It's no surprise since I've already written about my experience at RT that I learned a lot. Like... A LOT. But here are some specific things I've learned just in case you were wondering if I actually took away anything other than being starstruck at every moment!

-Constantly being around other writers is AMAZING and EXHAUSTING at the same time. I've never talked about the craft of writing and books as much as I did at RT. It's an awesome feeling to be surrounded with so many talented people, but it can also lead to what I call "author envy." This is something I was told repeatedly to be careful of, because every writer is different. There will always be someone better than you, who has more books published than you, has more drive than you, etc etc. But I'm not here to sugar coat things...it's hard. Very hard. Especially when you're surrounded by people who are actively doing or have done the things you so badly want to do. It's a little intimidating. But it's mostly inspirational and serves as great motivation.

-The first words out of every new person you meet at RT is, "Hi, I'm X. What do you write?" It's kind of awesome. It took a few introductions but I finally got really comfortable saying, "Hi, I'm Jade. I primarily write New Adult but I've dabbled in other genres." You get used to getting nods of approval instead of blank stares like you would if you introduced yourself that way to a non-writer.

-There are people in your life that absolutely support the fact that you write. There are people who accept it, but don't really add much support to it. Then there are others who simply think it's a silly habit. This is probably one of the most disheartening parts of being a writer. The constant scrutiny you face. If you're not a famous published author, most people don't really believe you or believe IN you. I've realized that it's incredibly important to hold on to the people who support you like they are your life boat. They will keep you afloat, bring you up and remind you why you write. Because you LOVE it. Because it's like breathing... you simply can't NOT write. Writing for me is as important as the breaths I take everyday. I can't imagine a life where I don't write in some fashion and because of that, I know that someday I will make it. I may never be a Stephen King or J.K. Rowling (And, really, who the hell is?) but I know that someday, I will make some little girl or boy laugh, cry and believe in my words. Someday, I hope they look at my writing and find a source of inspiration.

-I absolutely do NOT want to live in a big city unless I'm actually LIVING in the heart of city and don't have to drive anywhere. Rush hour sucks.

-They aren't lying when they say wear comfortably shoes. Blisters and sore feet are not your friend when all you want to do is walk around and mingle. Lesson learned.

-Protein bars and snack are your BEST friend because you barely have time to think let alone, eat!

-Checking your work email, thinking about work, worrying about what's going at work or if they're missing you is UNACCEPTABLE. Just don't do it. You're on vacation for a damn reason!

-At the meet and greet dinner before the bootcamp…you will get crazy pumped up for the next week. You'll also already be super overwhelmed.

-By the middle of the first day of bootcamp…your head hurts from all the knowledge. Literally.

-By the end of the first day of bootcamp…your head will want to explode with all the knowledge.

-You WILL get overwhelmed and be tempted to freak out but don't. Try to take it all in.

-Day 2, you're reenergized and ready to roll until you realize all of the other people who are coming to RT are starting to file into the hotel.

-It's tempting to look at and follow the Twitter hashtag for RT BUT…when you see the overwhelming amount of people who are tweeting about coming…you're going to get overwhelmed. So just be cautious of the Twitter world when attending RT.

-You constantly feel star struck with all the published authors around. There are some that are undeniably nice and helpful and there are others that are not. You'll get both kinds. You learn to get over the ones that aren't all that nice. Stick it in the back of your brain, don't let it phase you and move on to the authors that ARE helpful and nice.

-It's crucial and so important to STICK UP for yourself and your beliefs/values. There were some people who didn't have a very favorable opinion of certain genres or methods of publishing and it can get disheartening. Especially when they say things like, "You should listen to me, look how successful I am." But you didn't start writing because you wanted people to trample all over your dreams, so don't let them. YOU know what you want to write and how you want to go about getting your dream fulfilled. Don't let ANYBODY tell you anything different. Don't let anyone trample your dreams just because they don't think it's the right way. And be courteous of your own beliefs...just because YOU believe that, doesn't mean it's the right genre or the right way to publish for everyone.

-You need A LOT less sleep than you think you need. The most hours of sleep I got in one given night was maybe 4 or 5. That's probably why the day after the conference, I slept for almost 12 hours straight.

-One big thing I learned is that I'm already ahead of the curve with the effort and perseverance I put into the craft of writing...Especially when during the bootcamp portion, I found myself nodding my head because I already knew some of the information they were talking about. Awesome!

-Your life doesn't stop while you're at RT Conference…all though you feel like it does for a week. Then when it's over you feel the hard, crushing reality come back. It's hard to come back to reality when you just had the best week of your life. You spend an entire week surrounded by people who get you, new friends and complete support system. Best advice-- staying in touch with the people you fell in love with. Funny thing is that while most of the people I met live all across the world, (Hi Janda!) I've still talked to them almost every day since we left. I hope this continues forever. I envision road trips and writing retreats with these ladies.

-Fangirling is acceptable, but highly embarrassing. It's best to keep your squealing, gawking and stalking to a minimum.

-Famous authors are people too. In fact, you never know when you're talking to a NYT bestseller because they're EVERYWHERE! Most of them just want to talk about the same things you do. Every writer has a similar goal in mind: to share the stories that live in their heads.


I'm sure there's SO much more I learned at RT, but I figured I'd done enough babbling for a while!

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