Thursday, 3 May 2012

My Writers’ Conferences and Seminars

Lynne Wilding
and Emma Darcy
- a long time ago! 
Another RWA conference
united with my
 old RWA group

Denver, USA, 2009
With a favourite author,
Loree Lough

I’ve lost count now of the number of these special events I’ve been privileged to attend since I first became serious about trying to write back in the early 1970’s. Until Romance Writers of Australia held their first weekend event they had all been one day seminars organised by different writer’s groups I’ve been a member of – including RWA. 

In the early years, RWA’s main annual events were held in Sydney. I attended my first one way back in 1991. I sold my first manuscript to a publisher in 1992. Since then I have only missed attending a few annual RWA Conferences. Need I say more about what I think of these great times and just how much I owe RWA?
Today our Annual Conferences have grown, quickly spread from that first one day event to two, then three and now four days in August each year. They eventually moved away from only being in Sydney to now alternate between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane or Gold Coast. Over the years, too many romance writers across our large Australia find travel costs, and perhaps even being away from family and work responsibilities also, make it too difficult to attend. The last few years RWA have sponsored day seminars in areas across Australia a long way from the annual conference cities. These are called RWA Roadshows and are only a brief “taste” of what our annual conferences give to writers.
Perhaps I should not have been so surprised October last year when an email arrived in my Inbox from the current RWA Events Co-ordinator. It started with, “In 2012, Romance Writers of Australia would like to take Roadshow across water for the first time—to Tasmania.”
Wow, I was thrilled. Then I paused and thought of the already busy programme ahead of me in 2012! So when I emailed back I mentioned I would certainly support a Roadshow here in my State but because of previous commitments doubted I could help very much with organising it. Famous last words! Perhaps I just can’t help my self?
There have been several times over the years at different writer seminars and conferences I’ve presented talks and workshops to try and pass on a little of what I’ve been learning and trying to put into practice. I’ve even helped in other very minor ways on the actual days but have to honestly say have had no real idea just how much work it all takes. Now I’ve been involved in being one of the Tassie organisers for just one special Roadshow day here on May 19th, I realise how much I have taken for granted those many, many volunteers who each year organise our conferences and special events.
Venue, budget, programme, speakers, catering, registration forms, advertising, Goody Bags, meetings and emails to discuss and make decisions - and so on and so on.
The RWA appointed team have been wonderful helping and guiding us through so many different processes. Published authors are being so supportive. Now the registrations have closed and we now know numbers, there is still much to do.
Excitement is mounting. Several writers are coming from interstate. Some are experienced writers, most are novices. Two of our three speakers, Fiona Lowe and Ebony McKenna come from Victoria, and our own award winning Melanie Milburne from Hobart will be joining us in Launceston. They all write for different romance sub-genres, are multi-published and award winners. We are delighted that since accepting our invitation to be a speaker, Fiona has become a finalist in the Romance Writers America RITA award – the “Oscar” for romance writers.
Just over two weeks to go. Still much to do. Please forgive me if I am slack with posting here for the next few weeks!
The Tasmania RWA Roadshow needs my attention!

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