I returned from Bouchercon, the world mystery convention, on Sunday night, and I’m still recovering. I can do extroversion. In fact, I am quite sociable when I want to be. And when I’m excited, I go all out. I went all out from Wednesday to Sunday. I met so many fellow mystery writers and made great new friends that included book bloggers and booksellers and reader fans. I was so “on” that even while I slept, I don’t think I slept. If that makes sense.
However, because I’m actually an introvert, I’m now in heavy-duty recovery mode. What are my secrets to extroversion recovery?
1. Take a break from social media, or if you must do it, keep it simple. In fact, writing a list is an easy and untaxing way to write a blog post. On Facebook and Twitter go into lurker mode. Like things, retweet here and there…Don’t worry about interacting. The point is to minimize interaction during recovery mode. Best yet, ignore it all.
2. As soon as you can, spend one day in a horizontal position reading and sleeping. Don’t worry about your obligations — one day isn’t going to kill you. If, like me, you have a bag full of books lying around, so much the better. If not, plan ahead: get thyself one or two great books to snuggle in with. Plus snacks. And don’t worry about crumbs in the bed either.
3. Write down your immediate obligations, especially if they’re stressing you out, because, hey, we all return from our travels feeling behind. Write them down so you know you won’t somehow forget them, then set the list aside with a little blessing, and take your day(s) off from life.
4. Avoid the phone whenever possible. If it’s not a mandatory conversation, catch up later. This also includes email conversations. Send off only the required messages, such as, “I’m back, and it was great. I’ll tell you all about it next week.” Or, “Yes, I got your bill. I’ll send out the check next week.”
5. If you have a day-job, which most of us novelists do (alas), close your office door. I’m lucky enough to have an office door, but if you don’t, you might consider getting out your earbuds and drowning out the outside world with music. If you’ve got a job that requires you to be social and “on,” then…wow, that’s a tough one. Maybe you’re really an extrovert?
6. Catch up on all the television shows that seemed too silly during the season. In my current quiet state, “Mistresses” and “Devious Maids” are sure hitting the spot.
Compared to my experience three years ago in San Francisco, this Bouchercon also hit the spot. Perhaps because this time around I had something to say for myself: “My debut novel is coming out next year.” That’s a great conversation starter.
Three favorite pieces of advice:
- Reed Farrell Coleman, a teddy bear of a guy: “Enjoy this time. You only have one debut novel.”
- Catriona McPherson, freaking hilarious, in response to a question I’d asked at a panel. I loved the way she took me aside after the panel to give me the straight scoop. “Write your utter shit novel anyhow. What’s the worst that can happen? Your publisher won’t accept it, and then you’ll be free to do what you want with it.”
- Cara Black, kicking my ass in the nicest way: “You gotta start now. Now, Lisa, now!” (i.e. organizing readings and reviews, etcetera — sigh. OK, but next week.)
Favorite moment: In the hospitality area, I sat down at a table with a reader fan. When she found out about my novel — that I’m a member of the tribe called “authors” — she about flipped out. She was so excited, and she asked me to sign the book postcard I gave her. It was just a sweet moment, and it had me wondering what it’s like for the big-time authors.
Oh, oh! Almost forgot this: Check me out here after the Allan Topol interview, about 46 minutes in. Stephen Campbell, host of “Murders, Mysteries and Mayhem” on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network, chatted with me about my Bouchercon experience. My first truly public foray into author-dom! I was so proud of myself. This introvert did good.
I need another nap now.