by Patience Bloom
You’ve just returned from your first (or eighteenth) Romance Writers of America conference–or meeting of your local romance chapter. You’re on that high after spending time with writer-friends, and the lessons you learned were life-changing. After unpacking your clothes, swag, and free books, you throw yourself on the couch for a restful day of recovery.
But you learned so much that, of course, the first thing you want to do is hit that keyboard and start typing. Well, maybe you’ll do that tomorrow. Going to a conference takes so much energy because you are an introvert. Plus, the learnings are sort of like writing 2K words, right?
Sort of. Attending a conference should always be beneficial to your writing vocation, otherwise why go? But to keep it working for you, to really reap the rewards for attending and then use the lessons you’ve learned, consider these five post-conference tools.
- Write detailed notes of everything you did. The workshops, the parties, the coffee klatches. What did you learn and how did it affect you? It might take time to get everything down, but one day, you may be stuck and need to revisit inspiriting content.
- You made a friend or two. It’s easier to interact with people when you are together at a conference. Once you go home, you may be less inclined to talk. Be proactive after making a connection. Think of the person who impressed you, someone you’d like to keep in touch with. A great part of conferences is networking. Part of networking is following through. Send that person an email or make a coffee date.
- A fellow writer has a great idea for how to plot a story. It’s nothing like what you do, but your friend seems to have an interesting tip. It never hurts to experiment. Take one of those lessons you learned and apply it to what you are doing. It’s one thing to listen to ideas and another to use them for your own work. The way for any process to sink in is to try it out.
- Now that you’ve attended this conference/workshop, what is it that you have that you can pay forward for the next You who might be starting out. The way any group stays strong is through support. Those who helped you are counting on you to pass it on.
- Even though you have returned to real life, think about your next step. Plan the next event. Stay in the game.
The life of a writer can be a lonely one, so these pockets of social interaction are invigorating. You learn that you are not alone and your writing community has a lot of experience and knowledge. Take advantage of what’s out there. Happy writing and future-conferencing.