Thank You, Spring Fling 2006
by India Powers
When I was a kid, I used to make up stories. I would lie in bed, composing the next scene in my book or replaying a scene I really loved. I always woke up tired, because my stories would keep me up! Not surprisingly, I still do my best writing at night.
Despite my love of writing and reading, I never wrote more than half a young adult novel. I loved my career as a computer programmer/analyst. Yet I still toyed with the thought of becoming a writer. Why? Because every night, I continued to plot stories in my head.
In spring of 2006, I decided to pursue this long-held dream. An internet search brought up local chapters of Romance Writers of America®. Not only did they meet twice a month, they also had programs and critiques! I’d always wanted to write romance, so I picked the chapter with the shortest commute (Chicago-North RWA).
I don’t remember much about those first meetings, other than feeling uniquely out of place and yes, intimidated. There were published authors here! Almost everyone I spoke to had completed at least one manuscript. I had done nothing more than compose stories in my head. Maybe my dream of writing the next great novel should remain just that—a dream.
Spring Fling 2006 took place around the same time I joined Chicago-North. My husband talked me into going. He said after that weekend I should know whether I wanted to pursue a career in writing.
The conference workshops were fabulous, of course, but I will never forget being at the chocolate reception, chatting with published and aspiring authors. Feeling like an impostor, I confessed I hadn’t written one word and wasn’t even certain I should be there.
I will never forget the reaction of those attendees. They all looked at me as if I were crazy, and asked if I wanted to write a book. (I weakly answered yes.) They asserted I absolutely belonged there! We all start somewhere, and usually it’s with the dream of writing a book. Then they regaled me with their stories, and told me how much I would learn from RWA—not only about the craft of writing, but also about the industry.
Thank goodness for those women! If not for their encouragement, I might have put away my dream again, at least for a while. Instead, I returned home excited. I was finally taking the first steps toward making my dream come true!
I love Spring Fling (and attend every single one), but more than the conference, I love the people. They volunteer their time to make the conference a success, but even better, they welcome and cherish everyone’s dreams of becoming a writer. It doesn’t matter what you write or where you are on that road—you belong.
India Powers writes paranormal historical romances set in England. Her first completed manuscript, “Demon’s Bane,” finaled in RWA’s 2013 Golden Heart® contest and won West Houston RWA’s Emily contest. She enjoys living in the Midwest the seven months it isn’t winter, learning about the craft of writing, and watching sci-fi/fantasy shows and movies. Visit her at: www.indiapowers.com.