So I have a few primary chronic illnesses and a few miscellaneous ones that currently make me unable to work.
- Chronic migraines, that are pretty much daily with a break here and there
- An unknown vestibular disorder that I have had for over a year now and still getting answers
- Major Depressive Disorder that is being treated well
I love to write though. I wrote when I was in suicidal levels of pain. And I write now with all this vertigo symptom business. I write no matter my state because it is the one thing I have that is Mine.
So for me, a lot of the day the vertigo symptoms are too much to handle let alone write and that is with meds.
So I have to write at peak times.
- In the morning… after I take my meds and they kick in
- In the evening… after I take my meds and they kick in
- Right before bed… but this is difficult because symptoms are at their worst. It is just prime writing time. Usually, instead, I just stare at social media. It is weird because scrolling through Facebook for example and you stop on something… I still see the scrolling motion. That is perceived motion that is not there because I cannot track motion well. I take my sleeping pill an hour before bed and it can sometimes suppress symptoms a little and that is a wee window for writing.
It is difficult to be sure to do anything at all when you are in a lot of pain and dizzy constantly. And when you do… there are some things you will notice
- Typos- because of brain fog and concentration issues you will have strange typos. Just like when I talk and I use the wrong word or forget what I am saying or can’t get the right word out. As so with writing where I will write a word, that looks similar or sounds similar, to the one I want but means nothing near the same thing. And you have to weed these all out. I recently changed a characters name mid-novel and then continued with it without realizing it until I edited that I had done so.
- Grammar issues- mostly this is due to the poor concentration but it seems I make the same odd grammatical errors over and over even though I know they are wrong. And then you have to try and weed them out with the exact same concentration issues
- Editing will take me a significantly longer time than it should as a result and I will never fix them all because I can’t See them all. My brain is constantly compromised
- I have no money being off work and fighting with my insurance company. I cannot afford an editor. I cannot afford professional covers. So I have learned a bit of cover design and it has improved vastly from what I did in the past. But an editor? That is something necessary I just cannot have.
It is like writing with the worst flu you have ever had but that is the new normal you have to deal with. Constant pain and symptoms that interfere with the process. And a lot of the time writing is broken up in segments so you can rest.
Pain, you see, runs on no schedule. So you can’t write or do anything on a schedule. Makes for an unreliable employee that misses too much work and when you are there you are not really There. And the errors you make at work are a lot most stressful than the typos you make writing.
With writing, you don’t need a schedule. And you can fix your errors in your own time. At work, I would make the weirdest errors. Some I caught. Some I did not. They would ask me about them but I would not remember even in the slightest the transaction that was. Pain affects your short-term memory, working memory, and concentration. More pain… less functionality. And the pain was always so much worse, being aggravated by everything. I felt useless and stupid. I am an intelligent person but when you cannot think you cannot function. Then the vestibular issues happened and then I couldn’t even pretend to function. With writing, you control your environment. You control when you do it. Mistakes are not an embarrassment they are just something you have to fix whenever you get to that point.
But when you cannot work you need something to make you feel Productive and help with your self-worth. Things that are your own. And having a hobby is very useful for coping. I can’t knit. Or paint. Or anything like that. But I can write. And I have been a writer for years. In my ups and downs. Like something I can hold onto no matter what.
But writing for me is:
- A distraction
- A passion
- A way to feel productive during the day
- Something that helps my self-worth
- I can’t stop writing. I have always done so. And these stories just want to come out.
I actually have a chronic illness blog as well, the Brainlessblogger
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What to do about writer’s block
2 thoughts on “The disabled writer”
Youch! This one was a bit on the nose for me. I can really relate to it. My cognitive problems are my biggest concern and what I focus on during my neurology visits. (Pain & fatigue are close seconds). And I sure know how it feels to go from having a career to being involuntarily “retired” and home bound. It sucks! There really is a basic *need* to feel productive though, isn’t there? You’ve been far more productive than I have with your writing, and I feel like a hobbyist compared to a pro when I read your work. You’re an excellent writer. I wish I knew the secret to getting people to read your work, aside from the good ole fashioned “celebrity patron” doing a plug for you. But I’m glad that you continue writing, because dang, I can’t put your books down once I pick them up! Can’t wait to read more of the Rift World series.
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Thanks Kevin! But, yeah, the cognitive issues are the biggest hurdle to writing or anything. I loathe them.
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