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What I Really Learned in NYC

Can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted a blog to ENALR, but it’s been nearly a month! Wow. Time flies when you’re traveling  all over the US. Okay, not all over the US – just NYC and Baton Rouge. But still, I’ve been hoofin’ it all over these days.

Last time I posted I was smack dab in the middle of Manhattan and only able to guess what I’d be feeling whirling around in the biggest city in the US. The reality of NYC was much bigger than what I could comprehend. I’ve been to big cities. Heck, I lived in New Orleans, which although not huge, is a city. But I had never felt a city pulse around me as I did in NYC. But I’m leaping ahead of myself.

This is about what I learned.

So back to the start of the trip. First, I went by myself. Or rahter I traveled alone. I drove to Jackson, MS and got a room for the night because my flight was early and the airport was too far awy  to get up and drive it in the morning. That hotel room felt pretty lonely, and I started having doubts about flying off into the blue yonder, landing in LaGaurdia and catching a cab to Manhattan. I know. I know. Sounds so silly, but it was so foreign to me that I pysched myself out about it.

But it had to be done, so I checked in the airport all by myself, made the connecting in Chicago and landed at LaGaurdia. Got in line for a cab, blinked as the city spun by and hopped out in the middle of Times Square. I learned I could take control of my fears and, like Frank, I could make it here (the here being NYC)

Stepping out into Times Square was amazing. The city literally pulsed around me. I can’t describe it, but it was this amazing energy. I felt like I could do anything. I wanted to bottle it and take it home to my family who had never experienced it. Can’t really describe it. I learned I could actually live in this place. Seriously.  If I were in my twenties, single, with no ties, I’d be living in that city baby. Probably in a closet somewhere, but still, I’d be there. It was that amazing.

Then it was taking it in – from the Roxy deli with its yummy croissants to Bobby Flay’s restaurant Mesa with its blue corn tortillas with barbeque duck  to Le Cirque with it expensive French creme brulee and fancy champagne cocktails, NYC was a culinary delight. I learned that I CANNOT eat like that and still fit into my clothes…something I didn’t find out until I came home and tried to fit into my church clothes.

Of course the trip wasn’t just about the city, it was about the conference, but this too I learned had a place. Other times RWA and the conference dominated my whole week. I pushed myself to mingle, find editors and agents and charm them with my cleverness… or rather try to charm them with my cleverness. I made tons of workshops and haunted the bar looking for familiar faces. This time I kinda chilled and didn’t push myself so much. I learned that conference is for more than business. It’s for combining business with the pleasure of friends.

So, that’s what I learned…at least the important stuff. There were other things I learned…plenty of other things, like I should not drink at three bars until 2:00 in the morning and then plan on moderating a workshop at 8:30am the next morning. You know, things like that.

So, if you went to NYC…or have been before, what was your biggest take away? If you haven’t, what will be on your list of to-dos when you take NYC by storm. Oh, and you should go. Should be on everyone’s bucket list.

14 Responses

  1. I spent absolutely no time at all in the bar this year. If I wasn’t at a required location, I was in my room or in the concierge lounge. I find conference to be very draining. As much as most people think I’m an extrovert, the reality is I’m on the border between extrovert and introvert. So I used up lots of “mental and emotional” energy interacting with people. I was so “used up” I skipped every publisher party. I just couldn’t face talking to more people.

    I do agree with you about the palpable energy you feel when you walk on the streets of NYC. However, I’m a small town gal. NYC isn’t my town. I could never live there. I’d be happy living dead center of 40 acres! 🙂

    I would have LOVED to have gone to Le Cirque. I adore those shows. The performers was incredible, aren’t they? I went to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Very fun.

    The next National I’ll probably go to will be San Antonio in 2014. Love that town.

  2. Well, you were a tad bit busier than I, Cyndi. Maybe next year you won’t be as busy and can use some of that energy for a little fun for yourself. It is draining. So I tried really hard to make some fun for myself outside of the conference. I even met up with a hometown friend for dinner – that’ s when we went to Bobby Flay’s joint. We had cactus pear margaritas that were yumsters!

    Oh, and I didn’t go to Cirque de Soleil. I went to Le Cirque the restaurant – it’s fancy smancey French fare and though it was quite an experience and very good, it was very expensive. Oh, well. When in NYC and all.

    I got to see How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and it was wonderful. Daniel Radcliffe and John Larouquette were good together. Who knew Harry Potter could shake a leg.

