Conferences are an important part of building your platform. But after you attend one, the amount of new information you try to apply as you balance writing work with life may prove challenging.
The Wordsowers Writers Conference was Jeannie’s first. I asked her to share her perspective of the conference and the days after.
What did you think about your first writers’ conference?
It was incredible. The Friday night kick-off concert with Phil and Pam Morgan set the stage. I don’t like to use the word “amazing” too freely, but they were. Then Lee Warren gave us a conference overview. He guided us through a maze of industry terms, and readied us to speak confidently and intelligently with industry people the next day. On Saturday, between the keynote speakers, workshops, one-on-ones with editors and publishers, skyping, and networking, I came away with a clearer understanding of the industry.
What was the most helpful thing that you learned craft wise or marketing wise?
I learned the importance of professional editing. I’d submitted chapter 1 of my novel for use in a workshop demonstration. It had been critiqued several times…and we have a tough critique group. I didn’t expect the editor to find much to change, and was floored by everything he pointed out. Wow, what a wake-up call. I’m grateful for his expertise, and am rewriting the chapter-and book-utilizing his notes to make it stronger.
What roadblocks have you run into putting these things you have learned into practice?
I was so excited by the advice I received at the conference that I started too many things at once. Result? I have half a dozen projects half done, and none finished. For example, I’m signed up to guest blog on Kristena Tunstall’s “The Journey” site, started an article to submit to Thriving family magazine, started re-working my entire novel, etc. I need to stay focused and finish one project (or chapter) instead of jumping back and forth between them constantly.
Are you looking forward to your next conference? I can’t wait!
It’s not uncommon after a conference to come home and hit the ground running to catch up on what was left undone while you were gone. You keep looking at the stack of business cards or lists of names and wonder if you will end up wasting all that opportunity because you are so busy you can’t find time to follow up.
Maybe you put off submitting to one of the editors or agents you talked to because you don’t believe they really like it. You second guess positive feedback you received. Or the one project you pursue pushes all others aside. You wonder if you have focused on the right one. Its easy to get frustrated and discouraged. If you find yourself in anyway frustrated after the conference and approaching the Post Writers’ Conference Blues. Here are 3 things to help you overcome this temporary set back.
·Stop whatever you are doing and set aside 15 minutes to make first contact. This is time to send an email thank you to editors/publishers and other connections who spent time listening to your pitch, encouraging you and maybe even inviting you to send in your manuscript.
·Set aside another 15 minutes to make a priority list. Be realistic about how much time you have to dedicate to following up with submissions and pace yourself. Tackle one project or goal at a time.
·Start. One thing, one day at a time. Work your list. Just do something toward your goals. Today.
·Give yourself grace. You don’t have to do everything all in one day. This is why you have a priority list. Do what is on your list for today and let the other items wait until their appointed time.
Have you ever run into the post writers conference blues?
What has helped you to overcome?
Angela D. Meyer, author of Where Hope Starts, lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 22 years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son who is now off to the Marines. She loves God, her family, good stories, and connecting with friends. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea.