The best advice I had on my writer’s journey was to join the Romance Writers of Australia which I did back in 2003. I went to my first conference that year knowing exactly 1 person personally and 1 person through an online group. I had a fantastic time, met lots of other people , some very well-known authors and learned how much I didn’t know about writing romance.
Over the years my involvement with RWAust has grown. I’ve been to every conference bar one and each time I’ve come away with more and more information to apply to my writing. In 2006 I sold my first book to Avalon and at the conference that year was awarded a blue First Sale ribbon which I wore with great pride.
I began to volunteer judging contests and took over managing our Little Gems Short Story contest. A couple of years later I was elected to the Executive Committee and have been the Contest Co-ordinator for the last two years and will hold the position again next year. I’m thrilled to have been nominated for this year’s Lynne Wilding Award which is given to the person deemed to have contributed most to the organisation. The announcement is made at our annual conference Awards Dinner in August.
Romance writers appear to be a unique breed amongst the writing community. Generous with knowledge, friendly and welcoming to newbies and published writers equally. I found much the same atmosphere when I attended my first RWAmerica conference in Washington last year.
Joining RWAust was the best move I made as a beginner writer. Apart from the quantum leaps in knowledge about the publishing industry and writing craft through the RWA I’ve made some very good friends, both here in Australia and overseas, online and face to face, at a time in my life when I thought I had my quota of friendships. A whole new world opened up.
For those of you out there wondering if joining your local chapter or your national organisation is worth the money, do it!