The Ups and Downs of Attending Conferences

I just got back from a 3-day mystery writer’s conference (Julie mentioned it last week), and am now looking forward to 3 day-long conferences to attend this week.

I go through highs and lows when attending conferences, so I thought it’d make for a nice topic of conversation.

Whenever I’m set to go to a conference, the excitement builds as the start time gets closer. The weekend’s conference was mostly for fun — I love hanging with other mystery writers and readers and hearing about what everyone is interested in. The day-long conferences this week are mostly business-related, so I’m looking forward to mixing and mingling with professionals and learning new ways to enhance and build my business.

Each has (or had) the excitement build up.

Then when at a conference, there’s the peak high while settling in, saying ‘hi’ to people I recognize and introducing myself to people I don’t know yet.

Next comes the thrill at the ‘official start’ and through the first workshops, panels, and presentations.

Breaks and food are much needed throughout the day. Staying hydrated is important, but those bathroom breaks can be a bit crazy!

The excitement level wanes a bit as the afternoon progresses, but it’s still there. Learning and socializing can be mentally exhausting to different degrees.

At the end of the conference, there’s a mixed feeling (for me, anyway!) One that combines the realization that it’s officially The End (a bummer) and Oh-Good-Back-to-the-Routine and my own bed (uplifting). The mixed feeling can be delayed if carpooling or traveling with others part of the way, but it hits at one time or another.

Once back home, in order to recover and get back to real life, I find it’s important to rest. Naps are my best friend. 45-90 minutes can go a long way to resetting the body and mind. The challenge is shutting the mind off from thinking over everything that just happened, but it’s worth the time to decompress and get back to ‘normal.’

Most important of all, though, is to not lose track of people or details to follow-up on after a conference. I put those on the top of my desk as soon as I walk in the door.

Follow-up is very important, especially from business-related conferences. Letting connections fall by the wayside defeats the purpose of attending a conference.

There may be the emotional/energy roller coaster with attending events, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m never disappointed to learn something new or meet new people.

Do you find your energy levels going up and down when you go to conferences? 

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with Lisa on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

15 thoughts on “The Ups and Downs of Attending Conferences

  1. Me too, as much as i find the events of a kind important, afterwords i do feel as if i was run over by a truck… The conferences i attend are most often in other countries, so add to that one or two days of travelling and you get an idea 😉

  2. I’m attending my first writers conference this Saturday in Denver. I’m excited to meet other local writers, since my only writer friends so far are online all over the world, but nervous because there’s always that annoying tendency to compare my success with theirs. And I’m pitching my story to an agent. So there’s that 😉

  3. At this point I have mixed feelings about conferences. Fun and exciting. Nice to meet up with people and catch new hints and ideas. You do need to pace yourself so you don’t lose from exhaustion. Finding a bit of quiet time away from people helps to recharge (but there’s so much going on!!!) Good point about following up!

  4. Lisa – are there particular conferences you would recommend or that you find particularly helpful? I’ve been on the search for good ways to network as a freelance writer and am interested in both writing and “marketing your business” type conferences….

  5. Thanks for the interesting article. Very informative, and you managed to arouse my curiosity to the point that I may be considering checking out a conference or two myself in the next little while. Thanks again.

  6. Pingback: Conference Burn Out | Live to Write - Write to Live

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