So anyways, I’m off to Melbourne on Friday for the RWA Conference- Romance Writers of Australia. Yep, I’m one of them now- a romance writer.
I’m looking forward to it- after all, it’s in Melbourne…of course I’m looking forward to it. I’m booked into some interesting sounding sessions, and I’m hoping to meet some people for real that I’ve met in the cyber world.
Here’s the thing though…and I can say this without fear of judgement because it’s the confessional…I’m not great at the whole conference thing.
I’m not great at having my time organised- I prefer to come and go as I feel like coming and going; I’m not great at meeting new people- I get this humungous inferiority complex (and yes, I realise that’s an oxymoron) and worry that no one would be interested in knowing me anyway; and I’m not great at being in rooms with lots of people for extended periods of time- I need my own space to retreat to when the noise and the schedule gets too much. All of this makes me sound really anti-social, but I’m not…not really…
The one thing that is concerning me the most is the Friday night cocktail party. I’ve been umming and aaaaahing about attending since I booked the conference. I don’t own a dress- and don’t intend to buy one for one night- so what to wear? Do I have anything that can be glammed up a tad? I don’t know anyone else, so how to walk in on my own? What if I’m that person wandering around with a glass of bubbles, watching everyone else having a great time? It’s all, of course, in my head, and I’m blowing the whole thing completely out of proportion, but that doesn’t mean the concerns aren’t real to me.
Having said that, I’ve decided to go to the cocktail party…and, now that I’ve made up my mind, I’m looking forward to that as well. This year was all about being fearless, and making excuses to sit in my lovely hotel room because I’m scared about wearing a dress or meeting new people or being boring and ignored, doesn’t fit into that category. Besides, it’s the perfect opportunity to meet new people- people who were probably worrying about the same things as I am- but who have got the dress, taken a dose of harden the flip up, and are stepping out.
One thing that’s become crystal clear to me over the last few weeks is just how good the RWA are at this stuff- the whole conference thing, as well as dealing with irrational insecurities like mine. They even have a team of “wranglers” whose role is to look after us newbies.
There’s a Facebook group open just for us to get to know each other. There’s a pre part to the cocktail party just to put us at ease and to remove the walking in on one’s own horror scenario. There’s newbie only wranglers doing newbie wrangler stuff at morning and afternoon tea in case we need a friendly face. There’s more than this, even. Lots more. Special newbie stuff. As I said, the RWA is good at this.
In fact, the only thing they’re not doing, is organising a dress for me. Perhaps if I ask really nicely…? No?
Linking up in the confessional today with Kirsty at My Home Truths…
How are you with the whole networking thing?