I’ve just been to a wonderful Christian Writers’ Conference in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. It was so much fun catching up with old friends, making new ones, and gaining lots of valuable input on everything from memoir to tackling difficult issues in children’s books.
I came home pumped, but tired. Travelling and a hectic conference program can zap your energy. Home and work tasks can also pile up when you’re away and it’s easy to slip back into your regular routine and forget about the writing.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your momentum once you’re home from a conference.
Refresh – Give yourself a bit of grace and time to relax and refresh when you first arrive back. Your family and friends will be waiting to see you and you’ll have things to do. However, don’t use this as an opportunity to procrastinate. The purpose of recharging your batteries is to keep you plugged in.
Review – Go over your conference notes and handouts and mark up the sections you want to apply in your writing life. If there were sessions you missed, the presenters might be willing to email a copy of their notes.
Write – Get back into your writing as soon as possible. The conference may have sparked an idea you can explore or you may have a new way of approaching something you’re already working on. It doesn’t have to be a major project, but the sooner you ‘get back in the saddle’ and write, the easier it will be to apply the lessons you’ve learned.
Follow-up – Did you have an editing appointment? Then use the editor’s suggestions to improve your work. Did a publisher ask you to send a proposal or manuscript? Send it as soon as you can so that he or she will remember what you discussed and will see you’re serious about your writing. However, only send your best work. If you need more time to edit it, then take that time first.
Network – Does the group that organised the conference have a web presence? ‘Like’ their page or join their Facebook group so that you can get updates and keep in touch with people you met at the conference. If they’re not on social media, why not contact other attendees and start up your own online group? It’s not hard to set up a group on Yahoo or Facebook. Local writers’ groups can also keep you motivated and provide an avenue for you to encourage others. If there are no groups in your area, maybe you could start one. Networking doesn’t have to stop when the conference ends.
So what are you waiting for? Put those conference lessons into practice and you’ll have a pile of manuscripts in no time. Just be sure to spend more time on your writing than on social media.