A month ago, I would have simply called it by it’s regular name: RWA National in San Antonio, rather than the above Twitter-friendly handle. As I’m still getting the hang of social media (which I’ve shortened to “the socials” in an odd throwback to high school) I’m not sure what those hash-tags do, but Therese, my social media guru says they’re a good thing and that works for me.
So off I go to #RWA2014.
While this is actually my fourth RWA National, this one feels a little different. This time around, I’m celebrating that I reached a goal I’ve been working toward for a very long time. And I do mean a long time.
When I attended my first National, RWA 2000 in Chicago (no hash-tags yet), I had no idea just how long. I’d just finished my first novel, pitched it to a few editors and got rejected. Within a few years, I quit writing fiction altogether, though the dream of selling a book never went away.
When I plunged in again and attended RWA 2010 in Orlando (still hash-tag free), I came away with a manuscript request from my soon-to-be-agent Louise Fury. I was convinced publication was just around the corner. When RWA 2011 in NYC (maybe there were hash-tags, I don’t know) came and went, I began to doubt, just like I did after 2000.
But this time, two things were different. Number one, I had an agent, which to me, felt like a big accomplishment in itself. Number two, I kept writing and finished another book. That book was Falling Hard, which Louise sold this spring to Carina Press.
So three finished books, four conferences and four—or maybe fourteen years later, depending on how you count, I’m off to #RWA2014 San Antonio, to celebrate my first sale. Because of a rule change, I won’t have my First Sale ribbon this time, but that’s okay. I’ll know it’s coming and that’s pretty cool.
The point of my long-winded tale? To all the writers out there pounding away, remember that every manuscript is a chance to get better. Stretch yourself as a writer. Tell a great story. Yeah, it’s hard. Yeah, it can take forever, or at least seem that way. But don’t stop. #JustKeepSwimming. #YouNeverKnow