to those of us left behind.

  23. Elisa Jankowski July 15, 2009 at 6:25 PM #

    The husband and I used to go to the San Diego Comic Con every summer. We’ve missed the last few summers (including this year’s) because we’re trying to save money – but the cons are a blast! Lots of free stuff and encounters with famous people I would never otherwise see/meet. Fun, with a capitol ‘F’.

    I’ve also done conferences for work, which are nice considering traveling is paid for by the employer, but you’re obligated to not take naps in the middle of the day. early rise + late to bed = requisite naptime. I’m not sure how well I’d fare with the RWA conference because I’d want to see everything!

    The traveling is my favorite part!

  24. Elisa Jankowski July 15, 2009 at 6:28 PM #

    ::clears throat::

    *capital ‘F’

    Oh and the free drinks at the work convention I last went to were nice. Lots of attendees weren’t drinking, so the drink tickets were going to get thrown away … so I appropriated them. Can you blame me, honestly? 🙂

  25. ms bookjunkie July 15, 2009 at 7:50 PM #

    LOL @ personal hygiene! Check out http://devilspanties.keenspot.com for conference fun.

    I’ve never been to a conference, but am considering going to IASPR next year since it’s probably my only shot at one connected to romance in, like, forever. Seeing that it’s in Belgium and everything. I might be able to make it to Belgium. That’s on my continent. Crappy cheap flights exist. *wanders off to figure out how to make it work*

  26. Leigh Royals July 15, 2009 at 8:52 PM #

    wow. I envy those who’ve gone. I haven’t been to any writer’s convention, and the closest thing I can think of conference is band related activities. Band camps, competitions, etc.
    And, yeah, I have those “this one time at band camp–” moments.

  27. Donna S July 15, 2009 at 11:28 PM #

    I havent attended a lot of conferences but I have worked at a few. And all your points are so good. It seriously takes at least a week to recover. And even if you stay a extra day or two to see the city you are in, you wont care or feel like it by the time the conference is over.

  28. Amy Mowers July 16, 2009 at 5:06 PM #

    I have never been to a conference, but I would love to. They all sound so fun! But I live in northern Indiana…where not a lot of action happens. Maybe someday. 🙂

    Amy M

  29. tennismom mary g July 16, 2009 at 5:11 PM #

    My last sales conference was up in Northern Ontario at a resort in late, late fall. On the first night there I dislocated my elbow. I tripped on an uneven section of flooring in a hallway and smashed my arm into the opposite wall. My arm hung limply at my side. I couldn’t understand why it was numb but hurt like H. The company director & his asst. took me to the hospital that evening but they did not have an orthopedic surgeon on staff. They had to drive me hours away to another city. It started snowing the kind of snowfall where the flakes blow at the car window no matter what direction you drive.
    At the hospital they had to put me out to relocate my elbow & gave me a prescription for tylenol with codiene. I missed some of the meetings & saved the codiene for the trip home on the company bus so I could sleep. I didn’t know I couldn’t tolerate codiene & threw up all the way home. At the Toronto airport we dropped off the sales reps from out of province & I still remember them saying one by one as they were leaving the bus “Hope you’re feeling better Mary” . It’s been about 14 yrs & we still laugh about it. The dr. told me that this heals faster than a break but hurts more. I’d rather give birth again than do that & it’s not funny to wreck your funny bone.

  30. Michelle B July 16, 2009 at 9:36 PM #

    I don’t do too well at conferences because I like to sleep too much. Oh well.

    And I’d love to win one of your books 🙂

  31. Paula July 17, 2009 at 3:02 AM #

    I’ve been to a reader con once, got sick in the middle of it but still had tons of fun. The main attraction was seeing long-distance friends.

  32. Faith July 17, 2009 at 10:24 AM #

    I attended my first writing conference this year, and was amazed at how exhausted I was at the end. Constant socializing with strangers (or anyone, really) exhausts me… at the end, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball, read a book, and disappear from the world for at least a week. And maybe ban smiling from my facial expressions for awhile. Hah! But, I enjoyed it nonetheless. Great information and great contacts, so I’m sure I’ll do it again next year.

  33. Noelle S. July 18, 2009 at 8:53 AM #

    Hi Jaci,

    I have been to many conferences over the years for various reasons. The bathroom wait is always the worst part…lol.

    The camaraderie that developes is awesome indeed. It just so happened at a National Restaurant Assoc. convention I was sitting with a fellow who traveled the world searching for unique quality liquors for his high-end restaurant. When I told him later in the conversation that I didn’t know much about alcohol and I had never been drunk before he gave me a dumbstuck look and then proceeded to remedy the situation. We made it back to the hotel around 1:30am and I proceeded to spend the next hour or so watching the walls melt. 😀

    You also see the strangest things at conferences. The 50+ VP of my company trying to “Freak Dance” with his wife after hours of drinking was something I could have done without. Stir crazed managers who after the 10th hour of the conference went outside to plaster a hateful speakers Cadillac with cacti and Barbies in various positions doing the deed, PRICELESS.

    I would love to win a copy of Riding on Instinct.


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