03 April 2007

Back to the Real World

I am just back from the New England chapter of RWA's Let Your Imagination Take Flight conference, and I feel like this:

One would think that after getting back from two days spent exclusively in the company of other writers, editors, publishers and supporters of the romance genre, lugging home suitcases filled with books, chocolate, bookmarks, pens, sticky notes, magnets and other inventive promotional materials, head swimming with stuff gleaned from conferences, pitch sessions, networking and new story ideas, there would be no lack of things to say, but, well, refer to picture above.

I'm not complaining, not by any means. On the contrary, I had a weekend away from everyday responsibilites, where my number one identity was Romance Writer. I had a chance to get to know several of my chapter sisters better, make new friends and even got a request for a partial from the editor I pitched to. Erm, to whom I pitched. Maybe I shouldn't have skipped the grammar workshop.

There's something exciting in the air at a conference, and maybe that's why coming back to the real world after one can be as exhausting as it is. Of course I was ready to do the Snoopy dance in my chair after hearing the editor/agent panel agree that the big historical is poised for a comeback, but once the luggage is unpacked, all I want to do in my office chair is snooze.

Maybe we need to do studies and see if there really is such a thing as Postconference Syndrome. I hereby volunteer for said study, because I believe there is. Signs include refusing to sit down to dinner with the family unless someone leaves a free book on my plate, trying to open the bedroom door by inserting a card in the doorknob, and being unable to find the rooms in my own apartment without a floorplan and detailed list of who will be in which room at what time. If at any point I attempt to scoop all the clutter from the coffee table into my purse, while referring to said coffee table as the freebie table, well, then it's definetly time to seek help.

But what sort of help? There are partials to be proofed and printed and sent off to their (hopefully) future editors and agents. Current WIPs to finish, and those strange people who seem to be in all the family photos and keep expecting me to carry on a conversation with them while I make growly noises every time they make a move toward the Godivas I won in a giveaway.

In the end, I think it's the same help that we had before going to a conference in the first place. Bottom in chair, fingers on keyboard. Timeless advice. Hey, maybe I should teach a workshop on that.

What are your conference experiences?


Morag McKendrick Pippin said...

Yes! There is such a thing as post conference syndrome. After all, at conference one burns the candle at both ends. I attend my husband's conferences with him and it's the same. One either needs a weekend to recover or vacation afterwards.

Michelle Styles said...

Yes definitely a post conference syndrome.

It is generally accompanied with loss of voice.

Kim Iverson Headlee said...

Or you can do what I did at PASIC Power in NYC: attend one day's worth of sessions and then spend the rest of the weekend gorging on great NYC cuisine, seeing a brand-spanking-new Broadway musical, shopping of course, and in general giving my 11-year-old daughter her first "bite" of the Big Apple!

In other words, vacation while you conference!

The show in question, BTW, was "Curtains" which features David Hyde-Pierce in the lead role of what I dub a murder-mystery musical comedy, and I highly recommend it. It's a play-within-a-play (hence the title) and it opened the weekend before the con, and I had bought our tickets before they'd performed any preview shows, so we actually got good seats at face value (always a plus -- I paid triple for my opening-weekend, top-row-end-corner seat for "Spamalot" two years ago, but that was easily worth every cent...and was tax-deductible because I was paid for my review & pictures :).

Oh, and before we even left my daughter was asking when we can return! (Her late grandma was Brooklyn born-and-raised, so it's in our blood.)