After Colorado Gold…Now What do I do?

Twenty-one years ago, I attended my first Colorado Gold conference. I recall standing in awe of the published authors (often in the corner, scared to death, thinking I didn’t belong there). I remember how Kay Bergstrom spoke to me, offering welcome and encouragement. I went to as many workshops as I could cram in, hungry for information. I took pages of notes, wanting to learn as much as possible. I came home so excited.

But I was also exhausted and scared to death.

So, this week, I’m wondering how many of this year’s new attendees are feeling that spectacular mix of eagerness and trepidation, fatigue and desire.

Most all of us leave conference with incredible energy to write but ready to crash with physical exhaustion. It’s a strange combination and it’s unexpected for first-time attendees. But it’s also absolutely normal.

The majority of writers are introverts. Some are uncomfortable in social situations and spend the conference weekend working hard to interact with others. It takes a lot of energy to do that. Even those introverts who appear to be extroverts (that would be me, having finally realized I don’t belong in the corner) find themselves zapped by the end of the several non-stop days. That’s the nature of introversion. Socializing drains our energy while those lucky extroverts increase their energy from social situations. If you’ve never attended Colorado Gold before, don’t be baffled trying to figure out why your desire to write is higher than ever but your body is sluggish. Get some extra rest.

Minds may also take a few days to catch up. We’ve just shoved an incredible amount of information into our brains and processing it may take a while. Imagine that little guy in your head trying to keep up with the filing! It’s okay if you don’t remember everything from the workshops you attended. That’s what notes and handouts are for. And CDs of workshops can also help refresh memories. There is a link on the website if you need to order one you forgot at conference.

But, many of us are also experiencing newfound enthusiasm. This is the time to capitalize on that by setting new goals and habits. After a few days to recover, start moving forward. If you have critique buddies or writing friends (including those you met at Colorado Gold), make plans together. Challenge one another to new writing goals or new support for one another. Put new advice into practice. Rather than letting the wealth of new information overwhelm you, select a couple of the techniques you learned and try them out.

This is the time to go forth, to accept challenges, to write like you’ve never written before!

Pamela Nowak
Pamela Nowak writes historical romance set in the American West. In addition to widespread critical acclaim, her books have won multiple national awards. In love with history and rich characters for most of her life, Pam has a B.A. in history, has taught prison inmates, managed the Fort Yuma National Historic Site and run a homeless shelter. She was named the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Writer of the Year in 2010, chaired three conferences, and now serves as volunteer coordinator. Pam and her life partner Ken live in Denver. Their combined families include six daughters and several grand-children. Together, they parent a dog and a cat. More about Pam on her website.

7 thoughts on “After Colorado Gold…Now What do I do?

  1. So true, Pam. Congrats on your 21st — what a significant accomplishment, to soar from “writer-in-the-corner” to President of RMFW, helping so many other writers along the way. Thanks for the many hours-days-weeks you invested in conference this year. PS: I was dragging by Sunday lunch, also, and also energized and filled with good ideas to implement in the future. You described it well.

  2. Pam, I must thank you, too. I’ve only attended two conferences, but I’m so hooked on Colo. Gold, and I’ll be returning next year. I loved my volunteer assignments of moderator for the first Editor/Agent panel and for Susan Spann’s session on Saturday. I went to all the sessions I could cram in, met some wonderful authors/writers, and spent more than I intended on books. But true confession, I found myself hidding in my room after dinner. It didn’t take long for the overload warning light to flash. Next year I’ll force myself to go to the hospitality room at least once. Thank you (and the others) again for all the hours of work and organizing to make this one of the best conferences ever.

  3. I guess I can’t count the number of conferences I’ve attended, but you’re so right, Pam. And I find that roaring, fresh, enthusiasm and excitment about my BOP the best part of any conference. This conference was one of the best! Thanks so much to you and the RMFW team!

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