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Conference Overload?

by Shannon Moore Redmon

The conference is almost over. Only one more day left. We’ve packed information into every cranny of our mind and our hearts love the new friendships forged, but a bit of anxiety starts to fester.

How am I ever going to apply everything I’ve learned once I arrive home?

From social media marketing to deep point of view and character development, the ideas and techniques brilliant speakers shared are chocked full of helpful tidbits. Tons and tons of overwhelming helpful tidbits. Kind of like trying to eat the world’s largest banana split with a toothpick.

Our goals should not be to apply everything all at once. For most writers, learning our craft doesn’t happen in one weekend. Years may pass before our writing rises to the level of agent acceptance or book publishing. This timeframe is not uncommon. The key to our post-conference day should be to create a network, review rejections and always keep learning.

1. Create a Network

Writer’s meetings connect so many like-minded authors and forge friendships that often last a lifetime. These are the people, the soldiers, in the publishing trenches with us. They understand how rejection feels and celebrate with us when victories come.

Whether you received tons of “author cards” or took down phone numbers, make sure to follow through and connect on Social Media. Not only are these new friends a reinforcement to encourage you when writing gets tough, but they will help promote successes when book life treats us well.

2.Review Rejections

Sometimes we attend a conference to pitch our story to an agent or publisher and we get the big fat no. Our hearts are broken because we truly believe we’ve got the next best seller in our hands and don’t understand why these industry experts can’t see the talent in front of them.

However, upon returning home and taking time to review what the expert said, instead of hearing the negative answer ring over and over in our head, we often find they are right. Perhaps we need to make some corrections, revamp certain portions, or junk the story completely and start again.

Remember, we’re not alone. Below are five famous authors who also suffered many rejections, but didn’t give up.

  • William Goldings Lord of the Flies – rejected 20 times before publication.
  • Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind – rejected 38 times before publication.
  • Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl – rejected 15 times before publication.
  • Stephen King’s Carrie – rejected 30 times before publication.
  • Madeleine L’engel’s A Wrinkle in Time – rejected 26 times before publication.

3. Practice New Techniques and Craft

When we return from a conference, our folders and notebooks are full of expert advice and story craft ideas. Not every approach works for every author. We must sort through the mounds of information, practice what resonates with our writing style and see what works for us.

Just because someone taught a new way to be a “Pantser” doesn’t mean their method will work for us since our natural tendency is to plot stories. No way is wrong, but many processes are as unique as the people who use them.

Find what works, the idea that makes sense and produces a good story. Then make sure the story lines up with the publishing market. A writer can have the best novel out there, but if the publishing houses want jalapeños and we give them cream of wheat, another rejection will be in our inbox.

Hopefully these tips will help to keep the panic bubbles at bay and turn our mounds of effort into amazing best-selling authors, teaching at conferences like this one. Let the cycle continue …

What to do after conference? @shannon_redmon #ACFWBlogs #write #2019ACFW #writetips Click To Tweet

Shannon Redmon has been published in Spark and Splickety magazines, the Lightning Blog, a Revell compilation book, and the Seriously Write blog. She has finaled in the ACFW Genesis Contest and won first place in the Foundation’s Awards. Shannon is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.  


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One Response to Conference Overload?

  1. There are so many lessons
    too much for every day.
    Does God do breakout sessions,
    or has He some other way?
    Last night I learned life’s meaning
    and should have written it down,
    for it left ‘twixt wake and dreaming
    without a light or sound.
    This morning I found a little rock
    quartz crystal, jagged shape of heart;
    is this a hint from God’s own talk,
    remembrance of what I allowed depart?
    Is His love for us a hard-edged thing
    a symbol of the pain we bring?