July 27th through August 1st I'll be in Orlando with a couple of thousand other romance writers. So what's the draw? Mickey Mouse? For some maybe, but for me the draw is the National Romance Writers of America Annual Conference.
I was in Orlando with the family doing the mouse thing in April. Though I do plan to visit Epcot my favorite. Mostly I plan to be at the Swan/Dolphin Hotel Resort attending numerous workshops to perfect my craft.
Last year I discovered the benefits of volunteering. This will be my 4th conference.
The first one in Reno in 2005 was a bewildering adventure. I learned quickly to slow down before I overloaded my poor brain and it exploded. That year I tried to hit a workshop every hour, on the hour with no breaks. I did not want to miss anything.
Then I attended Dallas in 2007, I slowed it down a bit, but still overdid. Still the information and networking was worth it.
2009 D.C. I finally decided to volunteer. I moderated two workshops and helped with the agent/editor appointments. One of the workshops was Susan Elizabeth Phillips, talk about an awesome opportunity. Then I helped on Saturday morning with Agent/Editor pitch appointments. Yes I missed a lot of workshops, however, I met a lot of very nice agents and editors. Mmmm... did that help my career? You bet it did.
I suggest a couple of things so you don't burn out and you get the most of your conference. First go online and check the DVD's from last year and if available still the year before. Are there workshops that were offered both years? I know that Susan Elizabeth Phillips one that I moderated is offered again this year and I highly recommend it but if you miss it, most likely you'll be able to catch it next year.
If you know you'll be attending next year, this is the way to go, pick some for next year. And give yourself a break once in awhile. You can't remember everything, and sometimes you brain needs a free hour to assimilate what it's just learned.
The second thing I suggest is--Volunteer, you have some very good opportunities and it is worthwhile to help out.
Did I miss anything? Oh yes, I hope to see you there!