So this week (Wed, Thurs and Fri) I attended the RWA conference in NYC. While a lot of people (mostly non-NYers who just come for a few days to sight-see) find Manhattan to be a wondrous, exciting place, I consider it to be an overcrowded, traffic-ridden nightmare. If you don’t understand how I could think such a blasphemous thing, try commuting to Manhattan on the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road for those not in the know) and pushing your way through Penn Station in the middle of morning or evening rush hour(s). Try battling for a cab (or if you’re the peaceful type, you could just wait on line for anywhere from 10 – 60 min) or walking (read: shoving) through hoards of people for countless city blocks. I’m sorry, but Manhattan is just NOT the place for me.
Oh, and not to be a Negative Nelly, but I do have one more complaint: the food. In a word, it sucked. The same exact thing 2 days in a row, except that Wed it came with spinach (I think – it was too dark in the ballroom to even be sure what I was eating) and on Thurs it came with asparagus instead. Chicken and mashed potatoes. Yuck. I know a good percentage of the population likes mashed potatoes, but I don’t. I never eat them… unless of course I’m starving and there’s nothing else to eat, and I paid $525 for a conference so I’ll be damned if I’m not going to eat the only free lunch I’m getting. All they gave us to drink was ice water and coffee. And, worst of all, NO DESERT at either lunch (which they claimed was due to the high cost of hosting a conference in NY. To that I say: bite me.) I do believe they were in cahoots with Starbucks, the only place in the hotel where you could get a small snack for under $5.
But, moving past all that, Nationals was a pretty good time. I met some nice women (special shot-out to Michelle M. who’s in Kat Duncan’s Savvy Authors class with me, who managed to spot me in a crowd of women outside the elevators on Wed) and had interesting conversations. I’d say ¾ of the workshops I attended were as good or better than I’d hoped they’d be. A couple were less than thrilling and I actually snuck out the back halfway through, but that’s to be expected at all conferences. It’s hard to discern what an hour long workshop is going to entail from a little blurb 1 or 2 sentences long, so you make an educated guess as to what will interest you the most, and you cross your fingers and hope for the best.
One presenter that I enjoyed immensely both last year and this year was Cherry Adair. She is a pisser. She is full of energy and excitement, and so friendly. She spoke right from the heart, not from a page like some presenters. That’s 1 thing that really bores me at workshops. Obviously I understand that a presenter will have notes to follow and read from when talking. But when the whole workshop consists of the person reading off note cards or power point slides, you might as well hand me a pillow cuz I’ll be taking a nap. Thankfully there were only a few workshops like those that I stumbled into. The rest were pretty interesting and informative.
Overall I’m glad I went. But the conference experience just isn’t the same when you have to commute to it every day. I wish I had stayed at least 1 night in the hotel and saved myself the aggravation of the train and all that walking. I had a much better time at the conference last year when it was in Orlando. Of course, staying at the Swan & Dolphin really helped. What a beautiful hotel. (The Marriot was a nice hotel as well, though the elevator situation was insane. They had 20 (?) elevators going to all different floors, and you had to press the # of what floor you were going to on a little screen and then the screen would tell you what elevator to get on. But I did sneak a peek inside one of the rooms and it was very nice, and spacious too.)
That’s about it for me. I’m thinking about signing up for a Round of Words in 80 days, a writing challenge which starts tomorrow. I’m hoping maybe having to “check in” with people every week will help keep me motivated to write. That is definitely my biggest problem – staying motivated. I’ll letcha know if I end up doing that or not. Meanwhile, I hope everyone is enjoying their 4th of July weekend! Eat, drink and be merry!!!!!! :)