Thursday, August 02, 2012

Lisa Hendrix: Conference Brain

[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.
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." ( 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. 

It's wonderful.

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 with your full name and mailing address!  Thanks. :) ***


Michele L. said...

Hi Lisa!

This is what I do to jump start my lazy brain cells before tackling any project, I throw a quick karate kick in the air, yell,"Ai-Ya!" and then get to work. Ha,ha! Well, actually no. What I usually do is turn on my favorite music, spray some air freshner in the air, (love scents)get a tall cold glass of pop and then get to work. Works everytime for me. If it is a project that is particularly burdensome or hard, I like to take it in steps. That way I don't freak out and feel overwhelmed. One day I do one step, the next day another step, and so on. Just have confidence in yourself that you can do anything.

Have a wonderful day! Awesome contest by the way! I am so excited for you that you were able to go to RWA and then to RT Booklovers! I hear they are so much fun! I am so jealous!

Lil said...

I ususally need a a hike to clear the cobwebs before taking on a daunting new task. It helps me to get my brain into gear.

little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

angel said...

I usually go to the gym to jump start my day. If for some reason i cannot do that i just go for a walk around my block. I basically do anything i can to jump start my brain.

Karen H in NC said...

My first cup of coffee in the morning gets me going. Now, we know it's 5 o'clock somewhere....I'd like to know what goes into that yummy looking Honey Pom Pom. From the name, I'm guessing honey, Pom Juice and vodka.

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Lisa Hendrix said...

@Karen H in NC -- Here's your recipe!

Honey Pom Pom

1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Pomegranate Vodka
3/4 oz. pomegranate juice
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz. honey syrup (equal parts honey & water)

Directions: Shake very well with ice and strain into martini glass. Garnish with lime wheel.

traveler said...

What works is a lengthy walk in the clear, clean fresh air in the foothills. Early morning is the best time and then my day beckons.

petite said...

Gym days always rev me up and then I have a very productive and great day. More energy and ability to get going.

Na said...

I always undertake a new project with a list. I have my to-dos and goals I want to meet. Even if I don't meet them having them on a list where I can see them helps me know what I need to go to get something done. I find it helps when I have motivating music on, the beat or lyrics can really pump me up. Good luck!


Mary said...

Starting a new project can be hard and daunting but I've found that realxing in a tub full of bubbles while I listen to music can really help get me jazzed to get going on something new.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Some great coffee & chocolate fires me right out of the funk...

Pat Cochran said...

Ten or fifteen minutes on my exercise
glider gets the muscles stretching,
the blood pumping and the lungs push-
ing the oxygen out into the body and
brain. I seem to "work" better after
each session! As mentioned previously,
music and chocolate help, too!!!

Pat Cochran

Leni said...

Before starting a new project I do a bunch of research then drag my feet a bit before starting. I end up thinking about it way too much before I decide to step back and jump into my yoga then I'm good to go.

megblod said...

For me starting a new project can be pretty hard most of the time, but on rare ocainsions I'll just start on one without really meaning to. But what I find goes really well with doing any kind of project is either good music to listen to or having something interesting to watch on tv.

Jane said...

One day I'm going to have a Turducken for Thanksgiving. I sometimes need to get not think about the upcoming project for a few days to clear my head and then start to prepare for it.

Leah Weller said...

I've found a good walk or Zumba helps to get my brain cells going. I guess it's the adrenaline pumping that does it.

Looks like you had a blast! I imagine it does take it's toll when it's all said and done.

I'm loving this giveaway. It's a generous one and I thank you for the chance to win. :)

Chrisbails said...

What a great post. Always jealous that others get to go to the awesome conferences. One of these years I hope to get to go.
To clear the cobwebs or to get out of a funk I will take a walk or sit outside and just listen to the quiet. Reading a good book or listening to music is another stress releaver. What a great prize, would love to win.

lag123 said...

I have to have a clean and organized environment to start a new project. By the time I am finished with the project, everything is totally unorganized again.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

donnas said...

I have often tried to figure out what can push me to really attack a new project. And really I am one of those that has to have the mood hit just right and them I dive right in. I have to be really excited about it too. If I think of it then have to gather materials it will take me a lot longer to get excited again.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Di said...

I've found it a good idea to get a project straight in my mind, gather any supplies or information I might need, have a meal with protein for energy, have some water & some lite snacks available.

sallans d at yahoo dot com

erin said...

thanks for a lovely post and giveaway! Looks like you had fun! It's on my bucket list to attend RWA at least once :)

Whenever I need to recharge the ol' brain cells, I take my pups for a long walk. I can either spend it mulling over the problem or just let the brain be blank. By the time I get home, I'm usually feeling better.


Barbara E. said...

I usually just sit and try to calm my mind when I'm overwhelmed by a new project, when my mind is spinning and trying to think of where to start. Then I just jump in with both feet and get started and I'm okay.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

*yadkny* said...

I know exactly what Conference Brain feels like since I do suffer from it from time to time with my day job. In the beginning when I didn't know how to handle it I did indeed suffer a period of paralyzing overwhelm, but since then I have found that a nice warm shower/bath to wash away the fuzziness of the brain and of course dirt and a nice mix of 80's/90's soft rock music really does the trick for me. I am relaxed while at the same time re-energized and ready to work:)

Kirsten said...

Drinking a strong Earl Grey tea, focussing on my breathing for a while and maybe add a bit of soft piano music helps me focus on a new task or project. When I learned how to quilt it took a lot of tea and I even started walking in long cirkles round the coffeetable while I focused on breathing in and out... it did help a bit & I got the hang of it a little later.

Eli Yanti said...

i will go hang-out with my friend :)

Lisa Hendrix said...

Lots of thoughtful responses here. Isn't it fascinating how often walking, caffeine of some sort, and music come up? We all have so much in common.

To clarify: Since Totebags & I are both on the West Coast, I'll be randomly picking the winner at noon Pacific time.