Friday 19 December 2014

Spoonie Writer: When Your Meds Interfere

Spoonie Writer: When Your Meds Interfere

Have you ever tried to write when you've got a large dose of painkillers in you? Or when you've just taken a sleeping tablet? Or maybe when you're in the midst of taking a nebuliser? If you have, then you know what I'm talking about, and if not, then let me explain. When you have chronic illnesses, you usually have to rely on some form of medication to keep yourself stable, out of a flare and somewhat functional. For me, that includes two of the above. I use a patch to control my pain, and use nebulisers daily to make sure I keep breathing, since my lungs seem to think it's optional. Now, if you've never had a strong pain killer, you're probably not aware that at times, it can make you feel like your brain is ten minutes behind the rest of your body. It's not the best time to do anything that requires too much thinking, but when you're on doses of strong painkillers the majority of the time, there doesn't really seem to be much of a choice. After all, writing when you're in a lot of pain isn't the best time to do it either.

Having had a chronic pain condition for the majority of my adult life, and all of my writing career, I can tell you that sometimes the meds I take to make me functional leave me feeling anything but. There are times, like right now, when my pain levels are not conducive to a good nights sleep and I find myself sat here at 1:45am with nothing else to do but write; hence why the majority of these posts are tagged with "late night musings". When you're chronically ill and want to write, you have to find ways to work around the problems you're faced with regarding your health. One of those is working around both the side effects of your medication and the actual effects of your medication. Sometimes you're never sure which one is which.

I usually employ a few tactics to make sure that what I write when I'm on painkillers, or when I've done a run of nebulisers back to back, makes sense and isn't actually the ramblings of a drug induced stupor. One of these tactics is that every blog post I make, whenever it's written, is then checked by my carer to make sure that I haven't left any sentences hanging and that I actually get across the point I'm trying to make. It's one of the reasons I have so many left ready to post, because I usually write them in bulk, to then be read through and posted at a later date. It's the one way I can be sure that I always have content for my blog, other than postings about giveaways and upcoming book releases.

Another tactic is to read it to myself out loud when I'm not feeling as bad as I was when I sat down and wrote it. This usually helps me to work out if what I've written is worth saving or if it should just be cut and forgotten about. You may be wondering why I bother to write if I'm feeling that bad; sometimes it's because I believe as a writer that you need to write something every day and that means that sometimes I have to write when I feel completely awful, and other times it's because when it's the middle of the night, there are only so many noise friendly ways to entertain yourself. It also gives me a chance to catch up on the admin parts of being an indie author that I may not have gotten to during the day when I've been banging away at the keyboard getting chapters written.

Despite this, sometimes I'll write a chapter and when I go through to edit it before it goes off to my editor, I'll find myself wondering how on earth it made it into the book in the first place. Other times, it will be my editor who'll be doing the wondering. I know that I can't be the only spoonie who finds that when they're under the influence of meds, they do, say or write something that they would never have done/said/written otherwise. So it pays to have some kind of control measures in place to make sure that your late night musings whilst desperate for sleep, or in the midst of a painkiller's side effects, never make it out there to the public. While it is pretty impossible to catch everything, you still need to be sure that you caught most things. On that note, I think it's time to sleep!

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