Vegas wrecked me.
It pretty much wrecked every single author who attended the RT conference. In long lines as I was signing books, every single person blinked from tired eyes, saying the same thing. “It’s great, but I’m SO tired.” or “I’ve never felt so drained in my life!” or “That strip club was amazing—did you go?”
Umm, I’ll direct this blog post towards the first two responses.
RT is a big conference, but Vegas was a city that thrived on activity and sin. Smoking. Sex. Gambling. Partying all night. Drinking.
They had an oxygen bar to pump you back up and get you back in the game. That’s hard core, guys.
At least, for this poor solitary writer’s heart.
I have pegged myself as an introvert who does well in social situations. When I am pried and forced from my house, I actually end up enjoying myself and fill up from another person’s energy. People interest me. I forget sometimes how important it is to a writer to leave the office and LIVE. Writing book after book is productive, but it is precisely watching and studying human nature and the scenes that play out around us that fuel our imagination and creative purpose.
I’m happy I went. Sure, I needed a detoxification process when I returned, and I’m still jet lagged, and I still haven’t written a word because I’m having a harder time than I thought going back to my old routine.
But this conference, for me, served dual purposes.
- 1. Meet readers personally. In a cyber world, there is still something special about the personal touch. Shaking hands, signing books, chatting, saying “thank you” all of this is important in the cycle of life. It reminds us real people are at the receiving end of every story we write. It’s humbling to know how much readers love your books, and listen to what they have to say. I made contact with booksellers and librarians who hand deliver their books to their patrons. That’s important. One reader drove over 3 hours just to meet me, which made me tear up. I heard that some readers picked up and read my books just because of one thing.
I was nice to them.
That’s it. I was nice, they liked me, so they gave me a read. And I hooked them, because I rely on the quality of my stories to do my real talking for me.
To me, that was priceless.
- Meet writers.
Networking and brainstorming was my other goal and I learned so much valuable information. Talking shop in person is crucial, and can give you much more information than the constant blogs and publications we read. Yes, they are important, but having a private conversation with other authors and hearing what they are doing, or trying, or failing at, is key. I brought back new ideas to try, learned about some hard parts of the business, and made new connections that were invaluable. I also laughed my ass off and had a wonderful time.
My final thoughts?
It was worth it to me. The social connections I made with so many wonderful people have filled up my well as a human being, and a writer. Now, I wouldn’t be able to attend these conferences constantly, because it is extremely draining. But I’d highly recommend trying something you’re comfortable with to get outside and meet people in person. Talk to them in person. Push your boundaries and do something scary, because that my darlings, is what makes you grow and become better.
Yes, you’ll be tired. You won’t get as much writing done. But I think sometimes, work is about the whole world of writing and creativity, and not just penning the words to paper.
Here’s a short list of some people I’ve met, spent time with, laughed with, shared Vegas secrets with, and who made me better. If I listed everyone, it would be a novel. These are just the names I remember as I’m writing this blog right now, right here.
Liz Berry, Jillian Stein, J. Kenner, Melissa Rheinlander, Amy Jennings, Kate Meader, Kresley Cole, Emma Chase, Alice Clayton, Christina Lauren, Laura Kaye, Molly O’Keefe, Megan Mulry, Rebecca Royce, Kristin Dwyer, Lauren McKenna, Liz Psaltis, Nina Bocci, Abbi and Adam from Gallery, Kristen Proby, Laurelin Page, Karin Tabke, Melody Anne, Larissa Ione, KL Grayson, Lisa Kessler, Mary Leo, Julie James, Catherine Bybee…
there’s more but this gives you a great idea!
PS: I took a crazy helicopter ride out of the Grand Canyon in a terrible hailstorm. It was touch and go, but I figured my odds of survival were pretty high, so I just held on and gave in to my inner badass. What a ride…