You just shelled out a ton of money for your professional development. Make sure you get the most out of it.
Go Through Your Notes NOW
Yes, you have to do this while things are fresh. Here’s what to look for:
- Consider Cornell Notes to flesh out your scribbles. It’s a way for you to take general notes, then go back to create key points in the margins. You can then summarize your notes at the bottom.
- I do this in Scrivener using the body text for my notes, big ideas in the “Notes” section, and my summary in the “Synopsis”. I also include the presenter’s name and contact information there. If you group them all into a folder, the Corkboard will help you find your information in the future.
- Look for action steps. That will include:
- Learnings you want to apply to your current work
- Books you want to look for
- People to follow up with (more on that in a moment)
- Did you hear about additional conferences or workshops you want to attend? Get those on your calendar.
- Also consider creating groups of notes on various topics, such as:
- World Building
- Backup those precious notes. You could try Google Drive, Dropbox, whatever. Just don’t lose all the information you paid to get!
You undoubtedly met valuable friends and potential business partners, plus you’ve got information to share. You need a PLAN.
- Send those requested pages NOW
- Don’t make agents and editors wait. Stop obsessing over your pages and get them out as soon as possible. You can’t afford to make a bad second impression.
- Get connected
- Grab all those business cards and start acting on that information. Get connected on social media and add additional notes to your little black book.
- Consider adding reminders to ping your new friends on a regular basis. I do this on my phone’s calendar.
- Don’t forget to update YOUR social media. We’re looking for you!
- Thank anyone who impacted you
- Tweet or email keynotes and faculty. If you’re trying to network there, another look at your name and face can only help.
- Be sure to thank the organizers and volunteers who made the conference happen. Endearing yourself to these folks will pay dividends in the future.
- Did you hear about a future conference or workshop you want to attend? Get that on your calendar.
- Add value
- How can you bring something back to your existing writerly relationships? A good creative partner shares learning.
The Hero Returns
I always experience culture shock when I get home. Time to make sure your alter ego is ready to take care of business.
- Make a list
- I know you want to get to the next bullet point as soon as possible, but start with listing your neglected chores and responsibilities. This is an acceptable info-dump. Getting it down and out of your brain will help you with the next point:
- Take care of yourself
- You’ve just run a marathon. Don’t be surprised by the aches and pains that manifest in the next few days. My hands and wrists are aching as I type.
- Drink your water. I definitely dehydrated because I didn’t want to leave in the middle of any sessions.
- Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Help all that information settle into the wrinkles of that big beautiful brain of yours.
- Permission to wear the same outfit you wore over the weekend? Granted.
- Appreciate your supporters
- Thank any spouses, children, pets, or coworkers that have been shouldering your burdens over the last three days.
- Also thank anyone who will have to listen to you prattle incessantly about agents and queries for the foreseable future.