I started the ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) annual conference in New York City last week by attending an 8:30 a.m. session titled “Side-Stepping the Post-File Hangover,” which focused on how to deal with the lull and let-down after the storm of meeting a big deadline. Fourteen sessions, two luncheons, two cocktail parties and two networking dinners later, I need some kind of cure for the post-conference hangover.
Conferences are usually great, and the ASJA conference was everything I expected and more. But then comes the Monday morning after the conference. I return from these things with a mile-long to-do list and a head full of possibilities. I’ve learned all about “how to use social media to build your platform.” I now have “everything you need to know about e-books.” I’ve collected lots of “tips for producing a podcast.” I’m sidestepping the “ten ways to blog your way into a lawsuit.” And I’ve experienced how “Sree explains it all,” in which Columbia J-school professor Sree Sreenivasan crams as many social media tips as possible into three hours.
Exhausted from non-stop learning and networking over three days, I have to face a week of deadlines and demands while the stacks of notes and business cards from the conference sit accusingly on my desk. Come on, they nag, you need to connect with all these folks on Twitter. Remember those three editors who expressed interest in getting a pitch from you? Better follow up soon or you’ll lose them. But I have three editors to whom I owe actual stories or outlines this week. And those great tips on podcasting? In one corner of my office sits a box with a fancy $300 digital recorder I bought last year, after a conference in June got me all excited about producing podcasts for my blog. I haven’t used it once.
The ASJA conference was great. But the chasm between all the potential opportunities gathered there and the day-to-day grind of reality here at my desk seems impossibly wide. Maybe things will look better tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’m going to get some aspirin for my aching head.