Wednesday, July 19, 2017

RNA Conference - Harper Adams University, Telford

We are thrilled that RNA member Liz Fenwick was able to put pen to paper so quickly to write about her experiences of the RNA’s conference held this past weekend at Harper Adams University in Telford, Shropshire.

I’ve attended every conference except one since I joined the RNA as an unpublished writer in 2005.
Liz Fenwick
And each and every year I have come away with something wonderful…frequently unexpected but always needed. This year has been no different. The conference is my time to be with my tribe where the writer part of me is allowed to be fully present and no one thinks it is at all strange.

In the past the brilliant sessions have been my focus…things to bring my writing up to speed. But this year proved different. The sessions I attended were exactly what I needed to hear, but it was the time sitting quietly with other writers that was what I needed most. Whether it was the quick chat on the stairwell, the one in the queue at the bar, or the leisurely ones in the kitchen.

One of the popular panel discussions
These past twelve months since the last conference haven’t been the easiest. I have kept on writing but it’s been hard and at times truly lonely. What this conference gave me was love and belief from my fellow writers…they believed that I could still do this writing lark. They reminded me that I am a writer not by saying it so much, but by the joy in the discussions. The moments when I could provide the tip or the writing hack that might help them out of a tight corner while they gave me the same. Crucially the pep talk that they gave me that the book I was editing all weekend was good even if it needed more work.

Then there were those long conversations where we all bared our fears that we weren’t good enough
The beautiful wall hanging to commemorate
the life of much missed Carole Blake
or our stories weren’t. Then came the high points when we toasted our successes and that wonderful feeling of being a part of those achievements. I remember the divine Katie Fforde saying to me, when my debut novel came out, that every time a new writer she has known reached that magic moment she loved it…it was a little like living through it all over again. There were many of those joyful moments this weekend as writers I’ve watched on their journey shared their joy.

So I’ve come away from the conference much more whole. The many hugs I received have helped put me back together. On the industry panel Isabel Dixon said the thing she would tell writers… is to be generous…generous to other writers and to readers. I can say hand on heart that the RNA does that and this weekend’s dose of generosity has renewed this writer’s soul. I’m already counting the days until next year.

About Liz:

Writer, ex-pat expert, wife, mother of three, and dreamer turned doer....
Award winning author of The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, A Cornish Stranger, Under A Cornish Sky, A Cornish Christmas Carol (a novella) and The Returning Tide. After nine international moves, I'm a bit of a global nomad. It's no wonder my heart remains in Cornwall.

Thank you for writing such a special piece for the RNA blog, Liz. x

A few of our members have also been blogging about their experiences at this year’s conference:


John Jackson said...

One thing that I certainly feel, and I think many others do too.

When we are at Conference, we have "Permission to Write, and to Talk About It."

We ALL speak the same language for that weekend, and the cares of everyday life stay out of sight.



Unknown said...


Anita Chapman said...

Beautiful post, Liz. And thanks, Elaine for linking to my post from the conference-what a wonderful weekend.

Unknown said...

Thanks Anita xx

Clare Flynn said...

Great post and so true. It was my first RNA conference and I found the authors I met so warm and generous.

Anne L Harvey said...

This really struck home for me, Liz. Because of mobility problems, I haven't been able to get to a conference for three years, not been able to attend RNA chapter meetings for nearly as long. I hadn't realised how much I missed the support of my lovely fellow writers till you put my thoughts into words. Hoping for better things next year!

Terri Fleming said...

My debut novel was published on the Thursday before the conference and then I high-tailed it up the motorway to be with my tribe on Friday. Nothing beats being with other writers who understand your successes and your moments of frailty - as Liz says with such eloquence.

Unknown said...

Calre - I'm so pleased your first conference was'll find they are addictive. x

Anne - fingers crossed that you can make 2018 x

Terri - congrats on your debut and how wonderful to celebrate at the conference x

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