Blogger: Wendy Lawton
We’ve had a number of posts about how to get ready for a writing conference but having just landed home after attending the wonderful ACFW (American Christian fiction Writers) Conference in St. Louis, I thought now would be a perfect time to collect some great tips for what to do after the conference.
Plan at least one day to decompress. I arrived home late Sunday night but planned in advance to take Monday off. Depending on how long the conference, one day may not be enough.
Reconnect with family. So what did I do Monday after unpacking? Keith and I drove 75 miles to Castroville, to the best deli on the west coast– The Giant Artichoke– and took our sandwiches to the beach at Moss Landing to eat and talk. The long day driving gave us a great chance to reconnect. Planning the time to share all the things that happened at the conference keeps it from feeling disconnected from “real” life.
Write notes. I have a few thank you notes to write. (One of my clients, Tari Faris, made me this gorgeous bag as a gift. Aren’t you jealous?)
Ease back into social media and online communication. Let’s face it, we’re all going to be far behind. If you are like me and you try to set aside social media to be face-to-face with people at a conference, we’re going to have a lot of catch up. Take that extra day to be face-to-face with the people in your life.
Compile your action list. I promised to send things, read things, call people, get back on information, etc. I need to go through my notes and look for those telltale arrows that alert me to something that needs to go onto a to-do list.
Download your photos and organize. I took tons of photos and needed to send copies to those in the photos and send the ones of our Books & such reception to the main office and. . .
So how about your tips? What do you do after an intense conference? Care to share?
Six suggestions for the days after an intense conference. Click to Tweet
Conference is over. Do you jump right back into life? Click to Tweet
You made me think a bit this morning, Wendy. I’m not used to thinking in the morning.
The conferences I used to attend were engineering/academic events, and I was a very poor fit in that social group. Networking as something of a literal Martian among Earthlings was an uphill line to plow.
I always came back feeling rather depressed, and took myself away to the hills to replace the conference smells of Old Spice and Chanel No. 5 with burned powder and hot LSA.
Now, when I make it to an ACFW, I’ll be meeting people I like and understand. I don’t know quite how to deal with that.
Andrew, I loved your word picture with the scents you wanted to escape. The good thing about ACFW is it’s supposed to be “scent-free/fragrance free.” 🙂
I’m looking forward to running into you at an ACFW sometime. 🙂
Looking forward to meeting you at one as well!
LSA is “lubricant, small arms”…gun oil.
Anita Mae Draper
Oh man, Andrew…you mention gun oil and I flashed back to sitting on my barrack bunk with my FNC1 in pieces around me while I tried to clean that last speck of dust halfway down my barrel.
And that last speck was sooooo elusive…
Anita Mae Draper
You betcha! I learned to play their game. They said there was a speck, I scrubbed. Didn’t matter if I could see it or not… they could and that’s all that mattered. It’s how I kept my nose clean. 😉
Jennifer Zarifeh Major
Just take it one person at a time, and don’t forget to breathe.
When you come to ACFW you will be enveloped in friendship. Can’t wait to meet you in person.
I’m already there with the friendship, Wendy.
Today the bleeding doesn’t want to stop, and I’m holding tight to the hem of His robe. Nothing else I can do, but hold on and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
So I may not make a conference, and may not make publication, but my writing has brought me so many dear friends through this forum…
I’ve already won, and no one, not even the Reaper, can take that from me.
Wendy, I loved meeting you at ACFW. And hearing a bit of what goes on story-wise in your mind….. 😉
For me, I took Sunday to veg. I was exhausted from staying up way too late on Saturday night and getting up at o’dark-hundred to catch my flight home. I relaxed on Sunday and enjoyed being with my family. Hubby and I watched a movie Sunday night after the kids went to bed.
Let’s see . . . tips. I definitely work on writing thank you notes to the industry professionals I had appointments with. I begin to implement suggestions they made. I’m also giving myself some time to play catch up with things around the house that I let slide in the weeks leading up to ACFW. I’m learning giving myself a little room to breathe after a conference reinvigorates me.
I love the pictures you shared!
Jeanne, I saw the pic from the gala. You had a sweet seat!! 🙂
😀 Yes I did. It was most fun. 🙂
Jennifer Zarifeh Major
Giving your self room is a very good idea, as life throws curve balls, even when we’re ‘happy tired’.
You’re right, Jennifer. I’m gearing up for a busy fall, with possibly some unexpected travel. So, I’ll take the rest now, while I can. 🙂
Jeanne, where did you place your Frasier trophy? 😉
Soooo thrilled for you!!