    I’m having trouble with this site, so if I have lots of typos, it’s because I can’t see behind these blasted login bars. Hope this is readable.

  3. I went to NewYork when I was a girl, but it was so long ago, I don’t think it counts. 🙂

    but I know what you mean about flying alone. it is FREAKY to get used to. I’ve flown to Ohio twice by myself. This year I was sitting in my chair at the gate, huddling my stuff close and trying to make sure I wasn’t going to be carted off somewhere when I realized I was being completely stupid. When it comes to safety—what better place is there besides an airport??? it’s loaded in security and people trained to make sure everyone is behaving. I all but laughed outloud. I’m waiting on my mega book deal between now and California registration….if not, San Antonio for me too!

  4. I know. I guess I’m so accustom to being around family and friends that it felt lonely. I’m no scared chicken but I do like to travel in packs.

    I likely won’t go to California…unless I luck up and final in the Rita (which is unlikely but *could* happen :))

    I’ll definitely make Atlanta and San Antonio because I can drive. Who from Arkansas wants to road trip with me?

  5. I would love to be able to go to one of the conferences that have events for the readers too. (Lora Leigh’s reader appreciation conference is on my bucket list BTW Liz).

    I’m afraid I’ll get all fan girly on the authors though. It would be really cool to finally meet some of the author’s I interact daily with one Twitter and read.

  6. Heather – It’s definitely something to experience. RWA is a wonderful event for reviewers like you because you get to see the intricacies that lie behind the publishing world and interact with the authors you read. There are often special events for reviewer, librarians, booksellers, etc. It’s definitely something you should check out. I sat with several reviewers during some of the lucheons.

    With some of the coming up in the South, maybe you’ll be able to make it to one of those.

    Of course, the reader events would certainly be more appealing to you since that’s where your interest lies, but still, there’s nothing like RWA Nationals. 🙂

  7. Sounds like you had a blast! 🙂 Not sure I’ll make it to New York unless we decide to drive there for our next vacation. I’m looking forward to 2014! San Antonio….shoot. I could almost walk there! 🙂

    The conference I went to in Dallas back in 2007, I pretty much overwhelmed myself with trying to make it to all the workshops. Next time, I’m having me a little fun! LOL

  8. Definitely, make room for fun. I have never been to San Antonio so I’m definitely making room for that one on my schedule.

    And try New York for a couples getaway or a girlfriends’ weekend. My kids would have been fine, but I think I enjoy it more doing adult things.

  9. I loved NYC when I was there years ago. I was still in college though, so I couldn’t experience everything I wanted. Maybe sometime soon.

  10. Well, it had to have been fun in college 🙂 I’m definitely planning on going back with my husband. I think we could do a long weekend and it would be fine – I don’t think I’d need a whole week. Of course, if we only do a couple of days, it leaves us more to do when we go back the next time. I think next time we’ll stay around Central Park rather than Times Square. My husband will likely appreciate the less busy feel there.

    Hope you get the chance to go again soon.

  11. I’ve traveled alone a lot, and been to NY many times, and this was my 6th conference. But I learned that there is ALWAYS something new!

    I’ve never been at Times Square at night, and was amazed at the crowds even at one in the morning. Not just barhopping and loitering, but SHOPPING! At stores you can find in a mall! LOL

    This year was my first publisher party, and taking a limo to the Waldorf Astoria was probably the best part of the week. (Except seeing friends and getting free books…)

    Heather, going all fan-girl on the authors is EXACTLY what you should do at a reader conference like Celebrate Romance or RT! Do it, and don’t be ashamed! They’ll love you! 🙂

  12. Yes, I was surprised at how late everything was going – a city that doesn’t sleep 🙂

    Funny, i got home and we went to dinner that next Friday with friends. At 9:30 the Port was shut down (that’s affectionately Shreveport). It was weird. I was ready to go do something. But, alas, on Thrusday night, it ain’t hopping like NYC. Felt kinda disappointing.

    Never been to Celebrate Romance. Where is it held?

    • I had no idea, so I looked it up. Looks like it was different every year, but it also appears 2009 might have been the last year. The website is gone. 😦

      • Boo Hiss. Maybe I can make it to Lori Foster. Keri seems to like it a lot. I heard mixed reviews on RT. Dont’ think I’ll try it until it’s closer or I have to do some tap dancing on promo.

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