Science fiction, mystery, romance, fantasy and dino porn(?), connected last weekend in NYC for the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. For three days, writers left the coziness and familiarity of their computers and gathered to do the very thing we hate most…interact with other human beings. It was a great experience but, now that it’s over, what happens after a conference?
Like many attendees, my entire summer revolved around the Conference. A first time attendee, I didn’t know what to expect (seriously, dino porn?), so I tried to anticipate the unknown. My “Conference To Do List” kept me busy all summer long, but I managed to get it all done (and take a trip to Colorado).
All the preparation began to make sense after walking through the door of the Hilton on the first day of the conference. Before that, it seemed like work with no purpose however; stepping into the lobby made it “real”. I had entered a new world…a world where I was Lucas Horn, Writer.
For three days, I interacted with writers, authors, publishers…and was accepted as one. We openly spoke about our work, congratulated one another on successful pitches and made plans to collaborate on projects. We infiltrated bars and coffee shops and amazed (or pissed off) patrons while discussing pitches, plots and character arcs.
I left the conference motivated by the seminars, excited by the new connections and validated from a successful Pitch Slam. It was an amazing weekend and helped me realize I was on the right track. Now that the conference is behind me, however, I’m left wondering…Now what?
Here are 7 Ways to Cope with Conference Separation
- Keep it Fresh: Three days of seminars, keynotes and chatting produced a lot of information, and even more ideas. If you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to write it all out and create actionable items.
- Stay in Touch: Meeting new people at a conference is great, but keeping those connections close is better. Use business cards to reach out with a personal email. Be sure to remind them who you are and invite them to follow you or sign up on your blog. If you haven’t collected cards (why?), use the Conference Facebook Group (yes, it’s still up) to connect with other attendees.
- Work on Queries/Pitch Follow Ups: It should go without saying but, if you had a successful Pitch Slam, you should be working on follow ups. If you didn’t attend a Pitch Slam and you’re ready to query, now’s a great time to use the information learned in the sessions to construct those query letters.
- Tweak Manuscripts: If things didn’t go exactly as planned with your pitch, use what you learned to fix your manuscript. Whether a few small changes or complete overhaul, get to it while the information is fresh.
- Work on Marketing: Some of the writers I spoke with said they weren’t happy with their marketing (social, blog). There’s no better time than the present to make changes to your website, or create a brand new marketing strategy.
- Write!: Yes, this should be obvious. Writing never stops for a writer, so get that sequel started or begin that brand new Science Fiction concept you always wanted to write.
- Never Relax: Most important, don’t just go back to your part of the world after a big event like this and relax. Use the motivation and the energy from the conference to get up and get your ass to work in whatever capacity is necessary.
As writers, we need all the motivation we can get. If being around writers in New York City for three days isn’t motivation to write, I don’t know what is.