Jenni, it’s actually sitting on a shelf in our family room. It’s like a piece of art, it’s so pretty. 🙂
Jeanne, it was a delight getting to spend some time with you– a new friend! We even got to spend time in the airport and share a plane ride. conferences are such fun.
Wency, love the pictures! And the handbag your client made for you. 🙂
I SO want to go to the ACFW conference someday — or Mt. Hermon.
I think taking a day off after getting home from a conference is a good idea, though I’ve been guilty of frantically trying to catch up on everything the second I get home… :/
And I’m looking forward to seeing you since I attend both of those.
Jennifer Zarifeh Major
Last year’s ACFW was my first and only, so far. But it was a rite of passage for me, and so momentous that I still read my journal notes from it and get weepy.
It took me weeks to come down from it. Actually, I’m not sure I ever will. Being there was like being on the outer rim of a whirlwind, then someone opened the door and said “come in, we get you, we understand you. You’re one of us.”
The whirlwind kept going, but I was safe inside.
When I got home, my civilian friends and my family let me bask in the afterglow, and Hubs made me a celebration dinner as yet unrivaled in our house. (The one to rival/out-do/eclipse my dinner will be the one we throw for our son when he’s sworn in as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. And sadly,no, he doesn’t get a horse 😉 )
And I mommed. I just hung out with my kids and answered their questions.
I still remember the face my youngest made when he said “Well, she’s not a REAL agent, is she? She doesn’t sign any hockey players, just writers.”
Okay, umm, yeah. Dude? Wha? Okay, forget it.
The first thing I did when I could get it together was upload my photos, file all the business cards, friend all the new friends on Facebook.
Oh, and did the laundry that piled up while I was gone. Reality can smell kinda bad if you ignore it too long.
The most important things I’ve done since the conference? Remind myself that it happened, thank God for all that I learned, continue to act on my blessings and never forgot that nothing I did earned me the grace and kindness that people gave me.
Jennifer, your words, “come in, we get you, we understand you. You’re one of us.” made me tear up.
That’s a wonderful hook for a writer’s conference in of itself. ❀
Love your comments about civilian friends and the afterglow. So true.
No hockey players…just writers…hahahhahaha!!!! God gives us kids to keep us humble.
Trust me, writers are much more exciting (and mature) than hockey players.
Thank you, Wendy and everyone else for sharing your time and tips. I so hope to attend ACFW Conference next year.
Jennifer Zarifeh Major
Because I can rent a Hummer and come get you.
I don’t want to make you!! 🙂 But that would be a sight to see!! 🙂
Jennifer Zarifeh Major
Well, yes it would, wouldn’t it? How wide is your driveway? I bet it would be like driving a tank.
My driveway is big enough … but you have to “watch out for that tree!!” 🙂 George, George … oops, I digress! 🙂
I hope to attend next year also. Can’t wait to meet you, Shelli!
Can’t wait to meet you, too, Jenni … and hug your sweet neck!!
I can’t wait to meet you, Jenni!
I so look forward to meeting you in person, Shelli!
Next year in Dallas, then!
Wendy, by all the genuine smiles in the pictures it looks like the conference was a taste of heaven.
So far I’ve only been to a homeschool one. We drove to it in our camper. It was like a holiday, and driving together has always been a relaxing bonding time (as long as a certain child takes Gravol).
I’m a note taker extraordinaire (even during sermons), so this helps me to relax before and after a learning session since I know I can refer to my notes later. Hanging out with like-minded people is the icing on the cake.
I love the colors in the bag your client made. Since I design and make handbags using repurposed and retro materials I always appreciate seeing what other artists are creating.
Blessings ~ Wendy Mac ❀
Wendy, I’m a huge note taker too. 🙂 It helps me stay focused.
Jeanne, do you doodle too? I also take notes to help me focus, and it’s calming when I’m in a crowd of strangers (friends yet to meet). ❀
Nice thing about note-taking– even if you never do anything with the notes, the very act of taking them cements the ideas firmly in your brain.
OKAY, EVERYBODY, STAND UP AND STRETCH! (nod to yesterday’s post)
Great advice, Wendy. I’ve been to 1 Mount Hermon, 2 ACFWs, 4 INWCWs, and a partridge in a pear tree . . . and I always love a gradual, low-stress re-entry day. It’s refreshing, after several days of laser-beam focus on writing and publishing, to talk about other things with people who see other qualities in me besides my writing, publishing, and platform-building ability (or lack thereof).
