When I laid out my goals for this year, Rutgers One-on-One Conference topped the list. With my son studying in a Masters/PhD program at RU, it only made sense that I was supposed to be there. When the acceptance notice came I was out of town and my husband said, “The note came. Should I read it to you?” Me: “Yeah, really fast. Just read it really fast.” That angst of not knowing was worse than the answer.
It read “yes.” Best day ever. My debut YA novel First Break has been a work in progress for four years and here was a chance to get a fresh eyes on the millionth revision. To make it that much better, I got to hang out with my son and his friends for a solid week in the RU playground.
The night before the conference, writer friend Sheri Dillard organized a dinner for writers. About 20 “Blueboarders” (referring to the Verla Kay writer scene) showed up, along with Andrea Brown agent Jennifer Laughran. Having some down time to talk with other writers about what they’re working on, where they live and sharing in the joys and pains of writing topped my list of R 1-1 take aways.
The actual conference went down the next day. Best tip: get there early and study the folder. I had five wishlist picks for my mentor and thanks to the genius of the RUCCL, I got one: Stacey Barney of Putnam. All the writers sitting at my table seemed very happy with their matches as well so I’m pretty sure somewhere in the matching department is psychic.
A look through this blog will let you know I frequent the conference scene, but R1-1 is like no other conference. Conference starter Vivian Grey says I won’t find one. The combination of having a session with a mentor, a session with 4 other mentor/mentee pairs, experienced writers excited about their craft and editors/agents excited to hear what you’re working on make this a one of kind venue.
I leave NJ so happy to have spent a week in my son’s world and to have survived my first R 1-1. I take back many new friendships and so many ideas–along with an inexplicable urge to open a Muscle Maker Grill in California.
Me: inspired, well-networked and ready to get to work on my next novel.