Home from the Conference Now What?

Clip board do list

Now that you’re home from your writer’s conference, it’s time to get organized. While you are decompressing that first day back, take time to send thank you notes. Yes, thank-you notes are still in vogue even though they may be electronic ones.

Thank you notes

Send them to all the people you had appointments with, thanking them for their time. You could send a note to the conference organizer and the instructors whose classes you attended. Gratefulness is an attribute every writer should practice. We all know how good it makes us feel to be thanked and appreciated. Go forth and do likewise.

Send stuff

If anyone requested information you mentioned you had (not proposals), send it now. It is easy to get busy and forget, and when you see them next at a conference, it will be awkward and embarrassing.

Request stuff

Some teachers will say, “If you email me, I will send you my notes.” Or they might have a special email for submission not available at the conference. Be sure to email your request for those things right away. It may take them a little while depending on their schedule to get back to you.

Sort, friend and follow

Sort through the pile of business cards you collected, and if they are not a friend on FB, add them. Follow them on tweeter, and if you use Linkedin, make the connection. Add them to your email list. All those connections are golden.

Post comments and photos on social media. Tag you new friends in pics or mentioned them in your comments.

Organize and rewrite

Organize all your notes. Don’t just place the notebooks on a shelf without perusing pages. You may find you wrote a vital piece of contact information in the midst of your workshop notes. Search for web addresses and books mentioned by teachers, and transfer the info to another sheet. I had written proposal request information from an editor who didn’t have a handout on a page of my notebook. Good thing I found it.

Calendars and time

Time Management is mentioned many times and in many ways at conferences. Plan how you are going to conquer it. Write down your commitment. Get out your calendar (whether on paper or PC) and plot your writing projects. Set goals for completion and days, hours, minutes you plan to write to reach those goals. You don’t want to let a whole year pass and conference time rolls around and you still haven’t submitted to all those who requested your work. Be sure to plan time to edit the things editors and critique groups suggested.

Read and Listen

Go through the books and CDs you purchase and plan when you will read and listen. If you commute to work, you can make that a classroom time with your CDs. Most writers are avid readers so I’m sure you know when your primo reading time is.

Do it now to gain success

The sooner you do these things the more like a writer you are going to feel. The discipline of reaching your conference goals builds confidence. Confidence is just another step toward the success you desired when you attended the conference in the first place.

What’s the first task you do when you come home from a conference?

 

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Martial Arts Parallel Writing Disciplines

My daughter Nicole( first on left) at award ceremony for her achievement in Tang Soo Do.

At a recent Martial Arts competition I attended to watch my daughter compete had many parallels to the writing life. My daughter attends a school that specialty is Tang Soo Do but there were participants from schools that taught karate and other forms of Martial Arts. The competitors ranged in age from 4 years old to over 60. The students had the opportunity to show their skills in three categories: form, weapons and fighting. The categories were broken down into age and experience divisions

Writing parallels

The parallel became very obvious to me when the organizer of the event insisted that everyone watch the black belt fight competition. As all the other competitors found a place to sir he said. “Watch and see if you can decide who gets the points.” He wanted the students to learn from the best. Observe how the things they were learning come together. What are judges looking for that earns them points?

Martial Arts take many forms in the same way writing does. You can pursue journalism, non-fiction, fiction. True students of MA will reach the top of their class i.e. Tong So Doo and then pursue Karate or another form to learn more. Writers work in many areas. I love writing fiction but I write articles, skits, programs, Bible studies, copy content and this blog because it’s all part of getting better at the craft

Never too old

My daughter is 27 and has only been doing this for two years. She is unique because most women do not take up Tang Soo Do as an adult because it is so physical. She dabbled in another form of MA when she was 9 but the lessons didn’t fit our budget at the time. Nicole has become an inspiration for other women who had an interest because their kids were doing it. Now they compete as well. Her passion increases with each contest and new skill learned. And she has won trophies at every meet she has attended. Grant it in her age category and skill level there are few competitors but the trophy still means a lot.

Age is not relevant when it comes to starting your writing journey. If the desire is there just begin. Become a student of the craft by learning techniques for the writing from the teachers that God brings into your life. Practice your form (grammar, syntax and tight writing), take up your weapons (computer, pen, paper, craft books, tape recorder) and learn how to weld them. Fight the good fight with words that capture your audience. Battle rejection by competing with more submissions to many publications and not letting it discourage you.

Learn from those with more experience

Learn from the black belt authors what it takes to earn points with agents, publishers and your readers. They can teach you how to self-edit and where to revise. Hanging with them will encourage you on your journey.

Lots of hard work involved

Invest time, money; sweat and tears to become the best writer you can. The trophies for you will be by lines and royalty checks. Whether you appear in a national magazine or the local paper the kudos are just as sweet.

What disciplines are you working on to reach the next level in your writing journey?