Last month, I attended the Oregon Christian Writer’s (OCW) Summer Conference. It is currently the only conference I go to, as it is relatively close to where I live—if five hours counts as close!
The conference is three and a half days of workshops, keynotes, coaching classes, appointments with industry professionals, and the Cascade Awards ceremony, which is always fun. It is a busy week and one I enjoy.
My favorite part of the OCW conference is the morning coaching classes. We get three days of instruction from authors, speakers, editors, or agents on a single topic. My class was Melanie Dobson’s class on writing historical fiction. This class was simply delightful. Ms. Dobson clearly presented her information in a helpful, inspiring, and humorous manner. I learned so many new ideas to incorporate into my writing life to see if they work for my writing process.
Having the same instructor every day brings cohesion to what we’re learning and that is more helpful than you’d think! Getting to know the other people in my coaching class is also a great experience. And when the classes are over, I only want to stay and learn even more!
Leaving the conference is sad and an emotional high. I am pumped and inspired and ready to settle in and get to work.
But reality comes back quickly. I get to my “real” writer’s life, and don’t know what to do with all this information I’ve learned.
And now most of the energy and hope from the conference is gone after I settled in real life.
And how can I get it back?
If only there was a process where all this information could immediately settle in my brain and tell me which tools and ideas work for me. Instead, I am left with trial and error to see what will make my writing life more efficient, rewarding, and productive.
I’m sure if I turn to Google, that wonder of the internet, I will find moderately helpful listicles with advice, all of which I’ve heard before. The difficult part of “how to” listicles isn’t the reading—it’s the doing. If I don’t apply the tips, then reading them is a waste of my time. And I don’t need help with that!
I can go over my notes from the workshops, coaching classes, and the excellent keynote presentations. There’s so much to sort through! But again, this information is only useful if I apply it.
And that is where the trouble begins.
I’ve never been that great at figuring out how to apply new ideas. I absorb knowledge quickly and can easily recall facts and information, but applying it and figuring out how it can work for me is always the problem.
So can I use what I’ve learned? Is it even possible? Or am I destined only to be an information gatherer forever, hoarding knowledge until my brain is so full it explodes?
I know that’s not how the brain works. Let’s allow a little hyperbole here, shall we?
Now that the conference high is ebbing, I need to be more disciplined than ever. And sometimes—okay, pretty much all the time—discipline is something I struggle with.
How can I apply what I learned? How can I stay on track and get my work done? I could use some tips.
Maybe I’ll read another listicle.
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.