Really, I'm not.
But after a weekend full of blog updates, Facebook posts, photos and Tweets emanating from the West coast, I'm feeling every-shade-of-green envious of the folks that were able to attend SCBWI's 40th anniversary celebration at the conference in Los Angeles.
Being in the company of so many writers for the first time, people who wrote in the same niche as me, was heady stuff. I came home feeling validated, ready to work, and with an armload of notes, handouts, sample copies, and contact information. You're probably feeling like that now, whether this was your first or fifteenth conference.
But once you're home and (mostly) unpacked from your conference, what should you do with all the stuff. How can you best make use of the time and energy you spent collecting information to further your writing career?
Here are five ways to organize and help plan your next moves:
- Read over your handwritten notes. Type them up, possibly organizing them by similar topics. All information on plot strategies can be grouped together, advice for the agent search can be on another page, etc. This can be tedious but at the same time exciting because you get to revisit the conference all over again. Make sure to attribute who said what in case you decide to write a topical article or blog entry, and need a reference.
- Send thank you notes. Did you get a conference critique from an agent, author, or editor? Let them know that you appreciate their advice. They'll remember you when you get around to submitting that manuscript.
- Follow-up on other conference contacts. Visit the blogs of people you met, friend them on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Maybe you met someone with whom you'd like to exchange manuscripts, or you talked with an author who blogs and had great tips for starting your own. These connections could lead to great opportunities.
- Go over the guidelines of publishing houses and agencies. Read and reread these before sending your manuscripts out there. Pay attention to the submission time lines and how many pages/chapters they'd like to see. You don't want to waste an opportunity because you missed the fine print.
- Finally, write, write, write! You're full of creative energy now that you're back home. Take advantage of it to start a new project or dive back into your WIP.