Tuesday, May 17, 2011

8 Ways to Beat Post Conference Blues

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?

Don't forget to join the conversation!


  1. Wow, I experienced this after a ONE day conference, lol! It was my first one, though, so I was all giddy about the experience. But it was over 3 weeks ago and I've not done a whole lot of writing since then, except blogging. But even that has not been as much. I've not even touched my WIP.

    But, I have been reading the books I got, and I'm meeting with a local author for fellowship and I also just discovered that our library has a writer's group! So while I've not totally abandoned my writing, I've found that it has been simmering a bit since the conference. I know I'll get my mojo back, and when I do, I'll be further along than I was pre-conference!

    These posts are awesome! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Amen, sister! Amen! Thank you for sharing the truth. I only wish I had known that when I started attending conferences. I came home from my first conference...and didn't do a thing for a year! The next year I promised myself--and my husband--that I would come home and apply what I learned. I did, and things happened!

  3. At the moment, I'm still excited about all I learned and all the people I met. But I must admit, I haven't started writing yet. I do have a list of things people at the conference asked for. Now to get started on them...

  4. I usually have some sort of post conference crash, but as you said,I pamper myself and don't demand too much of myself. Then I usually have a big creative surge a week or two later.

  5. Kimberly, I'm glad these posts have helped! You're right, it's good to get plugged into a group locally.
    Vonda, you and I are just slow learners - imagine where we'd be if we'd done something after our first conference!
    Ellen, I'm glad you haven't experienced the normal post conference melt down. I think you'll be just fine - and you already have a local group to give you the support you need.
    Dina, thanks for dropping by! I'm glad you mentioned the surge that comes later. I always get that too.
    Blessings All, E

  6. Edie,
    The blues I experienced this year were a direct result of not being able to work on anything until today! LOL. I wanted to jump right in when I returned home, but visiting family and a field trip I chaperoned took priority. Instead, I read another fabulous book and relaxed, catching up on all that missed sleep! I enjoyed writing today, though!

  7. So glad you wrote this! Had an email conversation with the subject line of "Funky Chicken," as my writing partner and I were both in a funk this week. I think I underestimated the blues- I think the better the conference, the deeper the blues. It's hard to go from one riveting and encouraging day to another, then crash back into normal.

  8. Your post has prepared me well, but for now, I'm still clinging to Cloud 9. ha! Having heard you share this advice in group meetings, I decided to be proactive at BRMCWC by jotting down positive things said to me -- especially from Dr. Taylor. :) Now, when the enemy tries to discourage me, I'll pull out my notes, read them aloud, thank the Lord, and start writing!

  9. I relate completely! The fear is really weird. I mean, its not like I've never had anything rejected before. :)
    Thanks for the post and I will take your advice!

  10. You are so right! The writing group I'm in, gives us 1-2 weeks off, then we help each other get back on track. It is hard, though.

  11. Great article girl...

    Are you going to post one in the future for not getting to go the conference blue.....:)

  12. Wish I'd read this earlier. I've been trying to pace myself, but....

    The good news is: my son, a graphic design student, and I are working on a business plan. I've made 7 blog entries on a new blog: confessions of a fraidy cat (on blogspot). I've blogged about my own experiences and am now beginning to interview others who have had to slog thru fearsome experiences. Lot of work, but it has been fun and resulted in some encouraging feedback. I'm very thankful for BRMCWC. It has been life changing!

  13. Dear CA, I know we must have connected at Blue Ridge, but I can't find your name or picture anywhere - even on your blog. I visited your blog and really like it. Please email me with your contact info so we can stay in touch!