Like most people, I started out January with a lengthy list of goals. The list included, at the very top, finish editing my novel, read two novels a month at minimum, participate each month in a book-in-a-week challenge, and write in my journal every day. There was a lot of writing and reading involved. Unfortunately sometimes life has other plans.
After a visit to the ophthalmologist because my left eye was bugging me, I found myself in emergency eye surgery, and just like that those resolutions were not as attainable. My recovery is going better than to be expected, which is a blessing, but my writing and reading is down to minutes. Bits and pieces here and there, stolen from my day rather than my day being made up of them. Of course, as every good writer does, when approached about this month’s blog post, I decided to explore the very conundrum I was facing. Here is what I found.
Do Not Get Discouraged
This probably sounds like a no-brainer, it really ought to be, but it is very hard to not get discouraged when you are lying on the couch again, barely able to make out the television, and thinking of all the things you should be doing but are not doing. Sometimes not getting discouraged is tricking yourself into believing that this life event (whatever that might be) is part of the divine plan of God, or the Universe, or what have you. Life is forcing you to take a vacation. Sure, not everyone’s idea of a vacation is sitting on the couch barely making out the latest episode of Dr. Who, but take the vacation for what it is, and work with with it.
Maybe all I needed was a break from my novel. I was getting a bit frustrated with certain characters who were being ornery. As a result of my life event, I have now given those characters a break, returning to my novel to find that they are not quite as derelict as I thought. As such, they will not be experiencing the gruesome death I had been envisioning before my vision went bye-bye.
I do not slow down very well. Staying at home to raise my son has allowed me more flexibility in my schedule. I have used this flexibility to fill up my schedule with a great many different things. I am busy, and I like to be busy. That is difficult when your left eye is out of order. The last several weeks I had to slow down considerably. Obviously, I had to slow down on the number of things that I do, but it takes me forever to do things now as well. I can usually write a 800 word blog in an hour or so. It has taken me three days to write 500 words.
The upside of slowing down is it has taught me to savor my words. Writers often have to walk a fine balance between producing and creating. I have found quality and quantity are at constant war with each other; however, because life has made me slow down, I cannot help but fall behind on my quantity, and as such I have chosen to focus on the quality aspect. I love words, writers love words, and I do not often get to admire them.
Do Not Stop Writing
This life event of mine has reminded me of a very important fact about myself: do not stop writing. Things happen all the time, both big and small, but in order to keep going, you just have to keep going.
The first couple of days after my surgery I did not have much motivation. I was not exactly feeling sorry for myself, but it was a close thing. Maybe this is not the case for every writer, but I write because I have a compulsion. It took me a long time to understand that my black moods and depression were directly linked to not writing. When I did not create, I was a horrible person to be around. Enter, the compulsory act of writing.
I have talked with many other writers about this compulsion thing, and it is real, and it is nasty, and if you do not feed the beast, the beast will feed on you. A bit dramatic, I know, but there it is. So when faced with a situation that forces writing down the priority list, do not stop. This is very important. Do not stop writing. After three days of wallowing in this bit of hazy daze of post-surgery blah, my brain kicked in, pulled me out of my mire, and reminded me that I needed to write something. I opened my journal and I wrote one sentence. Just one. About an hour later, I wrote another sentence. No matter what life does and does not do, there is always time to write.