In one week, I will be at RWA 11 in NYC. I know, I know, the conference starts on Tuesday. Unfortunately in my other life, I have to give what’s known as the quarterly training brief, where I brief my brigade commander what my training plan for the quarter will be. It’s tons of fun and lots of laughs. No really. It is. I swear.

Okay so RWA will be way more fun. Like off the charts. I was reading my article I wrote in the RWR last year after my first conference. It was really a refresher because I was that nervous about going. I didn’t know what to wear. I didn’t know how to act or if anyone was going to talk to me. It was easier for me to pack for deployment to Iraq than to pack for RWA (packing is a whole ‘nother blog post).

Last year, though, I was six months off the plane from Iraq. I was still adjusting and there was still a whole lot of transition going on in my life from deployment. This year, deployment is impacting us in a different way, one that I’m much more familiar with. My husband just left for Iraq again and once more, it’s me and the kiddos and the pets.

And once again, RWA is looming. I’m not going to lie and tell you that I’m as freaked out as I was last year. I truly had an amazing time, blisters and all. But now, I’m a week out and yeah, I’m nervous. I’ve got to make sure I’m dressed right. This is a really big year for me and I really want to be comfortable but look right. Dress for the job I want and all that, right? So I want to be a big girl author in snazzy clothes and a great byline. Granted the clothes have nothing to do with that but hey, when else do I get to trade in my combat boots for high heels and manicures?

So on that note, I’m packing dressy. I’m going glam for the week. I’m not mommy. I’m not ma’am. I’m not the commander. I’m just Jess and I’m going to enjoy myself. Part of that means I’m going to wear white and hopefully not spill red wine or coffee on it. Part of that means that yes, I’m freaking out and wearing my high heels around the house at night to get my feet ready for the miles of walking. And part of it means obsessively trying on different outfit combinations to make sure that I have the right clothes. For me the right clothes means comfortable and stylish. I hope I’ve figured that out. If not, Rocki and Donna have volunteered to dress me *cough*.

As far as everything else, I know I can’t do it all. There are a few workshops I really want to get to. There are a ton of people I want to see again and new faces from the online writing world I want to meet in person and several folks I owe the first and potentially second round to.

For me, RWA this year is the same as the last. It’s a chance to hug those people who have helped me out over the past year and just say thanks. It’s sad that I have to go to New York to catch up with my Austin RWA peeps but unfortunately, that’s part of being a commander. Life gets in the way. Honestly, I would not be where I am today without a whole ton of people encouraging me, prodding me off the ledge, kicking me in the ass or cheering me on when things went really, really great.

So I’m going to say thanks when I get there. And if I owe you a drink or two, I’ll see you at the bar!