Why hadn’t I been before?
Last year I joined the RNA under the New Writers’ Scheme and although I was kept up to date with what was happening via newsletters and Twitter, I didn’t feel totally connected. I was new to the RNA, I was new to Twitter and despite everyone being very welcoming and friendly, it was still only through social networking and I didn’t have that belonging feeling. So when it came to book for conference last year, well, I didn’t. I mean, I wouldn’t know anyone, would I? Everyone else would know everyone else and I’d be there on my own. I enjoy meeting people but it’s not in my nature to randomly strike up a conversation with someone I don’t know, so I didn’t go.
What changed my mind?
Afterwards when I saw everyone’s tweets, read the blogs and saw all the photos, it sounded and looked like everyone had great fun and I did wish that I had been brave enough to go. When I was on a workshop run by Sarah Duncan, both she and another writer said how warm and welcoming the RNA Conference would be and that I really should consider it for 2012.
So this year, with the back-up of my fellow Romaniacs, I took the plunge and booked my place for Penrith.
Even before the weekend, I was made to feel very welcome, firstly, by Jan Jones through reassuring e-mails and, secondly, by the e-mails that circulated for First Time Attendees. It was comforting to know that there were actually many others in the same position.
So, what did I think of the Conference?
FAN – TAS –TIC!
All the talks I attended were brilliant. I can’t thank the speakers enough for the hard work and effort they had clearly put into their presentations – the advice invaluable. Talli Roland’s talk was excellent, lots of tips for getting internet savvy. Nell Dixon’s talk was equally beneficially – the dreaded editing process, which now I perhaps won’t fear quite so much. What can I say about Jane Wenham-Jones’ 9 a.m. Sunday morning slot? Laughter is certainly the best medicine for a slightly fragile head.
I had two 1-2-1 appointments with editors, which although daunting, turned out to be very relaxed affairs yet still maintaining a professional air. Something else I worried far too much about.
Not only did the talks and presentations all live up to and beyond my expectations, but the social side was brilliant too. It was lovely to see so many people I had met in the past year at the RNA winter and summer parties, plus friends I had made through Twitter and Facebook. The whole conference had a lovely re-union feel about it.
What did I get out of Conference?
1. Excellent advice
2. Opportunity of 1-2-1 meetings with editors
4. New laughter lines
Will I go again?