Written by Barbara Baranowski
Are you thinking about attending a writers’ conference in 2017? Here are some tips from my own experience.
I left the American Christian Writers’ Conference ready to conquer some “giants” of Writerdom, including lack of time and fear of rejection. The instructors, as always, delighted me with their wealth of information and inspirational words. And, as always, I felt armed to do battle. But, I also knew another giant was awaiting me on the drive home and would follow me into the house. That was the hardest one for me to escape. I call him “Big Blue.”
Recognizing the Giant
After a writers’ conference, “Big Blue” walks into the house with me, and as I place the wonderful materials near my computer, whispers to me that I won’t see those inspiring attendees for another year. I can hear him laughing at the thought that I would open my newest notes or leisurely peruse new materials. He reminds me of the time and energy it takes to develop writing skills. I brush him off, but he sits near me and notes how solitary I seem. Some may call him post-conference blues or depression. I’m not sure if this is a classified condition, but it happens when I leave a conference feeling so inspired, yet so empty of those relationships and people I’ve been with—people a little “strange” about the lure of writing, like me. Lately, however, I recognize his voice immediately and have developed some ways to banish him. If this happen to you, I recommend these giant-slaying tips.
Share Your Experience
Share what you did at the conference with someone, even if you have to speak to yourself. Don’t keep the excitement and positive experiences bottled up. Call or email a fellow writer. You may inspire others, but more importantly, you reconnect to your own excitement. Often a speaker addresses more than writing techniques. Did one encourage you to a deeper prayer life? Share the inspiration you received. Did an article or book writer relate an unforgettable experience that motivated or inspired you? Pass along those words to comfort and hearten others. At many conferences an attendee list is given. Network your experience, but also network your feelings.
Seek Immediate Writing Opportunities
Look for writing opportunities immediately following the conference. Check with your church newsletter, bulletins, community papers, or send off that article which you have been clutching with insecurity. Open your market guide and go on a writer’s “shopping spree” in search of the publication with needs that match your work. Take on the challenge of defeating the giant by hurling the stone of enthusiasm.
Review Your Notes
Review the conference notes that you worked so hard to get and listen to any tapes you bought. Remember how the speakers’ words satiated your writer’s hunger and energized your spirit? In the same way, let the lessons energize your writing. By doing so, you will relive the excitement and be encouraged to continue. Highlight the notes that have special meaning to you and apply them immediately to your writing.
Make Use of Freebies
Probably your muscles strained as you carried home heavy bags leaded with wonderful catalogues, periodicals, and writers’ guidelines. Look carefully through them and anticipate gaining insights about the publications. File them by type for future reference, and review them often.
The Next Mountaintop
As soon as possible, make plans for your next conference. Regenerate the excitement. Look forward to new lessons and friends. After all, the next mountain top experience is just around the corner.
Post-conference blues can become a time of growth, or post conference greens, as I now like to think. These days I have learned to walk out of the conferences with only my writing friends. I leave “Big Blue” behind. Who needs him?
For some conference opportunities see our Writer Opportunities page.