I've been attending large writing conferences for twelve years and they all have ONE thing in common—post conference blues. It’s only natural. A week-long conference is an exciting, grueling experience. Just physical exhaustion alone could get anyone down—add to that the mental and emotional effects and you have the perfect set-up for a huge let-down.
For those who aren’t expecting the post conference blues they can—worst case—derail your writing career for a year or more. At the least they can set even an experienced writer behind several work days.
The feelings can run the gamut of a vague sense of unease to out-right panic. I’ve found that once I’m at home all the nice things people have said about my writing morph into something ugly.
- They were just being polite—they didn't really like my writing.
- They don’t really want me to send in that proposal.
- hey’ll never publish that (article, devotion, whatever) they told everyone to send something in.
All of these are lies. I've sat on the editor side of the desk and believe me when I say this. Less than 30% of the writers I request something from actually send something in. I’m convinced that a big reason is the post conference melt down.
Here are some tried and true ways I’ve found to minimize the effects.
- Give yourself permission to feel deflated when you get home.
- Arrange your schedule so you have a few days to recuperate.
- Pamper yourself. Sleep in, go out to eat, spend some much needed time with family.
- Before you dive into conference generated work take time to evaluate what happened.
- Make a list of things you want to accomplish over the next year, next six months and next month.
- Develop a plan to stay in touch with new friends and contacts.
- Reach out to others who may be feeling the same way.
- Take your next steps in small increments.
All of these things can help you navigate the post conference blues. Now it’s your turn. Have you experienced the let-down? If so, what have you found to help you cope?
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