I just returned home from the San Francisco Writer’s Conference.
It was amazing, and I had the time of my life! (Second only to my wedding and the birth of my kids, of course. Just in case my husband reads this.)
If you’re anything like me, you love to go to retreats, conventions, conferences, camps, workshops and events where you’re surrounded by like-minded people. Whether it’s a fan convention or a work conference, you can connect with people who share common interests and passions. You attend, meet new friends, colleagues and mentors, and find yourself excited, supported, and enthusiastic about your craft, trade, or skill. When you leave the conference, you’re excited and pumped up. You can’t wait to improve your performance, redouble your efforts, and apply everything you’ve learned to your work.
But then a little time goes by. And the “real world” hits you hard. The diapers need changing, or the cat throws up on the carpet, or the dishes pile up. You go to your day job, and the boss is grumpy, or your clients are pushy, or you have to clean up someone else’s mess. The “real world” can be rough after the high that you experienced at the conference. It happens to everyone. I call it “Post-Con Blues.”
So what do you do?
Here are my five ways to deal with “Post-Con Blues:”
It seems like a no-brainer, but it needs to be put as #1 on the list of things to do to deal with the low we experience after a con. You have to remember the things you learned. Go through your notes and photographs, remember the things you wanted to achieve. Take notes where necessary, and make lists of everything you bookmarked. Go through all the handouts that you picked up, and the post-cards and business cards you wanted to keep track of.
Which leads us to #2.
When you have your stack of business cards from the conference, convention, camp, seminar, or whatever, go to your computer. Type in quick emails to the people you met. Find them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr. Just saying “Hey, it was great to meet you. Let’s keep in touch,” or “How’s that memoir going?” or “Your cosplay was absolutely amazing. Do you have a website?” will help you feel more connected. And when you receive emails back from your new friends and colleagues, it starts to create a sense of community.
That is, after all, what we’re trying to achieve, isn’t it?
Visit the websites on the post cards, business cards, flyers and handouts that you came home with. Read up on what everyone else is experiencing, what your new friends, colleagues and mentors are working on. Discover or Re-Discover what made you want to connect with them in the first place. When you find yourself getting excited about a project that someone else is working on, make sure to leave comments and let people know. And if you’re working on something new and exciting, share that, too.
Talk to your friends, colleagues and mentors about what other events they have on their calendars.
Most of these conferences, conventions, camps, seminars and workshops aren’t stand alones. They’re a part of a series, whether it be annually or more or less frequently. Sign up for the next conference. Put your name/email on the newsletter for another workshop. Ask your new friends and colleagues what other seminars they attend, and get ready for those, too. One conference doesn’t have to be the end of it all. There are other newer and more exciting experiences out there just waiting for you. And you can spend time preparing for them. Order new business cards, work on your website, prepare your presentations. You can do this, you’re more educated and experienced than you were before.
5.) Push Forward
Keep yourself moving forward. Put your “to do” and “to remember” lists somewhere where you’ll see them every day. Don’t let those connections you made at the conference fall flat–keep in touch with your new friends, colleagues and mentors. Work hard, and apply the things that you’ve learned to your new projects. Don’t let anyone tell you — especially yourself! — that your time was spent in vain. You are stronger now than you were before you left, and are growing stronger and smarter, more experienced, every day.
Don’t stop moving, don’t stop writing, don’t stop living. Keep these things in mind, and you’ll be able to push through the Post-Con Blues all the way to the next big adventure!
Hopefully I’ll see you at the next one, and we can trade business cards. I’ve got a great new design in mind. 🙂