It’s Conference Season, Pen Friends! If you’ve ever been to a writer’s conference, you know the wonder and the crazy exhaustion and overwhelm that come as a result of being immersed in a gathering of a couple hundred (or more) writer friends.
I just got back from Realm Makers in St. Louis, and as I myself am feeling the end-of-conference feels, I thought I’d share this #throwback post for you in case anyone else is going to be conferencing soon (or if any of my fellow Realmies need a boost as they readjust to real life).
The writer’s conference: There’s little more exciting than the thought of surrounding yourself with a hundred or more people who love words and books as much as you do, and getting to spend anywhere from an afternoon to an entire week learning about the business and how to become better at your craft.
For me, anyway, there’s little more exciting than a good conference. What’s never so good is the re-entry afterward. The introverted side of my personality starts kicking back in, my brain is happy but also exhausted from all of the information I’ve squished into it, and I usually just want to sleep for a few days.
From what I’ve heard from many other writers, this isn’t uncommon. And while it’s enticing to curl up in a cave and hide, the time right after a conference is golden, and we should do what we can to use it well. So here are my best tips for re-entry.
Three Ways to Win at Writing After a Conference
1. Take a Day to Regroup.
I know, I know. I just said not to waste the time after a conference, but hear me out because this is actually important. If you don’t take a day (or a bit more depending on what you personally need and the length of the conference), your brain won’t have a chance to process all of the delicious knowledge it just received.
Note: I didn’t say take a full vacation from life. I know how easy it is to slip into Conference Withdrawal Mode, where you don’t want to do anything but crawl into bed and watch Sherlock for a week, and as tempting as that always is (I mean, it’s Sherlock. Come on!) that is not what I mean by ‘regroup.’ You just want to give your brain and your body a chance to catch back up to each other.
2. Keep Your Tribe Close.
One of the hardest things about returning to the “real world” after a conference is the sudden lack of all the awesome writerly people you’ve just spent concentrated time with in close quarters. Don’t let those new or renewed connections fall to the wayside when you get home! These relationships are so important.
Find them on social media if you haven’t already, and keep in contact. Debrief the workshops and appointments you had with each other. Invite each other to a writing challenge. Agree to exchange chapters or query letters. Whatever it is you need to keep you going, don’t waste this glorious opportunity for accountability and people who really understand what you’re going through.
3. Get Back to Work!
This is crucial, and it can also be the most daunting piece of the puzzle. I know I struggle with it. While it’s perfectly reasonable to lament no longer being at the magical conference, the best way to spend your time waiting for it to roll around again next is to not wait.
Instead, get back to work! You’ve got all of these new tools, new friends, and hopefully renewed energy to direct back into what you love–the writing. If you let the time lapse too long after a conference, you’ll lose the momentum you’ve gained.
So, even if you’re tired, once you’ve given yourself a breather, it’s time to jump back in. Grab your stack of conference notes, your beverage of choice, and your work-in-progress, and get down to the business of applying what you’ve learned. You won’t regret it!
And just think, by the time your next conference arrives, you’ll be that much closer to the next big step in your writing journey.
What other tips do you have for getting back into your rhythm after a conference? Share them in the comments!
Dana, signing off.