A Waiting Game

A Waiting Game

Last week, I finished writing Bard. Although I’m aware that it has flaws (many, many flaws) I’m pretty proud of it in its first draft state, and my handful of Wattpad readers have, for the most part, given positive feedback about the ending. If I were to write it again, there are obviously things I would do differently, and maybe one day I will edit it… but it is not this day.

However, I’m always very, very happy to hear your thoughts and comments, so if you want to leave any on Wattpad or message me through some other medium to let me know what you think, I’d of course be delighted!

Since then, I’ve been thinking about my next project, which is a redraft of Butterfly of Night. This book’s the first in a trilogy that I refer to as the Moth Trilogy (well, originally I called it assassin!trilogy, so this is an improvement), and although I’ve written a second draft of book two, book one has been evading me for a while. I couldn’t figure out a balance between my character trying to live a normal, boring life, and an interesting opening for a novel. It’s a tricky one…

I wrote about ten chapters of it last time I attempted to edit, so this time I sent those chapters to Charley for her thoughts and she liked them, which suggested I’d eventually found the balance. (It’s hard to tell: I’ve now written those chapters so many times that they bore me to tears, and I can’t tell if they’re actually any good at all.) The plan was then to carry on from there, but over the weekend I figured out a few subtle plot details that will necessitate rewriting them.

The problem is that my body hasn’t been cooperating recently. I get very frustrated at times. I know the world wants me to bear my misfortunes with good grace, and to overcome adversity and be all the more impressive for it… but I’m not Polyanna or Katy from What Katy Did and I find it very hard to see the best in a crappy situation. It would be easier to overcome my issues if I wasn’t perpetually in pain as a result of them, I guess; I could strengthen my hands much more easily if it didn’t hurt so much.

But, the pain has been bad. I think of it like some weird goblin creature I’ve been babysitting. “Oh, no, I couldn’t go to that gluten-free festival this weekend because I had The Pain.” It’s annoying because it gets in the way of doing things like work and making a living and boring stuff like that, but it also gets in the way of things I want to do, like writing.

Sidenote: I’m always somewhat offended and upset when somebody expresses disbelief that my chronic pain affects things I want to do as much as things like work. It strongly suggests they never believed me in the first place, and just thought I was making excuses. Like, wow, it also stops me doing a fun thing? It’s almost like it’s a medical condition that I can’t control!

I get fed up of having ideas and plot points and whatever, and not being able to follow up on them. I get fed up of sitting in bed with a pack of co-codamol and a book because I don’t have the strength to do anything else. I get fed up of waiting to get better so that I can get on with my life, because I’m twenty years old and my body is failing me.

I feel guilty for a lot of these feelings, mostly because there are people who have it infinitely worse, and for every bad few days, I usually get a few good ones as well (it’s just that they don’t alternate, so the bad periods can last for a month before a good month happens, and it’s hard when I don’t know when the good days are coming). But I can’t stop myself from feeling them. I’m not asking to be an Olympic athlete: all I want to be able to do is type without pain and maybe dance occasionally. Is that too much to ask of my body?

Apparently, yes.

But I’m working on making things better. I bought a new ergonomic keyboard which arrived today, and now that I have it I can write this blog post. I’m behind on book reviews and I haven’t been blogging just because it’s been painful; maybe with this keyboard, which is a considerable upgrade from my old one, I’ll be able to. Before, I had the cheapest one on the market, pretty much — we never thought I’d be using an ergonomic keyboard long term. Now I have a better one, and an ergonomic mouse too. Maybe that’ll help.

And maybe the new desk I ordered (at 1am, because I may or may not be in some kind of manic period where everything has to be done RIGHT NOW) will help, when it arrives later this week.

I don’t know. I’m frantically trying to take control over my life, which is probably why in a fit of frustration earlier I cut all my hair off. I mean, I’d been meaning to go back to short hair, but I was planning to wait for the hairdresser, and eventually I decided I couldn’t wait any longer and it had to happen that second. So now I have short hair. Yay, coping mechanisms.

It’s hard not to be miserable and grouchy because I can’t do the things I want to be doing. I want to be able to say, “Hey, I started editing this novel and it’s going great!” or even just, “I started editing this novel and it’s really hard.” Instead I have to say, “I can’t edit this novel right now because The Pain is here this week and it’s using all my time and energy.”

I think the feeling of waiting for your life to begin for real is not uncommon in 20-year-olds, but it’s getting overwhelming at the moment. How much longer do I have to wait? How much more of this do I have to get through before I get the good days where I can actually write?

2 thoughts on “A Waiting Game

  1. Many of the studies I read at University support the thesis that human psychology is grounded in relative not absolute states: so, while you might perceive some people as objectively having a worse life than you, the effect of a situation on you isn’t influenced by that. For example, children in the C14th had horrible lives compared to ours, but weren’t all chronically depressed because their lives had a reasonable consistency.

    So, if your pain imposes limits that weren’t there before it started, that can be an entirely ethical reasons to not do things; and will remain so whether or not someone with a different default life would experience the same limitation.

    On a more practical level, I have more ideas than I can write too; I think every writer I know does. I tried, for a while, capturing them all, but just ended up with notebooks full of things I never referred to again. So I made the decision to finish what I started and trust that my unconscious would pop things up again. I still have more than enough ideas to never run out of projects to write, but I no longer frantically dive for paper every time I have one. If I doesn’t work for you, you can always go back to noting things down/carrying a dictaphone/using eldritch force to summon a demonic secretary.

    1. Thanks. Yeah, there are definitely limits I didn’t have until three years ago. Before, my only writing limit was time and ideas. Now I constantly have to stop when I don’t want to, because of pain. It’s a bit rubbish tbh.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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