A writers conference? Sign me up!

Post-conference instructions

one bulletin board cannot contain my many new bffs.

one bulletin board cannot contain my many new bffs.

Upon returning from (enter name of writers conference here) it is not unusual to feel a period of profound lethargy and disconnect from daily routines. Symptoms of post-writers gathering malaise may involve one or more of the following:

·      A strong disinterest in unpacking your suitcase because to do so would be to admit that it is over.

·      Phantom-friend syndrome. The disquieting feeling that you were just surrounded by a throng of new writerly BFFs but you have no idea where they’ve gone.

·      Episodic late-night manic scribbling in Moleskin notebooks.

·      Bursts of aggressive Facebook friending.

·      An inability to articulate yourself to friends and family members, which may manifest as unintelligible mumbling or vague, non-writerly utterances, such as “it was awesome.”

·      Projection of preciousness onto conference-related detritus. For example, the urge to thumbtack your conference badge to the bulletin board in your office, a place normally reserved for inspirational quotes.

·      A foul odor emanating from the conference t-shirt you’ve been wearing for several days now.

10 step treatment protocol

1.     Nap.

Awesome, right? For 10 days this was my life!

Awesome, right? For 10 days this was my life!

2.     Unpack.

3.     Nap.

4.     Toss conference badge.

5.     Nap.

6.     Launder conference tee.

7.     Nap.

8.     Create list of short- and long-term writerly goals for the next week, month, six months, and twelve months.

9.     Nap.

10.  Hunt down the next writer's gathering that speaks to you, and sign up.

-Catherine Guthrie

Catherine Guthrie is a women's health journalist, memoirist, and editor at Stone Pier Productions. She just completed her second stint at Bread Loaf, a 10-day writers conference near Middlebury, Vermont, and will head north again in February for a month-long writers residency at the Vermont Studio Center where she plans to spit polish her memoir, FLAT.

Looking for your own writer's get away? Start here.