16 Things I Learned Attending My First Writers Conference (RWA)

16 Things I Learned Attending My First Writers Conference (RWA)

RWA 2014The other week I attended the Romance Writers of America annual conference in San Antonio, TX.

This was not only my first time at the Romance Writers of America conference, but my first time at any writing conference ever. Attending a writers’ conference is something I’ve always had in my career plan. If there’s ever a time the motto “go big or go home” applies, I’d say it definitely applies to attending a conference for the first time, especially one of the largest national writing conferences in the country, and oh yeah, attending that conference in Texas.

My main goal for going to this conference was to learn. I wanted to soak up everything I could about the writing craft, publishing options, marketing, and what going to a writing conference even entails.

So with that being said, here are 16 things I learned at RWA 2014:

  1. Romance writers are some of the most kind and supportive writers I’ve ever met.
  2. Putting thousands of women together in one place CAN actually work.
    1. Especially when you add a few half-naked cowboys to the mix. (Achem, thank you Amazon Kindle Love Stories)
  3. Other authors can be some of the best teachers.
  4. GMC – Goal, Motivation, Conflict. This is the driving force of a character/story.
  5. Self-publishing is widely accepted, and many authors are or will be hybrids.
  6. How to write hot sex.
    1. TIP: Don’t write as if your mother is standing over your shoulder, if you’re stuck for ideas go online and watch a few videos from a porn site like www.tubev.sex/categories/1284/big-black-cock.
    2. TIP: Your hero and heroine’s relationship MUST change after any/every sex scene.
  7. Attending a writers conference does not actually count as writing.
  8. What you get out of a writing conference is 100% about what you put into it. Don’t sleep in. Don’t stay in your room.
  9. Talking with other writers who have similar passions is enlightening and inspiring.
  10. The perfect pitch should include the hook, plot, and conflict.
  11. Conflict is everything. Everything.
  12. You truly never know whom you’ll meet. Even in the bathroom. Be kind to everyone. Ask about what they are working on. Provide advice (when prompted), and accept advice (always).
  13. Make sure you come to the conference with a goal in mind.
  14. Take notes. You will refer back to them later. Apply what you learn to your WIP.
  15. Listen when they say bring an extra suitcase. Hello, BOOKS.
  16. It’s all about the shoes. (Comfy is out. These things start conversations).

I attended this conference to be a better writer and a better editor and I know for a fact I became both after I left San Antonio at the end of that week.

If you are considering a writing conference, think about what you are hoping to get out of it first and then go from there. Do your research to determine what type of conference is best for you. Will they have workshops? Who is most likely to be there that you want to see or meet? How will this benefit your career and in what way?

So, if you are looking for a recommendation on the next writers’ conference to attend, I highly suggest the Romance Writers of America conference in NYC in July 2015. Maybe I’ll see you there!

KATIE MCCOACH is a freelance developmental book editor at KM Editorial working with authors of all levels to help them create their best story possible. Katie is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Editorial Freelancers Association. She has had essays published in TrainWrite and Kalliope and is currently writing a contemporary romance novel. For advice on editing, writing, and publishing visit her blog at https://katiemccoach.com/blog and be sure to also follow her on Twitter @KatieMcCoach.

Speaking of writing, it might be a good idea to get some writing support from online essay writers if you’re interested in developing your essay writing skills.

About Katie McCoach

KATIE McCOACH is a developmental book editor at KM Editorial, LLC working with authors to help them create their best story! Be sure to follow her on Twitter @KatieMcCoach.

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6 Responses to 16 Things I Learned Attending My First Writers Conference (RWA)

  1. Ryan Lanz May 13, 2018 at 8:03 pm #

    Hi Katie! Per your earlier permission, I featured this guest article on http://www.ryanlanz.com , which will post June 9th. As usual, it has your credit/bio/link.


  2. Malinda Martin March 4, 2015 at 5:39 am #

    Great article, Katie, and so true. The National RWA is an awesome conference and I always come away encouraged, inspired, and ready to write.

    See you in New York!

    • katiemccoach March 4, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, Malinda!

      Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the conference in NYC this year. :/ But I most definitely plan to go to the year following, since it’s in San Diego. I think I can handle that drive!

      Do you have any pitch meetings planned for the conference this summer?

  3. Job August 18, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    Very helpful post, Katie 🙂 I’ve always wondered what a writer’s conference would be like. Learned a lot here, especially number 16 – never even considered shoes! For number 15, did you end up exchanging books with anyone you met?

    • katiemccoach August 21, 2014 at 9:21 am #

      Thanks for your comment, Job! I definitely recommend attending a writers conference, if just for the experience alone. But definitely do your research to find one that fits you and seems to offer what you are looking for.

      No, I really didn’t exchange books because often times you either A) received the same books as everyone else or B)picked up the books yourself and had them signed by the authors. That was really neat. However, I did ship a box of books to my friend since I knew there’s no way I could read all of books I had by the end of trip.

      • Job August 21, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

        Very inspiring, Katie. I wonder if I can find any good ones close to where I’m living. Again, great post!

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