azhure: (dreaming tree)

As is my wont from time to time, I have been devouring a blog – specifically, Theodora Goss’ blog.  And as is the universe’s wont, a post just came to my attention that meshes with thoughts I’d been having today – Write Every Day.

I have always been from the school of thought that says that a writer should write every day.  I am a creature of routine and habit.  Well, I have been previously, before this latest incarnation of life as a mother.  Even when I got sick, I still managed to develop a routine, and, most days, that included writing.  I’ve always tended to take weekends off, but weekdays, I had to have written something in order to feel like I hadn’t wasted a day.

And I have to step aside here for a moment.  When I got sick, I was still living at home with my parents (thanks to being a poor student).  I was in the best possible place I could be – I had their full support in everything.  I was able to focus my energy on what I wanted – which was writing.  I was very, very lucky, and I have continued to be very lucky in many ways.  I finished my studies, and am lucky to live in a country where my government supported me while I was too ill to work.  I then married a man who has been an amazing support to me.  Which is a long-winded way of saying that I am very, very aware that I am talking from a position of privilege.

Privilege, however, doesn’t change the facts of my day-to-day life.  Most days I deal with at least some level of pain and fatigue.  Most days also include some cognitive issues, most notably impacting upon my concentration levels.  Right now, most of my pain is being managed – fortnightly massage has done absolute wonders for my fibromyalgia pain, and I currently have the energy to be exercising five days a week.  But the fatigue is still there, as are the cognitive issues.  I operate on a limited number of spoons every day, no matter what.  And some days I start out thinking I have a dozen spoons, but in reality I only have two.

While there was only me to worry about, this wasn’t a huge issue.  Well, I won’t lie – it was.  It forced me to give up my career in science, forced me to live a life in which I was dependent upon someone else.  But I managed to carve out something new, and reached a level of acceptance.

Now, I am a mother.  And I am having to re-carve out the limits of my life.

My son always comes first.  That goes without saying.  But the writing…the writing is always there, always wanting to be born.

For so long, I’ve tried to keep on going with writing every day.  This past week, I’ve been really struggling.  My son has been not sleeping, which means that I’ve been not sleeping.  Which means that all of my health issues have flared up.  Today, I just gave in, and when my son finally went down for a nap, instead of trying to write or read, I just lay down on the couch and watched some television and then napped.

I feel guilty even writing that.  Which is kind of nuts, given that parenting in itself is a full-time job.  And hell, parenting with a chronic illness…I won’t even start, there.  I know there are plenty of people who have it far worse than I do, and have far less support.  But this is the life I walk through, and these are my limits.

Right now, I am very thankful to know others who struggle with similar issues – writers with chronic illnesses, and a couple who deal with chronic illness and parenthood at the same time.  There’s one in particular who I won’t name, since she chooses to keep her health issues out of the spotlight, but S., I hope you read this and know that you are a massive inspiration and help to me.

I guess the lesson here is that no piece of writing advice fits everyone and their life.  And sometimes you need to take that day off.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

The recent weeks have been a complete loss when it comes to writing.  Which is hardly surprising given recent events, and when you also factor in the inevitable physical reaction I have had to said evens (hello, flare).

I’m finding it very frustrating.  I’ve been working on outlining, which is something, but it’s not writing.  In addition to everything else, the baby has decided to have a complete regression when it comes to sleep and feeding.  Which has resulted in something like 4-6 wakings every night, and very, very tired parents.  And unlike some, I can’t work at all when I’m sleep deprived.  Even caffeine doesn’t help much.

I’m trying to start redefining my schedule, at least.  Which means sitting down to the laptop and working on something at my regular time (which is, for me, an hour or two that I get during the day when a family member watches the baby for me).  I’m finding myself wasting this time lately, a habit that I need to break.

