Monday 19 August 2019

The RWA 2019 Conference is Over: What’ll I Do Now?

By Marilyn Forsyth

I love the RWAus annual conference! From Anne Gracie’s ‘Welcome’ to Amy Andrews’ ‘Closing Keynote’ speech it was a three-day celebration of the fabulousness of our organisation. Huge congratulations to the whole conference team, under the very able leadership of the unflappable Tanya Kean.

As always, I had the best time participating in inspiring sessions, chatting with authors I admire, catching up with old friends, making new ones. Just spending time with like-minded people is a buzz you can’t beat.

Image courtesy of giphy

The workshops I attended were excellent and I took a gazillion notes. I was inspired. Motivated. Ready to get stuck into my wip.

But then I got home.

Image courtesy of giphy

To real life.

You’ve been there, you know the scenario: a stack of emails to take care of, a pile of dirty washing, a family who want to know all about my days away, and a drained body and brain.

I could have folded. I could have given in and done what needed to be done around the house first. Instead, I took up Jami Gold’s suggestion to maintain the writing conference “frame of mind” for just a few more days. (Jami is one of my favourite bloggers. Click here to go to her page).

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Her suggestion really paid off, so here’s what I did (after a good long sleep - 3 late nights in a row and I’m brain-dead.):

1. Re-read all my notes (I use Evernote, but One Note is also excellent for note-taking) and summarized key takeaways. (See below for just some of them.)

2. Located and sent off the stuff that I promised people I’d send them. (Except for my requests. I’ll send them off asap in the hope of the editors/agent remembering me, but I want to make sure they’re in top shape first.)

3. Updated my Facebook and email contacts, adding details of new people I connected with.

4. Downloaded some books I discovered through conversations with friends and rearranged my TBR pile (again 😉).

Some of My Top Takeaways

From Nalini Singh – ‘Leave your completed ms for at least 2 weeks before re-reading it to send off.’

From Anne Gracie – ‘In one of the paradoxes of storytelling, readers want to predict how the story will end (or how it will get to the end) but they want to be wrong.’ Steven James.

Emily Roach – ‘Show up on social media as the truest version of yourself. The more people get to know the real you, the more they know, like and trust you.’

Tracy Travis – ‘Stories which highlight what you wish to communicate are great, just keep them short and to the point during a presentation.’

Writing conferences are a heap of fun. The real work comes once they’re over, but all it takes is the right mind-set and a bit of organisation to make the most of what you learned.

Huge congratulations to the incoming RWA committee, to all the cheerful volunteers, to the competition finalists and winners, and to everyone who played a part in making the 2019 Conference such a success.

If you attended this year’s RWA Conference, what was the highlight for you?

Love to Love catching up with old friends and making new ones at the RWA Conference.

Marilyn Forsyth, Ali Sinclair, Alyssa J Montgomery

Alyssa J Montgomery

There were plenty of fantastic costumes!

Some of the winners at the conference dinner.

Love to Laugh at some of the amazing costumes at the cocktail party.

The crazy Paula Roe who never fails to make us laugh.

Love to Learn that the max word count for a single title romance is 90-95K words (according to the two publishers and an agent I pitched to).

Using google Chrome will enable you to leave a comment.


  1. Marilyn, I loved hearing your story about the RWA Conference, and also laughed at the fun pictures! People look like they're having a blast, and also picking up valuable tips and info for their writing. Sorry I missed it. Maybe next year...???!!!

    1. Hi Miranda! It was another great conference with lots to learn from some great presenters. The socialising is definitely an added bonus. I'm sure the 2020 conference in Fremantle will be fabulous, too!

  2. It is always fun to see everyone at conference and learn new things. Love the addition of some well-being sessions.

    1. Hi Cassandra! Love the socialising aspect! Also, I've just completed the survey sent out by the Events team, and made mention of the wellness sessions (great minds think alike? lol).

  3. It was a great conference. I hope the committee brings Rachel Bailey back for a rerun of her Friday works. Many authors missed it and would love to have attended her deep editing workshop. Those who attended said it was fabulous!!

    1. Hi Alyssa! Rachel always runs a fabulous workshop, doesn't she?

  4. RWA sure puts on great conferences. As always, I had a great time socialising. It's a wonderful opportunity to catch up with writer friends I don't see that often and also to meet new writers. We're a friendly bunch! And I especially loved the wellness workshops.

    1. Hi Enisa! Can you let me in on one takeaway from the wellness workshops you attended?

  5. Marilyn, it sounds like a fabulous conference. So much to learn. So many opportunities to meet old friends and make some new ones.

    1. Hi Sharon! We had a great time! Spent a fair bit of last night's meeting discussing aspects of it. Sorry you missed it. :(


We love getting comments. Why not leave one?!