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Uploaded:2017-06-13
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In which John discusses his medium-term residency in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Other topics include the creative process and how to write a book (or possibly not write a book). CLICK SHOW MORE FOR LINKS!

The video I made for google's Be Internet Awesome campaign about my early days online and Internet kindness: https://www.facebook.com/JohnGreenfans/videos/10154895832549751/

Hope to see you at the VIDCON NERDFIGHTER MEETUP: http://vidcon.com/


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You know what, I'm not even gonna comment on that.  So as listeners to Dear Hank and John will already know, I am a huge fan of the movie Rushmore, and within that movie, there is a play set during the Vietnam War in which a character is asked, how long you been in country, and the soldier replies, I ain't even here, sergeant, I'm in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  

Anyway, Cheyenne, Wyoming has since become my personal shorthand for the place I visit when I am deeply immersed in a project.  Like, when we first started making Vlogbrothers back in 2007, I spent several months in Cheyenne, Wyoming because I wasn't really wherever I physically was, I was always thinking about what my next video was gonna be about or how to grow our audience or about how cool YouTube was.  But mostly I visit Cheyenne, Wyoming when I'm writing.  

Now, in a lot of ways, being in Cheyenne is super fun, like, one of my primary complaints about human life is that we spend the entire enterprise stuck inside of one particular slowly decaying body, and living inside a made up world has always allowed me to feel kind of free from that, like, free from the twin prisons of my consciousness and my body, but also, for much of my life, Cheyenne has been kind of an escape, like, all those years when I didn't have many real friends and I felt intensely lonely, I could always go to Cheyenne, where people would like me because, you know, I'd made them up.

That said, when I'm in Cheyenne, I'm also kind of, you know, like, not here, which means that sometimes I'll be at dinner with my kids and not answer when I'm asked a question.  I neglect daily responsibilities, I forget to get haircuts.  I've been in Cheyenne, Wyoming for quite a while now, and I expect to be here a while longer, and it can be really frustrating because I actually like my real life and I like making videos every Tuesday and I'm not all the way here and I worry I should be, because the other thing about going to Cheyenne is that you aren't necessarily going to come home with anything.  Like, I spent about a year in Cheyenne finishing The Fault in Our Stars but I also spent several months there a few years ago only to realize that the book I'd worked so hard on wasn't very good and wasn't gonna be published.  

For me at least, I can't know until after I immerse myself in the work, which is frustrating and scary, but--you know what, actually, no but.  It's just frustrating and scary at the moment.

Hank, in your video last week, you talked about how to be productive, and I thought you gave very helpful and astute advice, but I think creative productivity is somewhat different, because for one thing, you have to spend time in ways that markets and our culture don't really recognize as productive, like, reading or pacing or staring out the window, and then, once you get deep enough into the work, you have to make space in your life and ask the people around you to make space in their lives for you to go to Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

Now, that doesn't mean working all day, every day.  I wrote my first two books at night after work and wrote them quicker than I have any book since, but it does mean that a certain percentage of your intellectual and emotional self will be absent for a while.  Then, you make what you can of your time in Cheyenne, and then maybe most importantly, you come home to your body, to the sensate world, to the real people you really love.  Unless you live in the actual Cheyenne, Wyoming, in which case the whole metaphor sort of falls apart.  

Anyway, Hank, that's as close as I can get at the moment to advice on how to make stuff, and I also wanna say I'm sorry if I haven't been around enough lately.  I will come home at some point.  In the meantime, I miss you.  Hank, I'll see you on Friday.

Endscreen.  Hi, two things.  First, over on my Facebook page, I made a video sponsored by Google about being internet kind in which I talk about my early life online way back in the 1990s.  There's a link in the doobly-doo below, and secondly, if you're gonna be at VidCon in Anaheim in a couple weeks, there is a Nerdfighter gathering Thursday morning at 9:30 where Hank and I are gonna get to announce some exciting new Complexly projects.  Very excited for it, hope to see you there, thanks, bye!