How to Come Down from a Conference High

Tim, Lisa, Kathrese, & I just returned from Realm Makers. Next month a couple of others will be attending the ACFW conference. ‘Tis the (conference) season. So what do you do when you get home to come down from the conference high?

If you’re lucky, your firstborn will start football and junior high while your second born starts the “big kids'” elementary school. Bonus if it’s the junction of first of the month (status reports) and critical project milestones. Nothing like the outside world to pierce your enthusiasm like an arrow through a hot air balloon.

Even if your week is a bit nuts and especially if you have time to ease back in, do a few things to keep the spirit alive.

1. Post pictures on social media

You get to see the conference all over again. Also it allows you to tag people while your memory is fresh. This helps keep you in the loop.

2. Post highlights on social media

Same reason and purpose as above. If time is limited, set specific times or do this when you have down time.

3. Blog about it

Yes, everyone and their mascots will be writing them too. You may not get many views but then again you might. If nothing else, you have a record of your time there.

4. Make a to do list

Did you have appointments? If so, follow up with the materials each person requested. If the person you met with wasn’t interested, send a thank you anyway. They took their time to meet with you. It never hurts to be gracious.

Gather the business cards you received and enter them into your contacts list. Correspond with anyone who might not have your information. Organize your class notes.

You’re all rejuvenated and ready to write. Set goals and get to work. That’s why you spent the money to go.

Now I’m off to fill out permission slips and emergency contact forms.

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Write Run Live

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Photo from Gretchen E.K. Engel

The Scriblerians regularly “get together” virtual style on Google Hangouts and the topic of our blog came up. We decided to do columns with our individual theme. It was easy for me. I chose Write-Run-Live. My favorite and easiest blogs are ones I do that center around setting goals and encouraging others in their journey.

Right now I’m finishing up the rewrite of a manuscript. I’ve changed it from first-person present to close third, altered the timeline, and changed the title as well as some of the focus of the story. Believe it or not the hardest part was flipping from pantser to plotter. It took a bit of tweaking scenes before I realized I had to strategize. I took the new timeline and made it work. Writing the scenes and editing them have been the easy part.

That’s a metaphor for my life right now. Along with writing, I’m training for my second, and perhaps third half-marathon. Then there’s the kids’ summer activities, and I’m in the middle of a large project with my day job. Scheduling my life is the hard part. Getting it done works with some planning. Did I mention that I’m becoming a plotter in real life too? OK, maybe I’ve always been a plotter who just looks spontaneous.

That said, I do crazy-busy as little as possible. It’s like the speed work part of my training. They’re my favorite runs. I sprint for 400m (1/4 mile) then walk for a 1/4 mile. This alternates for a number of sets. I can sprint knowing that I have time to rest. Toward the end of the rest, I’m ready to run again. Like life. I enjoy seasons of busy when I know there’s an end in sight. And relish the slow times knowing a busy season is around the corner. Another metaphor.

Do you like a scheduled life, being spontaneous, or a bit of both?

You’re This Close: 14 Signs of Future Publication

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The community of fiction writers has been one of the most supportive groups I’ve ever belonged to. Its members are quick to reassure others that yes, we’ll get our best work published. It’s only a matter of time.

And it’s true. It’s happening within our Scriblerians group.

I’ve read a number of blogs and articles describing the signs that an author is close to landing a book contract with a publisher. But there’s nothing like having those indicators right here at home among the Scriblerians. They bolster the confidence of all our members, and if you’ve experienced any of the following, know that your time for seeing your book in print will likely come too.

(Any or several of these signs might apply to any of our members.)

  1. You find your niche and a following grows rapidly for your blog, Twitter account, Facebook author page, etc.
  2. You are approached to speak about a topic you blog about or cover in your fiction.
  3. You are asked to write about it for another’s blog or periodical.
  4. You are hired to edit a published author’s work.
  5. You win one or more fiction-writing contests.
  6. You are sought as a judge for writing contests.
  7. Your short story is selected for an anthology or for publication in a magazine.
  8. You are selected by a publisher as an “influencer” for its books, reading and reviewing regularly.
  9. You are hired for any reason by a publisher that knows you aspire to be published.
  10. You become involved in the production of others’ books as an illustrator, editor, or consultant.
  11. Your rejection letters become more personalized, offering suggestions for changes to your manuscript.
  12. You are asked to resubmit to an agent or editor after changes to your manuscript.
  13. You are referred by a published author to his or her agent.
  14. You sign with an agent.

Of course, none of the above may happen. We’ve heard of authors who send out a few queries, full manuscripts are requested immediately, and they sign a contract with a publisher within weeks.

But most of us need some bolstering along the road before we reach our destination. If you seek publication of your book—fiction or nonfiction— I hope an item or two on our list encourages you.

What other signs can you cite and add to these?

Cynthia

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