Friday, July 25, 2008

Music City Romance Writers at B & N

I participated in a panel discussion with three fellow members of the Music City Romance Writers at our local Barnes & Noble this week. It was a great experience, even though it was a bit nerve-wracking at first. Seeing so many members of our chapter there to support the group went a long way towards settling my jitters.

The topic was How A Professional Writing Organization Can Benefit Your Career (Or Not). We talked about the advantages of writers’ groups, conferences, and critique groups.

(photo: Ramona Richards, Jody Wallace, Annie Solomon, and me)

Here’s a short summary from part of my talk. My writing has improved with each of these steps, joining RWA & SCBWI, attending national conferences, and joining a critique group. Finding my current critique group has been a big plus in my writing this year.

I first met my critique partners in an unusual way. I attended the SCBWI-Midsouth regional conference last fall in Nashville. I knew no one at the conference when I arrived. On our nametags, our hometown was listed, so I spent a lot of time staring a people’s nametags, looking for people who lived in my area. While I was in line for the ladies’ restroom (a line that can be Very long at writers’ conferences), I met my critique partner, Jennifer. She introduced me to another member of our current group (after we exited the ladies’ room).

The moral of this part of the story is: Take advantage of time spent in line. You never know who you’ll meet. This advice should come in handy next week. I’ll be attending the RWA national conference in San Francisco. I am looking forward to networking, workshops, and catching up with friends. And Yes! My manuscript is ready to pitch.

Next week: Reporting from RWA 2008 in San Francisco.


Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

I thought you were very brave, not to mention smart, to get up there and give your part of the presentation. Public speaking is one of my greatest fears, so I admire anyone who can accomplish it with such apparent ease.

Rae Ann Parker said...

Hi MARIE-NICOLE! Thanks for stopping by and for your very kind words. I enjoyed getting together for dinner before. Chatting with fellow writers is always fun.

Monica McCabe said...

I wish I could have been there! It sounds like MCRW was well represented though. And I'm with Marie, public speaking scares the beepers out of me. I did it once, Meankitty (aka Jody Wallace) forced me into giving a chapter presentation on Point Of View with her. Thought I was going to faint at first, but I eventually relaxed. So kudos to you for braving the crowd!

Rae Ann Parker said...

Thanks, MONICA. And I love your website. Wow, you know a lot of stuff.

Shauna Roberts said...

What a great opportunity! Congrats. Hope you guys recruited some new members for your chapter.

See you in a few days in San Francisco!

Tom said...

Rae Ann,
Hey girl, congrats on the speaking gig! I think most folks would rather fight a bear in a dark room with just a penknife than to speak in public. I've done it a time or two, and it is a difficult thing. But, like most things, the more you do, the better you get. Sounds like you've got a good start. Hope you enjoy your trip to San Fran, but be careful; I hear there's a buncha liberals out that way! And thems some dangerous critters... Ha! Since I'm assuming you're flying, I hope the skies are clear and smooth, and that the flight crew took all their prescribed medications. Look forward to hearing about your trip. Tom

Monica McCabe said...

Thanks for checking out my website! I don't know if I actually 'know' a lot of stuff, but I've been to a lot of places. Travel is my number one love, next to writing of course! Oh, and the DH. And the cats. And a nice glass of dry red wine. hehe

Writer and Cat said...

Monica did great. So did Rae Ann! I think both of them even looked up from the paper where all their information was written (and Rae Ann didn't HAVE a paper), unlike me *heh*.


Sphinx Ink said...

Kudos on the speaking gig--very important skill for writers to develop nowadays, when publishers leave it to authors to publicize their own books (unless, of course, one is Stephen King, Danielle Steel, Dan Brown, etc.). Have fun in S.F.--I know you'll be happy to see Farrah, Shauna, and other friends there. Wish I could go too!