Thursday, April 3, 2014

Can't Write? Don't Give Up

Many experts tell us: Write Every Day, Write Every Day. If you want to be successful as an Author, You must Write Every Day.

But what if you can't? What if evil circumstances in your life are firmly cock writer-blocking you from getting up-close-and-personal with your muse?

Yeah, yeah, I know Lauren Hillenbrand labored on while disabled by chronic fatigue syndrome, other writers scratched out a sentence or a paragraph of their novels every single day. If what was going on with me was me, was my own physical ailments or broken heart or whatever, I could deal, but it's not me, it's my family.

My sis and her hubs, at their favorite place, not so very long ago.

The Crises

For those of you not following this blog (or actually having your own life), the Cliffnotes:

  • My sister has a serious form of cancer, with a not-so-great survival rate (28%).
  • Days after going through extensive surgery for said cancer (early December), her husband had a major stroke.
  • Following said stroke, his liver, which was already impaired, began failing. Taking his kidneys with it.
  • We've had the "This Looks Like The End" convo with doctors regarding him at least twice a month for the last five months, and grieved accordingly. Then he's rallied or stabilized... until the next time.
  • Months in the hospital (for him), followed by weeks at (temporary) home, which requires 24/7 attendance for him, and he gets two hospice visits a week (plus call, and the hospice people have been great). We are currently in another phase of "This Really Looks Like The End," as he doesn't want to leave his bed or eat. (But we've been here before, too. Do we grieve? Do we not grieve? If anybody's got tips on how to manage that trick, I'd love to hear 'em.)
  • Chemotherapy from hell continues for my poor sister, requiring shots, blood transfusions, and endless prune juice cocktails, though hopefully, she is almost on the other side of chemo... provided there is no recurrence.
Cover of "The End (A Series of Unfortunat...
Cover via Amazon

Other family members have experienced minor inconveniences like major car accidents, out-of-nowhere onset of bi-polar mania with psychosis, and other challenges. No, we're not the Baudelaire family from Lemony Snicket, and as far as I know, nobody's pissed off a gypsy.

What I Did On Winter Vacation... and Spring Break

I feel very blessed in my family, who are loving and supportive and awesome, despite our current trials & tribulations. I also feel exhausted, physically and emotionally, and I'm not the one burdened with the heavy lifting. My role has been assisting several nights a week while my BIL was in the hospital, helping to cover on the weekends, and schlepping family to-and-from the airport. Plus my 40+ hours full time job, which has been in its busiest season.

This has not left much time or energy for writing. For an analogy of what's been going on in my brain and heart, I feel like my foot is encased in a large cement block.

And that somebody shot me in the other leg.

Weighted down, dull and draggy, alternating with stabs of acute pain.

I Soldier On, But...

I simply don't have the attention or focus to work on my novels right now.

I think of those works, wistfully. Sometimes I have dreams about them. I know that some people can write novels when all on the same day, their house is on fire and their husband just came out as gay and a dingo stole their baby, and kudos to those who can swing it, but I'm not one of that tribe.

I've tried. It just ain't there.

Evernote and My Steno Pad Are My Besties

Evernote (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'm still (occasionally) writing a short piece, or my Slut of the Month posts. Book reviews. And whenever, wherever I get an idea, I jot it down. Sometimes it's for one of my novels, sometimes it's for a new project, sometimes it's for a blog post. When I have free lunch minutes, I'll transfer my notes from paper to Evernote. (Or make 'em directly into Evernote if I've got WiFi.)

Because I haven't given up on writing, it's just postponed. Even though the drama of the past seven months makes me feel like I have been living in crisis mode forever, I know that this, too, will end.

Love Will Keep Me Together

Self-love, that is, and I'm not talking about my vibrator collection. My family (and I) are depending on me to take care of myself, and not get into a car accident or otherwise break down. So I am eating healthy (plus some chocolate), and sleeping when I can (love my naps!), and when I do have an hour or so free, I am trying to spend it on this beautiful thing:

Because it would be too easy to just become a chocolate-eating lump and not do any cardio work.

And I'm doing meditations. My ever-expanding Tara Brach collection has really helped me through this rough time, especially this audio program.

All those people who say that if you don't write every day, you are doomed (as a writer), I say phooey on them. I believe (maybe because I have to) that you can pick up where you left off, at least in terms of writing novels. Probably not without lots of effort, true. It does take more time to get in the groove once you've been away for a while.

But it can be done, it has been done by others, and as soon as life gives me the opportunity, I plan on doing it. I'm not giving up on me, and whatever your current writing roadblock, I encourage you not to give up on you, either.

Have you ever taken an involuntary writing break?
How did you get yourself back in the groove?
Your thoughts?
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