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Ten Things to do after a Writer's Conference
by Susan Denney

If you read my earlier article in Writing for Dollars you know that there are a lot of reasons to go to a writer's conference. Your career can take off because of the contacts you make, your writing can improve because of the good training you get, or nothing can happen at all. To make sure that something good happens after a writer's conference, here's a list of ten things you should start doing as soon you get home.

1. Send an email or a quick note to the other writers you met. They may write gothic romances while you write nonfiction textbooks, but you never know when you may need the advice or encouragement of another writer.

2. Send an email or a quick note to all of the presenters whose classes you attended. Sure, they may not remember you (unless you were the one wearing the balloon hat and orange socks) but they will appreciate the thank you for sharing their time and talents. They will be much more likely to remember you if you need to write them again.

3. Be sure and send an email or a quick note to any of the agents, publishers or editors you managed to contact whether in a formal interview or just schmoozing around the pool. Don't be afraid! They're just people too. If they asked you to send them a manuscript, then send it!

4. Sort through all those papers and flyers you picked up. Get rid of the ones that have absolutely no value and file (preferably in a place where you might find them again) all those papers which might be of further use. Don't just leave everything sitting in the bag for three months.

5. Read over your notes handouts and highlight the most important information. (You did take notes, didn't you?) Make a conscious effort to choose two ideas (yes, only two) that you would like to incorporate into your writing life immediately. If you cull two good useful ideas from a conference, it has been worth the time and effort. If those two ideas become a part of your life, then go back to your notes for another look.

6. Send out a manuscript you already have. Didn't they tell you that over and over at the conference that no one can sell anything if it never gets mailed?

7. Read the book or books you bought. (I know you bought at least one.) Read them with the purpose of finding something in them to help you become a better writer.

8. Save your receipts for hotel, food, conference fees and books and put them in a folder marked tax-deductible. Place them with the rest of your important papers. These will save you money on next year's taxes but only if you can find them when you need them.

9. If you entered the writing contest, read the comments that the judges wrote. Unless you won, you probably disagree with their judgment, but if they took the time to critique your work, you should go over their comments with an open mind.

10. Get back to work and write some more stuff. Sure you had fun, but now you need to get back to the business of writing. It's your job, isn't it?

© Copyright 2004, Susan Denney

Susan Denney is a freelance writer living in Pennsylvania. She has published children’s fiction and nonfiction as well as adult articles on a variety of topics. Check out her website at www.susandenney.com.

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