Festivals and workshops are great, they get you out of the house and you get high on a great buzz of screenwriting energy. But it’s only too easy for that SECOND HONEYMOONenergy to fade away once the event is over.

First off, collect up your business cards and other notes. List those you need to acknowledge, those who asked for material, and those who just wanted to make contact. Start sending off those emails.

Keep a file of contacts, and make a note to follow up any leads when appropriate. If they asked to see a script, for example, and haven’t responded within a month or so, you might want to send a polite enquiry. Make a note in your diary.

Less specific contacts might be worth getting back to in a few months. A Christmas greeting or just a “how are you” next Spring.

Alone in a room

The thing is, however much networking, pitching and listening you do, the basic job is still a matter of sitting down and putting words on the page. You’re back alone, facing the screen just as before.

You need to get good at the “mental game” of writing.

As it happens, this weekend as London Screenwriters’ Festival ended, writer Nick Hornby was writing about exactly this in the Sunday Times, “You can talk to people – producers, directors, actors – all you want and pretend it’s work, but ultimately a script is built like a novel, line by line, over weeks, months, years. In the end, I decided to accept the inevitability of my fate… I sat in a room, on my own, and wrote.”

But there are ways to keep the energy going.

1. Make what you’ve learned concrete.

One of the problems with learning is that it can go in one ear and out of the other. Maybe (if you’re like me) more than once.

Here’s a great technique I picked up. Make it concrete and real. This means committing to using what you’ve learned. Pick one of the things you learned or decided during the event. Summarise it on paper in no more than one sentence. Then beneath write down one practical way you’re going to act on this idea. Not just a wishful thought but an action.

Next (and this scares some people) put a time and date on it. Not “some time in the future” but (say) 9.30 am on Monday.

Making it real (and timed) means that you’ll take it seriously and your unconscious will start to clear the way to make it happen. Do this with as many things you want to remember as you can.

2. List your values

All too soon, we get swept away with things that seem urgent, but aren’t what we really value. We grow frustrated because everything gets done except the writing.

One way to help this is to make a list of your values – what do you think important in life? Art? Family? Money? Relaxation? Love? Health…? List as many aspects as you can think of, in your own words.

Next number your values, but not in the order you’d like them to be. Number them in order of the time, effort and money you actually spend on each. Be honest. If you really spend most of your time on “Being with friends” and least on “Writing movies” then say so.

Now look at the list. What do you learn? What would you like to change about the order? How could you begin to make it happen?

3. Set a big goal

Set yourself a big, exciting, but achievable, goal. That will depend on you. For some people, just starting a script would be big. For others, that would be too easy. But sending a finished draft out to 20 agents would be challenging.

Fix on something that really gets you excited and – again – put a date on it. When would you realistically be able to do this by? Don’t be unrealistic. Give yourself extra time – if you do it sooner, that’s great.

4. Set yourself a really small goal

Big goals are inspiring, but usually a long way off. Keep your energy going by setting a small goal you know you can achieve. Achieving things gives you a taste of success, and is infectious.

So what’s the first step that you know you can do easily? Maybe it’s buying a notebook to begin planning. Or going onto Google and starting a list of suitable agents.

Do it now. Celebrate achieving that goal, and move onto the next.

Keep me posted as to how you do. Post your little (and big) achievements here, to celebrate and to encourage others. Have fun!