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Monthly Archives: April 2015

A postponement

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I can’t really explain fully at the moment, but I’m going through a very difficult spell right now.

I think, as writers, we have to know our limits, to know how many days of the week we can afford to write for and what sort of word count is sustainable. Also, though, we have to know when we can and can’t work.

If I was working in retail now, of course I would still be unhappy. That would reflect in my interactions with customers, and people might think I was unhelpful or unfriendly. However, as a writer, emotion is a fuel, and we need a good mixture in order to burn brightly.

Last week, even though I could write, I found that my writing kept bringing me to tears. And that is just not something I want, or think is good for me.

So I’m postponing my deadlines as of yesterday. I’m not going to punish myself for not forcing myself to write at a time that was simply not healthy. This way, I can get better, and my writing will get better too.

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78 days to deadline, 68,392 words to go

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I’ve decided to blog about my writing in this format, counting down. It’s just going to get increasingly exciting as the numbers get smaller.

The last few days have been really hard for me, and my word count has been low. J is away, basically just watching his grandmother die, and that’s been tough. We always want to protect the people we care most about, and when we can’t do that, we feel a bit useless. Forget useless, I think “terrible” is closer to the mark.

Luckily, it’s been a very long time since I had to endure a death in my own family. It’s weird how, as writers, we see death, quite often, as just another plot device. In real life, it’s a lot more complicated than that. Even a single death has wide-ranging repercussions, even extending so far as to touch those who never met the deceased. Even though it’s inevitable, it comes out of nowhere, derailing everything.

I feel terrible guilt for just feeling upset about this situation. How dare I? J is suffering. Meanwhile, J cannot speak, because he feels far too much to communicate. He is focusing on supporting his mother and his aunt, who are losing their mother. He, too, is trying to put his feelings aside for another.

I also feel terrible guilt, because above all things, I want this woman who never met me (because she has dementia and it would have confused her), I want this woman to die. I want this woman to die, quietly, surrounded by her family. I want her to have that last singular lucid moment where she tells them something wonderful, then is at peace. I want her family to have closure.

My writer’s mind wants cadence for this story. I can only hope that nature obliges.

Deadlines

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Based on the original plan of 857 words written a day, and a target of 80,000 words for my novel, I have the following targets.

16,000 words – 1st May – Reward: large gin and tonic.

24,000 words – 11th May – Reward: tapas.

32,000 words – 20th May – Reward: another, even larger gin and tonic.

40,000 words – 29th May – Reward: art materials.

48,000 words – 8th June – Reward: amusing t-shirt.

56,000 words – 17th June – Reward: Civilisation: Beyond Earth.

64,000 words – 26th June – Reward: day trip

72,000 words – 5th July – Reward: Picnic and Pimm’s, with extra gin.

80,000 words – 15th July – Reward: Victory is it’s own reward. But probably also gin and a book.

I’ve Not Been Well

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I hit my head. I laughed it off at first, but three months later and the hilarity kind of wore off. Teacher training had worn me down so much that I simply didn’t have it in me to recover. But I am getting there.

I’m going to get back into a routine, and write every day. I’ve started a new blog about miniatures (dell40k.wordpress.com) if the serious nature of this one is a bit too much for me to handle. I’ve started using Habit RPG again, which is a website that allows you to keep track of targets and rewards you in the manner of a video game.

I’m also going to restart work on my novel. I fell into a bad rut over the summer, but I need to look upon my little bit of misfortune as an opportunity.

Tomorrow, I’m going to go over my manuscript so far, as well as my notes. I’m going to make my targets public.

At the moment, I have no plans to start writing poetry again. It was always nice, because finishing a poem is incredibly rewarding in the same way that hacking miserably away at a novel just isn’t. But I’m not phenomenal at it.

I also have to worry about finding a job. This will be hard, as I’ve unfortunately got used to being seen as my correct gender, and being unceremoniously stuffed back into the closet sounds as much fun as drowning. I intend to start, at the very least, volunteering in youth work.

So, those are my plans. This post is pretty much my declaration of intent, rather than any attempt to genuinely elucidate an audience, but if you read this, thank you. I’m very frightened about the next few months and I’d be very grateful if you could just hit “like” so that I know I’m not alone.

Best Laid Plans and Car Doors

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On the 5th January, I made a minor miscalculation whilst getting into the car, and smacked my head. What followed was a night in A&E and three months of panic attacks, dizziness and vomiting. My memory was so poor, I lost all concept of how much time had passed. Left on my own for more than a few hours I would become incredibly lonely and frightened.

Post-it notes littered the walls of my flat. One above the kettle to remind me to put water in before I boiled it. One by my bed so that when I woke up in the morning I would remember why I was in pain. By the front door: “Phone, wallet, keys.”

I went out wearing odd shoes. I regularly forgot the code for my building. I went out for lunch and had to call a friend to take me home because I couldn’t walk.

Now, I’m all but better. I’m not anxious, I’m not confused, I just get a little dizzy from time to time. Brilliant.

What a shame my life isn’t where I left it.

Three months ago I was ready to resume teacher training. Now I’ve missed an entire term. Nobody from the university is responding to my emails. I’ve missed the deadline for filing my taxes. I have no job, no sick note, no clue.

Three months ago, I was overworked, overtired and under-appreciated, which is why a double concussion turned into a mess. But at least I had a plan.

Now what?