I’ve just returned from my very first writing conference – the RWA Nationals in New York City – what a blast! Over 2000 romance authors and industry professionals get together once a year for a week to network, share their craft and marketing strategies, and most of all – make new friends! I’ve been to quite a few medical conferences in my career and I have to say there are some very subtle but noticeable differences.
First off – the prep. There was a lot of prep for a writing conference. We were given a link to a video showing how and what to pack (colour coordination and rolling all your clothes is key), on how to use the elevator at the hotel (no buttons inside the elevator – you had to punch your floor in the box before you got on AND wait for it – remember which elevator you were assigned – because you know, no buttons in the elevator) and were given advice for socializing for introverts (say hi, ask where they’re from and what they write. Yes, we were given icebreaker question suggestions – these are my people). We were told to set goals and plan – but no worries we were also given an app for that! I think if doctors were told they had to plan this much for a conference, they would give up. Writers are a hardy lot.
Second off – the parking. Here in Kingston, at the conference centre, we park outdoors on a paved lot. Occasionally if it’s really busy, there might be overflow onto the adjacent grass. THIS is what the parking looked like in NYC. It’s like a vending machine for cars. I’ll take F5 – a new black Porsche. (And maybe if I bang on the machine, 2 cars might fall out?)
Third – the workshops. No signing up, feel free to change your mind, the presenters don’t mind if you walk out, workshops. Golden. This isn’t very common at medical conferences. We tend to stay put – physically anyway. I’ve plotted some very interesting novels at medical conferences 🙂
Fourth – the pitch sessions. What a great idea! At the Nationals, authors have a chance to pitch their ideas to editors and agents to see if they’re interested in publishing the story or representing the author to the publishing houses. I think this could really catch on in the medical world. One big room filled with scientists and those people who have the grant money. It’d be like speed dating. Before the researcher spends countless hours preparing a cumbersome proposal, they could take 10 minutes to pitch their ideas and see if there is any interest. Wouldn’t that be such a time saver? Writers know what they’re doing.
Despite the differences, I did notice one very striking similarity. The coffee consumption! 🙂 Stay tuned – I met some awesome Soul Mate authors and I’ll share the pics!