I’ve been poking about online looking at some articles on how people balance children and writing (see here and here for two great examples).  While some articles are really helpful, they’re also frustrating for me to read right now, because they all assume that your kid actually sleeps like a human being.  It probably wouldn’t be so bad if the baby had never slept well, but I know that he’s capable of it.  We had a string of nights where he slept for 11-12 hours solid.  I miss those nights.

Anyway.  What it comes down to, really, is me making writing a priority.  I’m limited in the time and energy I have, thanks to the baby and health issues.  And I need to accept that some days will be losses, where I’m just too tired to do anything creative.  But on those days, at least, I can read and study my craft.

I can do this.  Even a hundred words a day builds up to a novel eventually.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

Writermama

Jun. 11th, 2010 12:25 pm
azhure: (me window cross)

So I’ve actually started writing again.

The obstacles to my writing are this: a gorgeous, though energetic, badly-sleeping, high needs six-month-old baby boy, lack of sleep because of said baby boy, and my own inconsistent health.

I’ve always been able to manage to work in some writing time around health issues. Combine that with the sprog, and we have writing disaster.

For most of the last six months, I’ve been so sleep deprived that writing has been the furthest thing from my mind. I’ve blogged a handful of times lamenting that I haven’t been able to write, and I’ve done a few dribs and drabs of work, but nothing substantial. And most of the time, I haven’t really wanted to write. Even now, the idea of writing a whole novel is daunting in a way it never has been before.

But even without that burning desire to put words onto the page, Story has still gnawed away at me. In particular, the story of Never.  It’s gotten to the point where I need to start writing it down.  Without writing, I feel like I’ve lost a part of me, and I’m determined to get it back.

For the next handful of years, my luxury of having many hours in which to write are gone.  The sprog always comes first.  I know that there are going to be days when I can’t write, because he needs me more, or because he’s had a bad night and I’m too sleep-deprived to think straight.

I need to make use of the good days.

The sprog’s sleep has improved dramatically this week with his move into his own room.  Which means that my sleep has improved dramatically, and I no longer feel like a total zombie.  I’m also now making use of family help to watch him for a few hours so I can get some work done.  Previously I’ve used that time to catch up on housework and the like.  Now it’s going to be a priority for me to write.  I can do a lot of housework while wearing the sprog, and he’s getting happier to sit and watch me do things for a while.  Writing, though, bores him to tears, and he spend the whole time trying to get to the keyboard or eat my laptop ;)

So, to a new style of writing.

This means that I’m outlining.  My writing sessions right now consist of me working up my character biographies, making my characters really live and breathe.  I’m spending a lot of time describing my locations, as well as doing research.  An invaluable tool has also been tumblr I can search Flickr with one hand for images which inspire me, and blog them to tumblr to keep a collection of pieces of Never.

It’s happening.  Slowly, but it’s happening.  And as I catch up on sleep more (which is a trend that I hope will continue), I should be able to carve out some writing time in the evenings after the sprog has gone to sleep.

I’m also going to be more disciplined with reading.  I used to read 50 pages of whatever I’m reading for review a day, with any other spare time given over to reading for pleasure.  Not sure if I can manage the 50 pages a day now, but I want to try to read something of my review work every day, at least.

Discipline.  It’s what’s for breakfast.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

Writermama

Jun. 11th, 2010 12:25 pm
azhure: (Default)

So I’ve actually started writing again.

The obstacles to my writing are this: a gorgeous, though energetic, badly-sleeping, high needs six-month-old baby boy, lack of sleep because of said baby boy, and my own inconsistent health.

I’ve always been able to manage to work in some writing time around health issues. Combine that with the sprog, and we have writing disaster.

For most of the last six months, I’ve been so sleep deprived that writing has been the furthest thing from my mind. I’ve blogged a handful of times lamenting that I haven’t been able to write, and I’ve done a few dribs and drabs of work, but nothing substantial. And most of the time, I haven’t really wanted to write. Even now, the idea of writing a whole novel is daunting in a way it never has been before.

