Charging Forward

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Typical conference purse

I attended the Malice Domestic mystery conference this past weekend. Malice lasted four fabulous days, and if you know anything about math (or me), you understand this four-day event required four bags: one medium-sized purse; one small clutch for the banquet; one large tote for my panel; and one getting-bigger-every-trip zipper bag for chargers.

The perfect bag must be practical, comfortable, attractive, and functional. Since these four requirements never seem to appear together in any single bag, one must buy multiples, for multiple occasions. This is not news.

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Who doesn’t love velvet?

What’s news—to me, anyway—is that I now own enough electronics to require a bag just for chargers. These cords and plugs can’t be let loose in the wild kingdom of my office or suitcase, can they?

(I could stop here and ask why no one has invented a universal charger that would fit all electronic devices, but that is way too rational for a blog post about bags.)

malice handbag 3

Big bag for panel books!

I have been on the hunt for the perfect charger bag. I had one but it was too small, then I bought a larger one but it was too big, and now I have one that seems right. I say “seems” because Malice was its test run. I’m going to the Pennwriters conference in two weeks, so we’ll see if the bag passes the long term commitment test.

A plug and a cord, tucked into a cute bag, takes care of charging a device. Pretty simple, and it if doesn’t work, you buy a new one. When that device is your brain, it’s a little more complicated. You can’t buy a new brain, even when you wear the one in your head down to a nub.

I adore conferences, and Malice is like Mardi Gras: big, loud, colorful, and friendly. I loved every moment, from the Vera showing on Thursday to the New Author Breakfast on Sunday. I did not, however, write one word those four days. I got the sprint threads posted in the mornings, but I was usually packing a bag and taking off for the day after it posted.

charger bag 1

Too small

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Too big

I am writing this on Monday. Regular life has resumed, and my brain must get back to the routine. The wonderful thing about a rigid writing habit is that your brain knows what to do when your body is placed in a particular chair in a particular spot at a particular time of day. Four days of disruption, however, and my brain still wants to think about handbags and panels instead of my work in progress. I could sit in my writing spot and fight to get my mojo going, or I could take one more day of reprieve and recovery to bridge Mardi Gras to work day.

I took the day. I discovered, though, that while I took photos of my bags and unpacked my new books, the little pings and pricks of writing began firing. This premise looks interesting. What an intriguing setting. I’ve never heard of this historical event! Oh, I love this author….

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The right size–and perfect theme!

It doesn’t take much to lure a writer back into the fold, does it? Panels and parties are great fun, but stories are the raison d’etre. When this posts on Tuesday, I’ll be moving forward, getting back to storytelling and my writing habits.

How long does it take you to recover from a conference? Do you have any tricks to get your brain back into work mode? And, how do you store your chargers when you travel?

15 thoughts on “Charging Forward

  1. I love Malice and have been attending for about fifteen years. I didn’t over-pack by much this year – just one extra outfit – and actually wore all the shoes I brought. I made the huge mistake of scheduling a meeting on Monday morning thinking I would be fine by then. I was wrong. The one hour meeting dragged on for three hours and I could hardly keep my eyes open to drive home. Now I know how important it is to leave a day of rest between the conference and my real life.

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  2. It usually takes me a day to recover – at least. Maybe more if it was a bigger trip, like Bouchercon in New Orleans a couple years ago. I suspect St. Petersburg this fall will be the same.
    Fortunately, I only have to take two chargers as Apple has come close to the “one charger fits all” concept with their Lightning ports for iPhones and iPads. One charger handles both (although not at the same time). The only extra charger I have to pack is for my laptop (which got so little use this weekend that I never had to unpack the charger). This means I can generally slip the chargers into a suitcase pocket (if driving) or my carry-on (if flying).

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  3. Yes, what Kim said. I’ve learned to allow myself that day-after for resting and for looking at all the photos and memories being shared on Facebook. I opened my WIP and tinkered, making some fixes I’d brainstormed with my roommate, Mary Sutton, but that was it. Today’s to-do list though…UGH.

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  4. My Android phone and tablet can share the same charger. They grumble, but can still do it. I made a travel bag to take to Europe, fitted out specially for my laptop and Nook. That was the only way I could get just exactly what I wanted.

    After a five-day trip (extra day to visit my daughter’s), and two 500-mile drives, plus the conference, I guess I should not have been surprised to wake up from a nap yesterday to find that three hours had gone by.

    But back to normal today!

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  5. So hard to come down from the glow of a conference . . . I think the day to process and solidify lessons of the experience was a wise investment. I’m such a barbarian, chargers travel in a zip lock bag, and I carry the same book bag to every event. 😉

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  6. I confess, the chargers get tucked in the corner of the suitcase with no special treatment. But now that you’ve planted the seed, I’m eyeing this darling pencil case my SIL made me with fabric printed with pens and pencils and thinking it might be just right!

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  7. On the subject of bags, I had a regret that I did not bring one regular sized purse type bag. I brought my work bag and it felt enormous!!!! I just tuck my chargers in this work bag- nothing special at all but now I know that I need something special!!

    I did take yesterday off and I felt pretty good but so far today it has been a little bit of a struggle to get everything done as I dig out from under a mountain of email and voice mails!

    See you in two weeks!

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