From the moment I walked into my very first RWA chapter meeting some four odd years ago, I was hooked. I met amazing people who thought it was perfectly normal to talk about crazy writer eyes and drink mimosas while discussing marketing and beat sheets. Ladies who wanted to talk plot bunnies and gentlemen who were prepared to compare lists of dream agents at a moment’s notice.
These people are the reason I get up on the second Saturday of every month and trek all the way across town to go to meetings. They’re the reason I make every effort possible to get to as many conferences as I can. Not workshops. Not networking. But people. Friends.
But the funny thing is that no matter why I go, I go. I attend at least half a dozen workshops per year at my local chapter meetings, and that many again in a single weekend at a conference. And in spite of myself I keep learning things.
When it came time to plot my latest book, what did I do? I found the handouts from four different plotting workshops I’d been to. Crafting a synopsis? I referred to my notes from the synopsis clinic my chapter-mate put on. Trying to get excited about writing yet another love scene? I even have a handout for that. Self-publishing, copyright law, writer software, editing. You name it, I’ve probably seen someone speak about it.
The business and craft of being a writer are complicated, nuanced things, and the simple fact is that at any stage in a person’s career, there are still new things to learn. We have to keep growing and evolving and finding ways to keep our practice as writers fresh.
I may not have thought I was going to all those meetings and conferences for the workshops. But damn if I haven’t accidentally learned a lot from them all the same.