Writing Life #3

Welcome back to Writing Life!

I don’t have a huge amount to report this week, for a variety of reasons. One of them being that I was traveling all of last week, and whenever I travel, the writing always takes a hit. (Except for those times I travel by rail or by bus. For some reason, I am incredibly prolific on a train or bus. But when I fly — as I did last week — I just can’t focus enough to write.)

One of the things I did last week was attend the Gadsden (Ala.) GeekFest 2010, along with Chris Crutcher, Ellen Schreiber, Martin Wilson, Angela Johnson, Ginger Rue, and Chandra Sparks Taylor. I had never been to Alabama before, and I’m here to report that the people were just as kind and solicitous as every Southern stereotype would have you believe. (Yes, there ARE good stereotypes!) I had exchanged some e-mails with Chris in the past, but we’d never met, so it was great to finally shake his hand and hear some of his amazing stories in person.

Also: I ate my first deep-fried Oreo. And then my second.

Furthermore, I actually shot video of Crutcher eating one, video which will end up on YouTube VERY soon!

In my travels last week, I also got to see John Green and David Levithan in San Francisco, which was great. It was fun to see them “performing” for the crowd on their Will Grayson, Will Grayson tour. Afterwards, we all went for drinks, which was a comedy of errors as each bar we went to informed us that they were about to close. We finally found a place that was still open and would remain so for more than five minutes.

One of the tough things about the Writing Life is the isolation. Many authors try to find ways to interact with other people, whether it’s working in a coffee shop or setting up “writing dates” with other writers. But at the end of the day, this isn’t an office job, so a chance to visit with other authors at something like, say, GeekFest is a god-send. Not only do you get the chance to mingle with other authors and pick up their stories, ideas, and knowledge, but you also get to hang out with people who loves books and reading. It’s a fun, relaxing environment in which to chill out and practice your (atrophying) social skills.

Plus, there are fried things.

Now, one casualty of all this bonhomie is, as I indicated above, the writing itself. Last week wasn’t a total loss for me — I did get in a few good days of writing. And the forced time away from the keyboard helped me to brain out a few difficult issues for The Monster and I Hunt Killers. Now that I’m back home, I have no excuses — I’ll need to dive right back into them, make up the lost time, and use my new-found insight to blow through a couple of blocks I’d encountered. It’s a lousy feeling to know that I haven’t been quite as productive as I could have/should have been, but it’s a wonderful feeling to be steadily on-track and ready to plow through the projects!

A quick update on the graphic novel: Colleen e-mailed with a few questions and is moving ahead full-steam. I hope to have some early art to show off in a month or so.

Oh, and one more bit about travel — it was terrific traveling with my iPad! It’s so much lighter than a laptop; my usual groan upon lifting my backpack was noticeably softer on this trip. And the battery life is unreal: I watched three hours of video, played a video game, read a book, and filled out crossword puzzled while flying coast-to-coast (including some time waiting at the airport) and after six or so hours of activity, the battery was still more than half full! That’s just amazing. Traveling with an iPad is a totally different experience than traveling without one.

Sadly, I could not travel laptop-less this time around. Due to the still-baffling oversight of no iPad remote (mentioned in my iPad review here), I had to bring my laptop along, too, so that I could give my presentation at GeekFest. But you know what? Instead of putting it in my backpack, I shoved it in my suitcase and it basically sat there for the entire trip. This trip convinced me (though I’d already been mostly convinced) that I can, indeed, travel with just my iPad…as long as I don’t have to project a presentation.

On another note: This week, Archvillain was nominated for YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults. Very cool! The book hasn’t come out yet (it will be out in October), but it’s nice to see some early love for it. Like I said last week, this series is turning out to be so much fun for me to write. I was a little worried going into it that I would have trouble reining in my more, uh, adult impulses (like sex and swearing) when writing for a younger audience, but that hasn’t been a problem at all. I don’t usually talk like this, but I hope lots of people buy this book — not for the money, but just so that I can keep writing it for a long, long time!

OK, that’s enough for me for now! It’s your turn — the comment box feels lonely when you don’t type in it!

See you next week!