Welp, NECRWA 2016 is now a memory, conference clothes have been (mostly) laundered, I still have to put swag away/distribute specific items to those who have called dibs, and follow up on contacts made over the course of the weekend. I have notes on Beach Ball to transcribe, as Melva and I outlined four scenes on the drive back, and a wealth of information from some excellent workshops to implement. Pictures taken during the conference are in my phone, but taking their time to actually show up in my email, so I may have to wing it for today’s entry, and show the pretties on Wednesday.
Which is fine, actually, because taking a good, hard look at how things actually work is part of my takeaway from the conference. One of several, really, some tangible objects, others not, but I want to get some impressions down here before the rest of the week intrudes. Sunday, I was a slug under my duck blankey, awake long enough only to consume food Real Life Romance Hero (himself also a slug, but a really handsome one) had delivered because neither of us was up to operating complicated machinery like stoves or toasters or microwaves. I had plans to read, because reading is something I need to make more time for, as reading is absolutely part of the writing process. Reading turned to napping under the blankey while half-listening to (watching would require open eyes) Bar Rescue on whatever channel plays that show. Food Network? I should know that, but I don’t. Real Life Romance Hero had control of the remote, which was fine, because :points to duck blankey reference.:
Today was Monday, which became a transition day. Laundry, following up on contacts, planning and organization, and going over the notes from the awesome workshops I attended on Saturday. It feels like I’m getting my house in order and doing homework at the same time. That all fits with the sense of entering a new season. I’m not talking about spring, even though of course, that’s happening at the same time, but life in general.
Susan Mallery gave a wonderful workshop on writing more, which is definitely one of my goals. Encouragingly, it would appear I’m doing some things right: writing at the same time each day; paying more attention to how I put a book together, rather than what works for anybody else; and paying special attention to what books I love and what books I hate. Which books were a joy to write, and which ones made me want to shove pencils in my eyes, because that would be less painful? Since I like lists and schedules, some of her tips in that department, which she warned might be “really scary” for some participants, actually got me pumped to put them into motion. Anything that gives me a reason to start a new notebook is okay by me. This workshop also helped me decide that today would be the transition/organization/planning day. I like to know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, how it’s going to get done, and then let me at it.
Tanya Michaels’ workshop on surviving setbacks was the perfect chaser, because that is also pertinent to my interests. Every writer is going to have some setbacks, some disappointments, some detours. Every writer is going to get thrown from the metaphorical horse. The key is getting back up, and getting back on; basic, yes, but important to hear, and important to find out the steps to take to figure out which way “up” actually is for that particular circumstance. Again, the key seems to be finding out what works for the individual and sticking with that. I loved hearing that yes, it is okay to have a core story. Watching Tanya display book after book after book and happily announce that they were all about a cowboy and a single mom, a cowboy and a single mom, a cowboy and a single mom, etc, struck a note. I don’t write about cowboys or single parents, but it’s the principle of the thing. Have the core story, and find new ways to tell it. That, I can do.
Donna Alward gave a wonderful workshop on creating character cheat sheets, which sheet I need to request, as they were hot properties, and with good reason. Joanna Shupe, whose Magnate, the first in her Knickerbocker series of Gilded Age New York historicals, I am currently reading, spoke on writing the intricacies of writing physical intimacy. Since Melva and I needed to get on the road halfway through, we’re going to have to pester friends for details on what we missed by leaving early, but that’s one of the best takeaways from these conferences; friends.
This year, Melva and I wound up at a table full of super fun, talented women, with whom we instantly bonded. Some, we’d met before, at other dinners, from other conferences, and some were new-met, but we clicked at dinner and stuck together through the weekend, and, now, that we’re released back into the “real world,” ready to put theory into practice, we’re sticking with each other here, as well. A new chapter begins.