Here's what I loved this year:

Craft workshops. When I took a craft workshop, even the ones that are full of familiar stuff, I got sparks again. CWs used to bore me because I'd overloaded on them, they are basically restating the same True Facts, after all. I'd grown tired of getting preached at and I didn't want to learn jargon for stuff that doesn't need freaking jargon.

Yeah, some of that's still true. But the good workshops, man, I'd forgotten how cool they can be. Michael Hauge, Toni Andrews, Jenny Crusie (of course) -- those were a few of the ones that gave new words to something that I needed to hear again. As I listened, I'd relate them to my life or books and feel my writerly brain expanding, if only for a moment. Instead of doodling or jotting down jargon, I wrote notes for books. I won't be able to read the notes I wrote about the books or the jargon, but it was good stuff.

And the craft workshops gave me that message over and over, yo, dude, you are a writer. You write. Yup, you can do it.

I need to hear that. Anyone who wants to write does.

Therefore -- and pay attention, because this is the thesis--you should go to craft workshops even if you have written (hold on, I'll be right back, gotta count) .....hell, the page doesn't open.

....... even if you've written a whole lot of books and are a RT Readers Choice Finalist, cataromance readers choice, 4 time passionate pen finalist, one time winner, a golden rose winner, a RIO winner.**

Craft workshops. Yes.

Here's what else I learned:
I am not a party animal so all the great party reports aren't here. In fact the minute the last RITA winner was announced I raced upstairs, as fast as possible. There will be crowds of people down there. Yikes.

Hey, but I did get to see Jackie and Terry and Sally and I love them, a lot.

The crowds of successful writers talking about craft--I feel like a writer. The crowds of successful writers talking about anything else? I feel like the opposite of a writer, whatever that is. It's too bad, and I hope to get back the ability to hang around in bars or hotel rooms because that's what I loved in previous years. Craft this year, schmoozing another time.

RITA report:

When Rita winners thank their dead relatives and start sniffling I join them. Also when they thank their husbands I think, yeah, got to remember that one when I get my Rita. Yup. Don't forget to say, I'd like to thank my meal-ticket, Mike.

When Rita winners are funny, I want to read their books. For instance the inspie Golden Heart winner? Whose name I've forgotten? One of the funniest people of the night. I don't read inspie but IF she gets a contract and IF I remember her name and IF I run across her book, I will buy it immediately. She was that good.

When people I know don't win the Rita, I feel cheated, which is significantly less gross than feeling cheated when I don't win things. What's the sensation of second hand envy for someone else? It's an almost but not really an altruistic sort of a feeling.

Okay, I'm going to go try socializing again. I'll let you know if I learn anything new about the secret success handshake so popular here in New York, New York.


**I throw all those in whenever I'm feeling illegitimate. I'm not talking about having unmarried parents, I mean the other kind, the sensation of illegitimate that kicks in when interacting with people who started writing after you and have six Rita nominations and nothing but NYC contracts.

In other words, that utterly useless and stupid sort of insecurity.


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