Tuesday, July 27, 2010

RWA or Bust

The big national Romance Writers of America convention is being held this week in Orlando, Florida.  I'm not going for a variety of reasons, although I look forward to living vicariously through my writer friends photos, tweets, and Facebook musings.  The trouble is I'm just not a conference person.  I wish I was but I'm not.  When someone tries to pin one of those sticky "Hello My Name Is..." nametags on me, my skin begins to crawl.

The last time I went to a writer's conference (not RWA) was about two years ago and it was in Florida, coincidentally.  Don't even get me started on the flight from Phoenix to Dallas to Fort Lauderdale.  It was a nightmare flight, especially when the woman seated next to me had three tiny dogs in an itsy bitsy cage underneath the seat in front of her.  (I'm allergic to dogs).  She then proceeded to eat a full box of takeout barbecue ribs from the airport cafeteria and feed them to her dogs.  I'm still recovering.

Then the conference itself was a let's-pack-as-many-people-into-a-conference-room that we possibly can exercise.  It was hard to concentrate on keynote speakers when the person next to you was practically sitting in your lap.  And the rooms were cooled to a pleasant 103 degrees.

I had way more fun relaxing at the hotel bar with a few writer friends and, when I go to conferences, that's usually where you'll find me.  I'll ditch all of the speeches, breakout classes, and ballroom lectures and usually head to the bar.  That's where I have the most fun, make the best contacts, and sometimes even learn a few things. 

How about you? Are you a conference person? Or will I find you in a bar enjoying one of those pretty drinks with the little umbrellas, dancing on tables?  And if so, let's connect! :-)


Unknown said...

Heh - I've only been to one conference, RomCon this month, but the crowding wasn't so bad (except for the tea with sci-fi/fantasy authors, including Christine Feehan). The book bonanza made it very worth my time, but I see the value of the bar-side chats. As a whole, I think lots of people feel the same way. I can't count how many stories I've heard that start with, "I was sitting at the bar with _____".

Write-oriented conferences are probably very different, but I think the networking opportunities work out in much the same way. So, I'll join you in the bar from time to time the next time I go to one. :)

Liz Fichera said...

At least I won't be alone! First round is on me! :-)

Unknown said...

And the second round is on me. :)

It's 2 years since my last conference and I must admit I spent most of the time in the bar. I love to chat with fellow writers/readers but I usually duck out of all the formal stuff. Mind you, I always feel as if I'm missing out if I'm not at the conference.

Liz Fichera said...


Do you think it would be too tacky if we started a writer's conference that just met at bars around the world? ;-)

Unknown said...

Not tacky at all, Liz. In fact it's the best idea I've heard in ages. ;)

Maria Zannini said...

I feel so left out. For the half dozen cons I've attended, I have never sat at the bar.

I like cons--especially if I know several friends will be there, but usually it's just way too expensive for me. I have to economize somewhere and cons were the first to go.

Angelina Rain said...

I have never been to a conference and I know I wouldn’t enjoy it. The idea of sitting in a stuffy, over-crowded room and listening to someone lecturing at some podium will bore me to death and I’ll fall asleep. I would definitely be found sipping a pina colada at the bar.

Liz Fichera said...


The bar is definitely where it's at! ;-) But that just adds to the expense, though. The conferences have become more expensive, particularly the travel/room parts.

Liz Fichera said...


Not all conferences are created equal and they can be a good way to make contacts and learn the publishing biz. Then again, you can learn a lot online too. It just depends what you hope to get out of it.

We'll see you at the bar! Pina colada? Yum!

Unknown said...

LOL...that was funny, Liz!!! BBQ eating dogs....at least she didn't belch with each air-pocket!!!! LOL...ewww!!!

I have to say I would love to go to the RWA Conference! I have never been. I probably might end up at the bar with you, though! I have a thing about hot rooms and over crowded spaces....no thank you!!!

Liz Fichera said...


I only gave you half the story of the lady who sat next to me on my flight. Did I mention that somehow she managed to bring on 12-inch steel knitting needles onto the plane?? Meanwhile, I had to turn over my tube of lip gloss to the TSA at the Security checkpoint?? I kid you not!

You've all given me an idea for a Friday blog! Let's just say that this Friday there will be virtual cocktails for everybody on this blog. :-) Stay tuned...