[First, an explanation and apology: My visit to Totebags and Blogs was scheduled way back when Immortal Defender was scheduled to come out this month. Since then, the book has been pulled from the schedule—all my fault, by the way—and I don't have a new date yet. I apologize to my readers for the inordinate delay. Torvald's story will be rescheduled soon, and I'll be trumpeting the new date everywhere.]
Last week, the Romance Writers of America held their annual national conference in Anaheim. I was there. I also attended the RT Booklovers Convention in April, and if things had worked out a little better, I'd be at Author After Dark in NOLA next week.
WORKSHOPS: Kristen Lamb giving us the skinny on social media
I love conferences.
I love the workshops, the luncheons, the parties, the business meetings, the crazy-busy signings, and the meet-ups with friends, readers, and Twitter buddies (both planned and serendipitous). I love the late night gossip sessions with my roomie. I love the award ceremonies and the racket of 2000 women excited by chocolate cake pops and friends winning RITAs — although my ears ring for days afterword. I even love the travel. [This time, I ended up seated next to a man from the East Coast, who, it turned out, had gone to law school with romance/YA writer and Portland, OR chapter-mate Inara Scott. Now who'd have predicted *that* one!]
There are just two things that keep me from going to ALL the conferences. One is the money. The other is more deadly and harder to overcome:
Conference Brain is a well-known phenomenon among RWA members and other writers, one in which a person returns home from a conference and falls into a stupor that can last from a day to as long as a week. I've suffered with it every conference I've attended, small or large, and have come to accept it as a normal part of my recovery process. This time, however, it seems especially bad, despite the fact that I turned in at a reasonable hour every night.
Because although the strange beds, funky pillows (really, Marriott?), allergies, free-flowing alcohol, aching feet, multiple daily clothing changes, and general lack of rest may exacerbate the state, Conference Brain isn't really about physical exhaustion.
FREE FLOWING ALCOHOL: Honey PomPom served at Romance of the Cocktail
(VanGogh Vodka special event)
It's about abundance.
Tawny Weber, writing at Healthy Writer, defines Conference Brain as "that overloaded, exhausted intense feeling of having too many ideas, emotions and energy flying through your system." (http://www.healthywriter.com/index.php/traveling-workouts/). And, boy, does she have it pegged
Right now, my brain is as overstuffed as a Turducken. I think I got more solid information this year than I ever have before. I have so many ideas racing around my skull that I'm afraid I may never capture them all, despite having made notes, sent text messages, and taken pictures. I have a thousand scraps of information at my fignertips, and still I know—KNOW— there are crucial concepts I haven't successfully recorded, nuances of character and plot that have slipped away, details about self-publishing that I haven't fully grasped, processes that would somehow make my writing life more productive if only I could get those last two neurons around them.
In other words, my brain is working just as hard now as it was during the conference itself, trying to assimilate everything that was thrown at me.
Now if my brain would just finish assimilating and let me get back to work. Torvald and Josian are right in the middle of...Oops. That would be telling.
GIVEAWAY: Another part of the abundance of conference is the swag — the books and goodies we all get just for showing up. I'll be giving a tote bag chock full of Conference swag, plus copies of the first three Immortal Brotherhood books (Immortal Warrior, Immortal Outlaw, and Immortal Champion), to someone who either asks me a question or answers the following in Comments before Friday at noon:
What's your favorite way to get the old brain cells jazzed and ready for a new project? Do you suffer a period of paralyzing overwhelm before the excitement fully kicks in?
***Lisa's winner is Erin! Erin, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name and mailing address! Thanks. :) ***