Like drinking, if you are attending a conference right, you will feel terrible the next morning.
There is nothing more energizing and nothing more interesting that a good writing conference. Seeing an author in the flesh, hearing the words in real time, feeling the energy in the room, we still long for that, we still want connection. And a conference is such a perfect way to achieve that connection. A good writing conference is built to be over stimulating and overwhelming. Like drinking Red Death at the Lambda Chi house, the stuff is great going down.
You take copious notes, your pen runs out of ink, you nod in agreement, you make rash promises to yourself and the writer sitting next to you. And then you arrive home, look at the scrawled notes and think, what did I promise? To whom? You have seventeen business cards and no idea how you came to acquire them. Thirteen flyers advertising great classes and newsletters are smashed in the bottom of your complimentary tote, you can’t remember if you signed up to receive them or write for them. You have notes you can’t read, blogs addresses you can’t decipher and a new plan you can’t recall.
Some of the vows I made in the throes of a convention include:
To be a best selling author. Tomorrow.
To not be jealous of the cute young thing next to me who got a book contract last year and is speaking this year on how to get a book contract in under an hour.
To contact every agent I met, as soon as I find their cards.
To apply every single SEO tip to my web site and social networking plan. (See point four on the new plan I can’t recall)
It all reminds me of Red Death, the ubiquitous college drink that was mixed in a garbage can using every liquor in the frat house and some Hawaiian punch added for color. I’m thinking the worst of it was probably the Hawaiian punch.
I also realize that when I was a freshman in college it was much easier to recover from a Lambda Chi party than an excellent writer’s conference. I made fewer promises.