What I Wish I Had Known About RWA National Conventions by D.L. Hungerford

080316 con bannerI had the most amazing time. I got a room at the hotel at the last minute and a wonderful roommate to share the cost. I paid $10 in parking for the whole weekend. I saw amazing people and listened to amazing workshops and I am itching to get to work on my new business plan.

But as a First Timer (I got a cute little ribbon to hang from my badge) there are just a few things I wish I had known ahead of time. Some have to do with the hotel, so they aren’t really an on-going issue. And some I didn’t know because I assumed this con would resemble the cons I have been to.


View out the window rwa 2016

The view from my hotel window. I suffer so.



The Convention started on Wednesday, but besides checking in to the hotel and getting registered, going to the Swag Shop and the goodie room, the only thing on the schedule was an orientation for new attendees. Unfortunately, my roommate’s plane was due in right in the middle of that event. We were both first timers and we both missed it. Possibly there was something mentioned during that reception that would have alerted me to the things noted below.

080316 literacy

Scheduling for Wednesday was on the light side, because people were just arriving and getting settled in. Also because I am not a Pan member or a librarian or savvy about the Literacy signing event. I would have loved to attend that, but I needed to get home.

The ballrooms were confusing until someone pointed out (thank you, anonymous helper!) that the lower numbers were upstairs and the higher numbers were downstairs. Lower, up. Higher, down. Got it.

080316 robyn  carr

The Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Robyn Carr


I didn’t know that the capital R in a red circle meant that workshop was not being recorded. For some crazy reason, I thought it meant it was rated for those who don’t like profanity. This was actually my fault for not reading the program cover to cover, because the mark was explained there.

Most of all, I wish I had known that the award ceremony on Saturday night was a super-fancy, rival-the-Oscars, sparkle and shine gala. I have just the dress I would have worn if I had known. Or if I had thought about it logically. I mean, come on! This is the high point of the RWA social scene. Agents, publishers, all your favorite authors, all your next favorite authors, and of course, me.

Again, if I had read the program, I would have known that Saturday night was it. Sunday had nothing scheduled. As I said, I have been to conventions before, but mostly fandom, science fiction based. There isn’t a lot of programing on Sunday, but usually there is at least a talk back session. Which to me has always given a sense of closure.


080316 meditsate

The Meditate and Create workshiop


So just ask me before you plan to go to RWA Nationals next year in Orlando, Florida, for your first writer’s convention. I’ll tell you all about it. Maybe I will see you there!

080316 orlando 2017


Born and raised in Southern California, DL Hungerford began writing right about the time you would expect. She honed her skills through fanzines, epic letters, and minutes for various clubs. She also wrote newsletter submissions for clubs, as well as movie and book reviews.
She loves the world of fiction, especially Regency England, but hopes to explore other horizons as time permits. She still lives in Southern California with her husband, a spoiled cat, a spoiled dog, and a flock of parrots and other birds.

She also writes under the pen name of Roxanna Haley. You can contact her through any of the various links below:









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