I just spent a week in Atlanta at the Romance Writers of America conference. I discovered so many things to be grateful for. I learned about myself, about writers, about the industry that will influence how I live my life for the next year. I started some relationships, matured others, met amazing women and a few men in a sisterhood I never expected to find.
This week, the top things I’m thankful for are:
- My babies, barely 5 and 3, who through tears, agreed to stay with their aunt for four whole days so mommy and daddy could go to their conference. My oldest daughter wrote me a story that I could bring with me so that I could remember her. I couldn’t read it so she told me that I had to figure out what her words meant on my own. It reminded me that my daughters look up to me and I have a responsibility to go after my dreams because they learn by watching me.
- My sister who stayed at my home and taught my daughters they could have adventures without me and their father. She dealt with my mother, my two daughters, took my babies on trips to New York City to see Elmo and Dora and Hello Kitty, and the pool. No one can do everything alone. Michael and I couldn’t have gone off and enjoyed myself without her.
- My husband, Michael, for sharing this writing journey with me, going along with me and getting excited, for agreeing to do most of my marketing. He puts up with me not doing laundry, ordering out constantly, getting out of bed at two o’clock in the morning because I just have to get an idea down on paper before I forget.
- Patti, who stopped me at a book writer to give me career advice just because my tag said it was my first time at an RWA conference.
- Jean Brashear, for her wonderful mentorship and advice over the past few months, for being a great writing buddy and sharing her extensive experience about writing and life. She’s published over thirty novels, was nominated for the RITA award twice this year and she still takes the time to share her experience with a newby like me.
- Bella Andre for taking the time to give out much needed advice, for answering questions and telling me to stop pitching. She’s an amazing lady and an inspiration to thousands of writers throughout the world. She knows business and is a tireless advocate for independent writers everywhere.
- A few months ago, I had a lot of wonderful things in my life, but I wasn’t happy. As a matter of fact, I ended up in a hospital suffering from anxiety. I went to therapy, I thought about my life and my own personal values. I decided to change and this weekend provided much needed information about the career portion of those changes. Kristan Higgins delivered an amazing keynote speech on Friday where she reminded each of us that there are times when life truly sucks, when you just want to give up, when you truly don’t know how you’re going to get through. During those times, for me and millions of other women and men, romance novels provide a much needed escape, the idea that true love exists, that it can happen. I’m grateful for those novels and I’m grateful for all those who write them.So many award winning and NY Times Bestselling authors took the time to talk about writing, business and career. They signed books for anyone who asked. They fostered an environment of “we are all in this together.” I really felt like every individual writer’s success contributes to the success of everyone else. I’m already looking forward to my next chapter meeting so I can see some of the ladies I met. I met writing buddies, editors, friends, people who gave hugs in spades.
Brought to you by Ten Things To Be Thankful.
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