Jet lag is a small price to pay for a creative jolt

I was running on fumes all last week. When I went to bed on Monday, around half past eleven, I stared at the ceiling and thought, I’ve been awake for almost twenty-four hours straight. Now why can’t I fall asleep? The jet lag finally wore off sometime around Thursday. Unfortunately, its place was quickly taken by anxiety over something I won’t bore you with here. Besides, it had nothing to do with writing, so why would you care? Well, apart from the fact that exhausted and anxious = not too much writing getting done. And I’m not all that enjoyable to be around when that’s the case.

But like I said, that’s not the subject of this. (“Oh great, Jeff’s whingeing again about being tired and stressed out. Must be a day that ends in -y.”) The reason I was jetlagged is that last Monday night I got back from the Bold Strokes Books Writing Retreat and the BSB UK Book Festival in Nottingham, England. I got to spend a week surrounded by fellow queer authors discussing our work, aspects of craft, the writing business, and meeting readers and even signing a couple books. Which is kind of amazing considering the book I was signing came out four years ago.

Photo of a group of writers standing on a street in Nottingham, England and smiling.

(Those are the aforementioned writers I got to hang out with, above.)

Yes, I know. I need to get on the stick and just finish something. More than one person nodded knowingly (lookin’ at you, Stacia and ’Nathan) when I voiced this aloud. I think people might be getting impatient for the next book. Not without reason, though. I’m impatient, too.

But one thing at a time.

You’d think spending an entire week interacting with people would be exhausting for an introvert, and you’d be right. That’s not to say I don’t like hanging around other people. Not at all! In fact, I think people can be pretty awesome. Some of my best friends are people.

(Most of my best friends are dogs and cats, but that’s a story for another time.)

ANYWAY. There’s something uniquely wonderful about spending a week surrounded by people who “get” a) being queer and b) being a writer without my having to explain myself. Granted, no one’s experiences are identical, but there’s a shorthand to those shared experiences that allows us to get past the introductory-level topics and get below the surface.

And they’re also just a darn fun group of people to be around. It was fantastic to reconnect with writers I’ve known for a while and meet a lot of new (to me) faces. And it would be no exaggeration to say that my to-read stack pretty much doubled after talking about their books with them and hearing them give readings.

So while events such as this may leave me running on fumes, energy-wise, they are a megawatt jolt to my creativity. I came away from the event with renewed resolve to finish my current revision… and I also came away from it with an idea for another novel.

And that makes the jet lag more than worth it.