The Fine Art of Self-bribery

Post-conference letdown is most certainly a thing. The change from spending an entire weekend amongst others of one’s kind, where writing, publishing, and promotion are the topics of the day, to quizzing one’s family on the location of garbage bags, and other domestic matters, is a big one. Sometimes, it takes a while. Sometimes, it takes more than that.

There is, of course, the physical reserves that need to be replenished. In other words, sleep. There needs to be some. The change from hotel bed, to home bed, may be an improvement, or it may be not an improvement. Kind of a crapshoot with that one, but at least home has the familiarity of home. On the down side, family members have still not consented to put mints on my pillow. Not that the hotel I stayed at did that either, but sometimes, it’s nice to have the gesture.

There’s unpacking, which usually includes laundry. I may get unicorn points for actually liking the whole laundry process, but that may also be because laundry time = reading time. This may count in the self-bribery category, an I am more than okay with that.

Getting back into the swing of things, after a conference, for me, involves a good deal of self-bribery. It’s very rare to come back from a conference as exactly the same writer one was when one went to said conference, and, along with swag, new friends, and possible free books, a writer generally comes back from a conference with new ideas and things they want to try. Do these things always fit into the category of business as usual? Not by a long shot.

Yesterday, my goal was to write this blog entry after I got home from breakfast with N. I’d attended CT Fiction Fest, and she’d been at an all-day event with our home chapter, Capitol Region Romance Writers. Naturally, this meant that we had to compare notes. Which led to giving ourselves homework. Which meant, for me, that a trip to nearby retailers, for new office supplies. To be fair, pretty much everything is a call for new office supplies for me, so this is not as big a deal as it may be for others. Even so, the pull of playing with new pens and/or paper and/or organizing the papers I already have are enough of an incentive to get me to actually do the same stuff that was haaaaarrrrrd before the conference (or not related to a conference. I always want to go get new pens, etc.)

As a result of this venture, my everyday carry pens and highlighters are all the same brand, Pilot Frixion. As much as I love the Pentel RSVP pens, and will still use them in other capacities, A) I did not have one in green, and B) my green Marvy LePen was mostly in there for sentimental reasons, anyway. It will go into a shadowbox, with related items, later. Now, my EDC pen case is a lean, mean, writing machine. Also, an erasable one, which is extremely useful for a perfectionist, marching herself resolutely back into a draft.

Sitting across from a critique/accountability partner and coming to terms that it is high time to get back to one’s current ms in one’s favorite genre, even when the room seems to get a little smaller, and lungs get a little bit squeezy at the thought of maybe not being able to do the thing one loves, as well as one would like. Especially when the word, “homework,” comes into play.

There’s the thing, though. Homework, especially homework that involves writing in longhand, means that it needs the proper supplies. It’s going to need paper. It’s going to need pens. Highlighters, maybe. A folder or notebook, definitely.  “Shopping” from my own stash, and picking out the supplies that volunteer as tribute, is as fun as purchasing new stuff, so it’s not all about the shopping.

It’s about the focus. It’s about the commitment. It’s about honoring the story and the characters, and wanting to get myself in the very best position to see this through to the end.

So, today, I lay out the pens and highlighters all from the same maker. I checked to see if the laptop cord will reach from the kitchen table, to a power strip on a nearby wall. Spoiler: it does., I will test the Mac Book and desktop later. The thought of happy back and happy eyeballs at the same time, with the added bonus of not having to scramble to my feet, is a powerful draw. So is the chance to practice drawing (pun intended) once I have my writing goals for the day, met.

There is a new scented candle on the table now, pine, to hint of the seasons soon to begin, and a fresh cup of tea, to warm body and soul. My planners (yes, plural) are nearby, so I can have visible evidence of tasks accomplished, and a clear outline of where I need to go, to get to where I want to be. The seasonal Windows theme is new to me, and it’s fun, as well as helping to set the mood. I’m not at the point, yet, where I want a different theme, depending on the project I’m working on at the moment, but that could be a reward, trying stuff out, in that manner, for doing some of the eat the frog stuff that is also on my list.

Making up stories, and polishing the rough stuff, that’s the fun part. Poking around in electronic guts, or hauling a desktop around the common room, eh, not so much, but, if I do those things, it makes doing the fun stuff all that much easier/more efficient. The instructions for the printer are right there, on top of the box. Get that in place, and I can print pages. When I can print pages, I can three-hole-punch them. When I three-hole-punch them, I can put them in a binder. When I put them in a binder, I can see the manuscript grow, as I print out the fruit of each new session. Carrot and stick; it works for me.

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