North Queensland Roadshow

Hi all, Anne Gracie here, talking about the North Queensland Romance Roadshow, coming up in May. There’s so many reasons to think about coming to our roadshow, and not just that it’s a working winter holiday in warm, balmy, beautiful Cairns. Of course, you’ll get fabulous craft-of-writing tips from knowledgeable, multi-published and award-winning writers, but that’s not all.

For many, a roadshow is the first time they come in contact with other aspiring writers. That’s why we in RWA started them, to break down the barriers of isolation in this great big country of ours. They’re small and so friendly, people make connections with like-minded souls. Friendships, critique partnerships and writing groups have all been formed as a result of roadshows.  And those things nourish your writing spirit and help pave the way to publication.

And it’ll be fun!

Now, here’s a word from my fellow presenters at the North Queensland Roadshow about why we like going to writing conferences.

Hélène Young:

I go to conferences to talk writing, reading and books without even a twinge of fear that I may be boring or obsessive or downright repetitive! For a couple of hours, a day or a weekend I shrug off my work uniform with its gold bars and crazy porn star cap and become a writer – still a newbie on the block, but nevertheless a writer. I love the conversations at conference as well as the laughter, the camaraderie, the support. It’s unique, it’s enveloping and it sweeps you along with enthusiasm – no hope of going to bed early or snatching a quiet afternoon nap in the corner 🙂

What do I get out of them? Normally sensory overload in the best possible way. It’s imperative I take sunglasses as I’m guaranteed to be blinded by the light bulb moments as I listen to the talks and presentations. I’m usually exhausted, inspired and re-charged all in one hit. My inbox fills up with new contacts, I discover new writers, my TBR pile topples under the weight of new acquisitions- who needs a shoe fetish when there are books to buy! Often I learn the most useful things in the most unlikely places. Chatting in the lunch queue, over breakfast or indeed in the stairwell, when the lift broke down and the stairs were the quickest way from A to B, have all provided moments of wisdom.

If it’s possible to be addicted to conferences then I guess I may well need counselling…

And on that note, time to dust of the cap and head off to the day job and the delights of Weipa!

Kelly Hunter:

Why conferences?

Writing can be solitary, frustrating and – if you let it – all consuming. Conferences celebrate the other side of that equation. The friendships made and the joy to be had in making up stories for a living. The pleasure we take  not just from our own achievements but the achievements of our cohort (give me a reason to party, any reason…). For me a workshop day or conference weekend is celebration and inspiration combined. The body may exit the building exhausted but the muse comes home well satisfied.

Barbara Hannay:

I had very little face to face contact with other writers before our North Queensland group got together, so conferences were my lifeline. It was wonderful to meet other authors whose books I loved and to “talk writing”. No one else understands the highs and lows of what it’s like to be a writer. Whether we’re aspiring or published, we experience unique hopes and joys and disappointments that people in other jobs simply don’t “get” and can’t be expected to.

Perhaps even more importantly, I think the workshops at our conferences are outstanding. The level of discussion about craft is incredibly professional and useful and inspiring. So many times, I go back through my conference notes, rediscovering gems. The plusses of conference attendance go on and on.

Anne Gracie:

For me different conferences have brought different joys. There was one conference where every workshop I attended was on a craft-of-writing topic I thought I knew pretty well. It didn’t matter. I applied everything I heard to the particular characters and book I was working on and I came away from the conference with a dozen scenes roughed out and a much better book. It was magic. I take every chance I can get to attend craft-of-writing workshops.

Probably the best thing I’ve got out of attending conferences is friends. It was such an eye-opener to meet other people who had people talking in their heads and stories spinning, and who wanted to talk about writing. The people around me in my ordinary life don’t do that. It’s “How’s the writing?” and that’s it. End of conversation. But from going to conferences and writing workshops— especially the small ones— I’ve made the most wonderful friends and the friendships have lasted for years.

As the others have said, I come away physically exhausted, but with such a buzz inside me. And for this particular conference — the North Queensland Roadshow— there’s the added bonus for me of flying out of cold, wintry Melbourne and heading into balmy tropical warmth. Why not join us?

So, what have you got out of going to a writing workshop, a roadshow or a conference?

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  1. I really wish I could join you guys in North Queensland, but with grandchild #2 due any day now I need to be here. I hope you have a wonderful time and look forward to catching up with you all in Melbourne (which will be my first conference).

  2. We wish you could join us too, Sandy…

    But Melbourne will be fabulous and you’ll have a fantastic time as a conference newbie 🙂 It will be lovely to meet you in person after cyber chatting for so long!

  3. Oh no, I’ve swapped you ‘ie’ for a ‘y’ Sandie… I’m so sorry… That will teach me not to check before hitting send…

  4. Louise Reynolds

     /  May 9, 2011

    I’ve wanted to attend a Road Show for ages, just to experience the wonderful camaraderie of a smaller group. Alas, it won’t be Cairns, although those images are so, so tempting. Not to mention the chance to hear Kelly, Barbara, Anne and Helene. What a line-up!

  5. So so not impressed that I cannot be there. Nonetheless, I do hope it’s goes off with huge success.

  6. Thanks, guys. Sorry to hear you can’t make it.
    It’s getting distinctly chilly here in Melbourne, and I keep thinking, only a few more weeks and I’ll be in Cairns.
    I’m so looking forward to it.
    Weather, I love attending workshops and conferences. They always stimulate the muse.
    If anyone is even slightly tempted, I’d urge you to get on a plane or in a bus and go. You’ll have a ball. And you’ll learn heaps.

  7. Louise, I keep looking at that glorious swimming pool and thinking ‘I am so there’. There may even be Mai Tai’s involved. And there’s bound to be a pool boy. What more does the muse need?

  8. Sandra Harris

     /  May 10, 2011

    Helene, I have a shoe fetish as well as a mountainous TBR pile!

    Anne, I totally connected with your comment re others asking how the writing is going. I’ve found that if I launch into a complaint about how one of my characters is leading me astray and not sticking to the plot I receive some seriously concerned looks. 🙂 As Barbara and Kelly point out, non-writers just don’t get the frustrations and obstacles we must endure.

    Writing in the north can be a very isolated experience, so well done ladies for bringing a little light into some writing lives. Hope it’s a huge success for everyone. I feel all your enthusiasm leaping off the screen, so I’m sure it will be. 🙂

  9. That’s a great line-up of talented writers and workshop presenters and anyone who has the opportunity to attend would be nuts not to grab the chance. We’re lucky to have the lovely Anne Gracie conducting workshops at our Bundaberg WriteFest the week before and her booking forms are filling up fast. 🙂 Can’t wait to catch up with you when you’re here, Anne.

    For years I’ve been the only RWA member in my area and I have so appreciated the RWA Conference as a way of face-to-face meeting with fellow writers who understand what it’s like to have not only voices in your head but have those characters the voices belong to actually fall in love and … well, you know 😉 Just wish I could make it to your fantastic roadshow, but sadly it’s not possible. I’ll see you all in Melbourne in August 🙂

  10. Anne & Helene, I just wanted to drop back in and congratulate you both on your RBY nominations. The very best of luck to the both of you.


  11. You girls are going to have such fun. It’s sure to be informative and entertaining.
    Very jealous of that wonderful heat. I love North Queensland.
    Cathleen Ross

  12. Amanda R-S

     /  May 12, 2011

    Counting down the days gals… can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!


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