But even without that burning desire to put words onto the page, Story has still gnawed away at me. In particular, the story of Never.  It’s gotten to the point where I need to start writing it down.  Without writing, I feel like I’ve lost a part of me, and I’m determined to get it back.

For the next handful of years, my luxury of having many hours in which to write are gone.  The sprog always comes first.  I know that there are going to be days when I can’t write, because he needs me more, or because he’s had a bad night and I’m too sleep-deprived to think straight.

I need to make use of the good days.

The sprog’s sleep has improved dramatically this week with his move into his own room.  Which means that my sleep has improved dramatically, and I no longer feel like a total zombie.  I’m also now making use of family help to watch him for a few hours so I can get some work done.  Previously I’ve used that time to catch up on housework and the like.  Now it’s going to be a priority for me to write.  I can do a lot of housework while wearing the sprog, and he’s getting happier to sit and watch me do things for a while.  Writing, though, bores him to tears, and he spend the whole time trying to get to the keyboard or eat my laptop ;)

So, to a new style of writing.

This means that I’m outlining.  My writing sessions right now consist of me working up my character biographies, making my characters really live and breathe.  I’m spending a lot of time describing my locations, as well as doing research.  An invaluable tool has also been tumblr I can search Flickr with one hand for images which inspire me, and blog them to tumblr to keep a collection of pieces of Never.

It’s happening.  Slowly, but it’s happening.  And as I catch up on sleep more (which is a trend that I hope will continue), I should be able to carve out some writing time in the evenings after the sprog has gone to sleep.

I’m also going to be more disciplined with reading.  I used to read 50 pages of whatever I’m reading for review a day, with any other spare time given over to reading for pleasure.  Not sure if I can manage the 50 pages a day now, but I want to try to read something of my review work every day, at least.

Discipline.  It’s what’s for breakfast.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (Default)

Such is my schedule (or complete lack of one, thanks to the three month growth spurt – and lemme tell you, anyone who tells you that this growth spurt can be hard is telling the truth) that I’m not writing at all.

This is, perhaps, not completely true. I’m thinking about writing a lot – both about Never and The White Raven. And every time I make up my mind to work on one of them, I get an idea for the other one. In an ideal world, I’d try to work on them both, but that’s not going to happen. Well, it could, but it could be difficult. But hey, nothing worthwhile was ever easy, right?

I was pretty much ready to trunk The White Raven, but then that story started eating my brain again. I’m debating whether or not to add a prologue right now, giving a full description of Alanna’s car crash (apologies for this being meaningless for those who haven’t read the MS). Beta readers, do you think this is a good idea?

Reading has gone completely by the wayside, mostly because I’m either too tired or too busy with the sprog most of the time. I’ve traditionally always read for a while before bed, but I haven’t even been doing that, since I haven’t wanted to wake the sprog with the light.

Sooner or later I’ll find myself back in the word mines. For now, at least I can live in them mentally. And one day I’ll be awake enough after the sprog goes to bed to actually write.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

Beginnings

Feb. 19th, 2010 08:18 pm
azhure: (Default)

The universe has been nudging me, in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways, to get back to writing.

And so, instead of continuously posting here that I want to write and should be writing, I damn well will start doing some when I can.

I have several projects that I could work on, but the two that are clamouring for attention are the next draft of The White Raven and the first draft of Never .

Right now, I’m leaning towards starting work on Never, if only to start properly outlining and getting all of my character bios and the like written.  I can do these in dribs and drabs, which suits the lack-of-predictable schedule I have in my life right now.

Another thing that I came across today:  Mur Lafferty, of I Should Be Writing is co-ordinating a group workthrough of The Artist’s Way (here at facebook).  The Artist’s Way is a book that I’ve always meant to pick up and work through, but have never gotten around to.  I can take the hint, universe.  I ordered a copy and will start to work through it as much as I can.

I’ll try to keep blogging about how I’m incorporating work back into my life, because there must be someone out there interested in it.

Let the new cycle of work begin.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

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