We talked about you at ACFW, Jenny. (Your agent is a friend of mine.)
P. S. I want that 1920s outfit and I want it now.
It’s REALLY cute, isn’t it, Jenny?
Kristen Joy Wilks
I love talking about the conference with my writer friends and my Hubby, great way to decompress.
And so good to share with those who didn’t get to enjoy the experience.
Love the pictures you shared, Wendy. I spy my agent, my critique partner, and my 2013 Mount Hermon roomie.
After a conference, I immediately empty the contents of my suitcase. As I handle the clothes I wore when I met so-and-so, and the shoes I clomped through the redwoods in, I mull over the events of the weekend. Accepting an offer of representation at Mount Hermon this year was a thick layer of chocolate icing on the CBA cake. 😉
For me as well. . .
Welcome back. Sounds like you made some great contacts and had a fun, though work-filled, time.
I usually take a day off too. Then I organize my notes, add the books I bought into my TBR Pile spreadsheet, blog about the conference, and review my goals to see if they are still the same as before the conference. If I’ve made personal connections that require some follow up, I do that the week following the conference while everything is fresh in my mind.
Oh my, Cheryl. Yes, the books! I need to add that to my list…finding more time to read those most excellent books.
Today was my day to organize and instead I was plunged directly into a few must-be-addressed-now issues.
Your drive to the west coast on Monday sounds heavenly, Wendy. My five-hour drive home on Sunday with the family was a great time to reconnect and hear about the zoo and the science center. Of course, there were still plenty of squeals over meeting Lauraine Snelling. 🙂 I’m still unpacking all the cards I collected and connecting with new friends on social media. And we’re all still giggling over my uncharacteristically extroverted moment when I asked Deb Raney what I should order at Starbucks. 🙂 After this conference, I’m simply savoring the God-moments of meetings and guidance, continuing to pray over the future.
Praying over the future. What an excellent piece of advice! I’m so glad I finally got to meet you, Meghan!
You are now a Starbucks veteran. I found a new non-caffeine favorite– Valencia Orange refresher.
Loved seeing you!! I have been sleeping unpacking and doing thank you notes. Time for more sleeping. Not sure I slept much all weekend. Glad you love the bag!
Gee, maybe I should start writing fiction so I have a reason to go to next year’s conference!
Ohhh, step over to the Dark Side, Peter. 😉
donnie & doggie
When I get back – my dog takes me for a long walk.
There’s always a lot’s to catch up on.
A typical sharing conversation:
1. A new cat moved into the neighborhood.
2. A chipmunk was making fun of him. (Known as: K9- Bullying)
3. He chewed up 3 tennis balls. (Separation anxiety)
4. He lost dog food bowl. (The chipmunk took it)
Those are great suggestions. I think it is so important to take the time to process what happened at conference and the best way to follow up. I’m learning that an immediate response isn’t automatically the right one 🙂
So great to see you and chat a couple times, Wendy.
Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Wendy, this was my second ACFW conference. I attended the first one two years ago in Dallas. It was another awesome conference. This year I took my sister. It was worth the entire time just seeing her excitement about starting her first book! I can identify with many of the things others mentioned, but after reconnecting with my hubby and catching up on sleep (I don’t sleep much at conferences-too excited!), was to journal some thoughts about my time there. Those unedited thoughts about the conference became my blog for this week. I’m only posting the link because I thought some of you as fiction writers would enjoy it. I enjoy your blogs, Wendy! Here’s what I journaled and blogged: http://www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com/finding-hope-and-joy-in-the-story-of-your-life/
Thank you so much for giving me the encouragement and permission to breathe. I came home from my first ever conference feeling a mix of exhilaration and exhaustion. And a self-imposed pressure to immediately follow up on every communication others are expecting from me.
But hey. These others probably need to decompress as well, so I plan to follow up soon–as soon as I slow down enough to gather my wits about me and do it right.
How nice to feel that pressure subside. I’m starting to smile on the inside. Thanks again for this post. I needed it.
Anita Mae Draper
By the time hubby drove me from the airport back to our farm, I barely had time to catch up with my teenage son and then it was bedtime. The next morning, hubby went to work, and teen went to school. That’s when I started my prioritized to-do list because everything was swirling in my head.
With that sorted out, I was able to start on the most important tasks which included post conference reports to my agent, and then to my blog mates. Email followed and today I’m working on the photos, social media, blog post deadlines, etc. That’s all the time I’ll allow myself to catch up because tomorrow I go back to writing and anything undone needs to be squeezed in like an afterthought.