Editors available for 1:1′s: 8
Gala Dinners with award ceremonies: 1
Kitchen Parties: Unquantifiable
Number of glam dresses, bags and shoes: Infinity and beyond
Amount of wine consumed: Too many gallons to mention
I got back a few days ago from the most fantastic writing conference in the world ever! Every year the RNA has a conference for members, whether those are from the New Writer’s Scheme or ones who have scaled the heady heights of the bestseller lists and/or received awards and everyone in between. I have only been once as a day visitor and this experienced more than lived up to my expectations as a full attendee.
It was a lovely start to my birthday weekend as I drove up to my Aunt’s on Thursday and had a lovely family meal and we then drove up to Penrith together on Friday up a very wet and yucky M6 toll road. The weekend was bracketed by a return journey to Northampton on Sunday and then on to Dorset from there on Monday, hunched over the wheel on a very wet and windy M40/A34/M27 combo.
The writing tips/lessons
I picked up so many hints, tips and lessons from the wealth of experienced industry experts including authors, journalists, editors and agents that I have come away with a folder full of information that I am still trying to digest. From what it’s really like to work with an editor for a year, to effective self-editing, to building an online presence to doing a blog tour to how to be inspired to reach your writing goals and much much more… it was all brilliant and delivered in a warm and inclusive style, whoever the speaker was.
The networking opportunities
Everyone was so friendly it was almost surreal, and it didn’t matter whether that was fellow writers, agents, editors or other lovely bods. The opportunity to meet people in the industry who don’t think you’re mad for telling stories about made up people in your head or who can see potential in your writing is priceless and a great boost in confidence. Among others, I was lucky enough to meet the lovely Gillian Green, Editorial Director for Fiction at Ebury Press and even sat next to the renowned Carole Blake, author of From Pitch to Publication. Plus I had two one:one meetings with editors (maybe I’ll tell you about them some day) so I must admit that I had a bit of a Wayne’s World moment on the Saturday when I wanted to sink to my knees, fling my arms up and bow down, reciting ‘I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy!’ But if there is one thing that the weekend proved it’s that we are all just people and that there is nothing wrong with introducing yourself and having a chat.
I’ll be honest. I don’t get out a lot. I have a full-time day job, I have children and when I make time to write I inhabit my own (anti-social) world. So it’s always great to get out there and be social. And the conference surely gives plenty of chance for that. There was loads of wine, laughter, dirty talk (What? We’re writers!) and opportunities to admire a range of dresses and shoes (there are always shoes, and if you check out the RNA blog you’ll find the photos to prove it). Speaking of photos there are a number of embarrassing rather unflattering ones circling Facebook and as if that wasn’t enough Sue Moorcroft has posted a video on YouTube of some of us singing Dream and Little Dream… as potential promo for her new novel of that title due out later this year!
A massive shout out to the Romaniacs (see photo of small segment of the kitchen party) who made me (willingly or not) an honorary member of the group for the weekend. I am sure that they’ll be blogging about the conference soon at http://theromaniacgroup.wordpress.com/
A big congratulations to Alison May, who won the Elizabeth Goudge award, a short story competition open to all attendees, no matter where they are in their writing journey. Check out her blog at http://alisonmay.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/in-which-i-think-about-what-i-learnt-at-the-rna-conference/. A massive well done also to the two runners-up and everyone who got onto the long list.
Other blogs/websites you may want to check out are:-
Fear not, this is not the end – more photos and blog links to follow. That reminds me, I’m sure I have an article I should be writing for Romance Matters…
For now, happy writing, Nikki