Conference Debriefing: Easing Back into the Real World

NCWA welcomes Gina Conroy from Writer…Interrupted!


Conference is over. You met with like-minded people, heard amazing speakers, and spoke with an editor or two, but you’re back home and easing into the real world. Normal life must continue despite all the emotions and excitement you’ve just experienced, so how do you handle it all?


Your body and mind have been through an ordeal. Maybe conference was a fabulous experience for you, maybe  it was a disappointment. No matter what category you fall into, your body needs to rest and your mind and emotions need to recover. So sleep in if you can, cancel some activities. Have an extra cup of coffee. Order take-out for your family. Don’t feel the need to unpack your suitcase and put everything back in it’s place. Even if you have to jump back into your work routine, you can still slow down. Find what works for you and don’t feel guilty about it!


You’ve met hundreds of people, collected just as many business cards, had conversations with more people than you can count, how do you keep them all straight in your head? At conference, if I had a memorable meeting, I tried to jot something significant about the person on the back of their business card. Unfortunately, I didn’t do this as often as I should, so now I will sort through my cards and camera photos and try to write down what I can remember about each person. Thankfully, most business cards have photos, and since I’m a visual learner I often see where I met that person and recall some of the conversation. So take time today to try and remember the conversations you had before they totally slip your mind.


Ever year conference is different for me, but every year it’s memorable. I want to remember the good and the bad so I can learn and grow. I want to remember those God moments, the new people I met and conversations I had. And the best way for me to do that is to journal or blog about them while it’s fresh in my mind. Somethings are meant to be shared, other are for me, but in order to remember them with the passion and emotion of the moment, I need to write about them now. Take some time this week to do that!


I always plan on sending thank you notes to the editors and teachers who’ve impacted me during conference. While my intentions are good, I don’t always follow through. This week I’m making it a priority to send off an email or written note to people who played a part in my conference whether or not they requested my manuscript. This business is about making connections, not just making sales. One of my best editor meetings was with someone who didn’t request my book, but I left satisfied. I want that editor to know what a meaningful conversation we had.

In your note, try to include something about you or your conversation to jog their memory. After all, they met with hundreds of people and while they might not remember your specific meeting, being thanked and appreciated will make an imprint on them. Just be sincere and not gimmicky.

Whether coming home from conference is a let down or relief, life does go on and everyone must get back to the routine of life. But if you  take time for conference debriefing and ease back into the real world, your body and mind will be prepared for the normal demands of life.

Let’s Talk: How do you debrief from conference?


This post first appeared September 26, 2011 on Writer…Interrupted. Used by kind permission.

Gina Conroy used to think she knew where her life was headed; now she’s leaning on the Lord to show her the way.  She is the founder of Writer…Interrupted  where she mentors busy writers and tries to keep things in perspective, knowing God’s timing is perfect, even if she doesn’t agree with it! ;) She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, and her first novella, Buried Deception, in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection, released from Barbour Publishing in January 2012. On her blog Defying Gravity and twitter she chronicles her triumphs and trials as she pursues her dreams while encouraging her family and others to chase after their own passions. Gina loves to connect with readers, and when she isn’t writing, teaching, or driving kids around, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

2 thoughts on “Conference Debriefing: Easing Back into the Real World

  1. Gina,
    Greate advice. I wish I’d known some of this when I was an attender. Then I’d know that the depression I felt after conference was normal and probably from being tired. Now I expect the malaise and work through it. Getting back among freinds by attending the June meeting and going to my regular writing group really helps too.


  2. I arrived at the conference in deep grief after the passing of my best friend (lung cancer) so it was a challenge to focus. But I made new friends, was inspired, and left with hope! I had to leave early on Saturday because my cat won an award. Yes, I know. I told a few new conference friends why I was leaving early and thought you guys would enjoy hearing the outcome which I blogged about here


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