My first RWASD meeting was only a year ago. I was brand new to the writing world, completely clueless and utterly terrified. I only showed up because a professional romance writer I chatted with on Facebook encouraged me to attend.
“Trust me,” she said. “This is one of the best things you can do if you want to become a pro.”
So I sucked it up, put down my money, and went. The drive there was nerve-wracking. I was convinced that I’d be laughed at or worse, ignored. I mean, why would all these veteran authors even acknowledge me? I barely had a manuscript finished!
So many nightmare scenarios ran through my head:
“Oh the newb is here. Ugh. I hate newbs. I bet she doesn’t even have a manuscript.”
“How DARE she invade our space!”
“She was probably born in a barn and raised by goats! We don’t allow goat children at our meetings!”
Alright so, my fear was completely irrational. But my heart was in my throat none the less when I walked through that door.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The warmth I was greeted with was overwhelming. So many welcomes! So many fantastic people introducing themselves! They asked for my name, what I write, and where I’m from…
“Oh you write paranormal? So do I! We need to chat!”
“You should sit here. This is a great place to see the speakers. Do you need a pen and paper for notes?”
“Seriously, you’re going to love these meetings. We’re happy to have you!”
These authors were genuinely interest me? A nobody? Yes, yes they were. Some were beginners like me, some were season vets, some were NY Time best sellers but all of them had a passion for telling stories. That passion was contagious. And all of them remembered their first meeting and how it felt to walk through that door, wanting to soothe that terror.
I dove in head first and never looked back.
RWASD meetings are a wonderful place for support an encouragement. Every time I attend I am reminded on why I chose this career and leave feeling inspired. The camaraderie combined with the excellent speakers and opportunities to talk with agents, best selling authors, and publishing pros give budding romance writers a unique and valuable opportunity to learn not only the craft but the industry.
If you are reading this, and are currently debating attending your first RWA meeting, I will be that encouraging voice on the internet.
Go to the meetings.
Its one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Everyone needs a support system and the people in RWASD are there just for that. And trust me, once you want through that door, you’ll want to keep coming back again and again.