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
4. Toss conference badge.
6. Launder conference tee.
8. Create list of short- and long-term writerly goals for the next week, month, six months, and twelve months.
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.
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