I hit 50k for NaNoWriMo on the 11th November. I didn’t say much at the time because I still have a long way to go before I finish the book and, for me, hitting 50k is not especially remarkable. It wasn’t my fastest year (2013 only took me three days), but also wasn’t my slowest (last year I hit 50k on on Day 26). It felt like an achievement, but in many ways one I only managed by virtue of neglecting other things.
Part of what’s been neglected recently is my improved everyday routines: the fact that I was eating more vegetables and healthy meals, and that I was going to bed at a decent time and not taking too many naps. But it’s hard to argue that slipping back into old habits and sleeping all afternoon is because of NaNo — I’ve had extremely high pain and fatigue levels the last couple of weeks, and the reason I keep sleeping is because it just hurts too much to be awake.
I’ve had a headache for nearly three weeks now. Periodically it reaches the heights where any impact sends a jolt of pain through my skull: when cycling, every tiny bump in the road is almost blinding, and when walking, each step is painful. Sometimes it recedes a bit, so I have better days. But I’ve still spent a lot of time in darkened rooms installing red-light filters on every electronic device I own so that I can bear to look at the screens.
I think the problem is my neck, and I have an osteopath appointment on Wednesday; I’ve been counting down the days, and they’ve seemed interminable.
Since hitting 50k I’ve kept writing, but more slowly. (And with orange pages and the brightness turned down and f.lux turned up high to warm up the light so that it hurts less.)
I’m in that awful stage of writing where I know I should have figured out the plot by now, but I haven’t managed it. I feel aimless, plowing through endless scenes which may or may not be going somewhere. I know this always happens with first drafts; it’s one of the perils of being chronically unable to outline in advance. I felt this way with Bard right up until I wrote the last few chapters, as far as I recall. But it’s still tough-going. It’s why I know I have to finish this book this month instead of leaving it. If I leave it, I’ll never get past this plotless hump and it will remain unfinished forever.
I currently have 64k and maybe something that’s beginning to look like plot, but I’m also deep in the ‘this is worthless’ depths. I’m trying to write a sci-fi novel, but I have very little knowledge of science. I’m constantly aware that I have no idea how long it would actually take to travel these distances, and I don’t intend to try and explain how these spaceships are powered or what the limits on their speed are because if I did, I’d only get it wrong and make it even harder to believe. A lot of sci-fi doesn’t try and make things plausible. But my brain still doesn’t like that I’m just making things up, especially as my own consistency goes out of the window in the process.
On the plus side, my protagonist is one of the very, very few of my characters ever to make good decisions about relationships and power balances and so on, and I’m really proud of them, because usually I write a lot of dysfunctional characters who are incapable of walking away from unhealthy relationships. Jane is making good choices. Choices I wouldn’t or didn’t make in their place. Choices that say, “I see what’s going on in the news right now and I’m not going to perpetuate unhealthy ideas in my writing.” Choices made because this character deserves better.
Last weekend I taught both classes for the Irish dance society bcause Hannah, who usually teaches the second class, couldn’t make it. I’d been planning to work everyone really hard and do a lot of drills and technique, but pain happened instead and I was just too tired not to go easy on them. Also I went to class in a onesie.
I haven’t managed to go to the gym yet this week, though, or do any exercise beyond general walking and cycling around to get to places. I didn’t get out of bed until 1pm today because I just couldn’t make myself move, and I spent most of yesterday afternoon in bed too. I am barely functional with exhaustion and pain levels, which is frustrating, because I have so much ambition with dance and I want to be able to act on it — not to mention that it helps me be less anxious.
I enjoy teaching dance, I do. There are people who come to our classes who started six weeks ago with no dance experience whatsoever and the amount of improvement I’ve witnessed in just that tiny amount of time is amazing — and that was us. We did that. I did that. But it’s still hard to feel passionate about anything when my head and body hurt as much as they have been recently. And I do miss being able to take classes that I didn’t have to teach; I’ve scheduled my Christmas holiday around which classes I can take back home, so that I can try and improve as much as possible during that period.
And I want to practise and I want to choreograph and I want to work out but right now I haven’t been able to muster the energy to get dressed.
I don’t know why the fatigue has come crashing down on my head so suddenly. I know I’m B12 deficient and edging towards becoming anaemic again, though I’m not there yet, but I’m working on those. I’m about 85% sure I’m lactose intolerant and am gradually shifting to a lactose-free diet, so maybe it’s that. Maybe it’s just because my mental health has been so crap for so many weeks now that I’m exhausted. Maybe it’s the time of year, because it’s just so dark and miserable all the time. Maybe it’s just that point in term where I stop being able to function at all, having previously been just about clinging on. I don’t know.
I’m not enjoying it, though. Even just writing this blog post has worn me out to the point where I want to go back to bed.
How am I meant to get anything done like this?