Post Conference Depression Is Real

So, you went to the RWA® National Conference in Orlando, Florida last week.  You hung with your tribe.  You went to the RITA® and Golden Heart® ceremonies. You had Smoking Sangria Cocktails in the bar. You took a thousand pages of notes on craft and Facebook advertising. You brainstormed and networked and left Florida feeling like a rock star armed with a renewed passion for your writing career.

Then you got home and your energy slowly seeped away, like the air leaking out of a balloon.  A week of surviving on too much coffee and wine and too little sleep catches up with you and all you want to do is sleep.  Worse, the real world didn’t disappear while you were focusing on your career.  Kids still need shuttling, emails still need answering, laundry still needs folding.  All those cool things you learned and wanted to implement? Forget them.  You’ve got to run to the grocery store.

Is it any wonder then, that you wake up on Tuesday morning feeling blue?

Welcome to the world of Post Conference Depression.

What, then, should you do when Post Conference Depression hits? Well, if you’re me, you buy a very large bag of gummy bears and spend the afternoon filled with regret. Take my advice right now.  DO NOT BUY THE GUMMY BEARS!

Instead, consider these six tips:

  1. Sleep. Take it from someone who has battled the blues most of her life. There is a greater tendency to feel down when you’re tired. Lack of sleep also causes brain fog, making it difficult to sort out all that great information you absorbed.  (Hell, for some of us, writing coherent sentences can be difficult for a day or two after conference.)
  2. Keep the conference chatter going.  Reality can be pretty damn lonely when you return, especially if those in your immediate circle don’t understand what it’s like to be a writer.  Rather than wallow in the feeling, throw yourself a life ring by reaching out  to the people you hung with and keep the discussing going.  Encourage each other to follow through with the writing plans you made in Florida. I just sent a note to my writer friends suggesting we get online and share a cocktail this Friday.
  3. Organize your notes.  If you wrote them by hand, take a few moments to type them into the computer.  If you typed them, then take time to read through.  Highlight the points that resonated with you.
  4. Take time to reflect on your conference experience. This is where morning pages or journals come in handy.  Pour yourself a cup of coffee or wine, and spend a half hour writing down what important lessons or revelations you learned. Ask yourself how these lessons are going to help you moving forward.  And speaking of moving forward:
  5. Put your vision for your future down on a paper. Chances are you had one or two thoughts during the conference that have you rethinking how you want to approach your writing career.  How do you see these new ideas impacting your plans?
  6. Finally, allow yourself time to feel a little blah.  It’s normal to feel deflated after a big event. Accept that you will be feeling tired and foggy for a few days and get through this week as best as you can.

Then, next week, hit the ground running. Oh, and remember – DON’T BUY THE GUMMY BEARS.


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