Monday 18 September 2017

Spoonie Writer: Signings & You


I figured that with the convention fast approaching, I mean we're now at just under three weeks, I would address the issues I've faced getting things in place and offer my tips to help other spoonie writers who may be looking to do their own signings. I've got a vlog going up this week that will address those last minute preparations, but it still seemed like a good idea to do an advice piece as well. That way it's covered on all fronts. This is my first signing and my first big event as an author that has lead to time away from home, being "on" for a long period of time and having to deal with health issues on top. So what's my advice?

The biggest one I can give is to plan ahead as far as you can. I started ordering my paperbacks back in 2016 so that by the time I got to this point I was no longer worrying or waiting for anything to arrive. The same can be said for all the SWAG I've ordered, banner too. I planned far in advance simply because I didn't want to get close to the day and find that I was missing something. I know that my conditions are exacerbated by stress, so why add to it? As it stands now, I am more than ready to get to the signing and deal with all of that.

Along with organising, came the realistic need for both access and certain accommodations for the event itself. As you all know I'm on oxygen pretty much all the time I'm awake. I wanted to arrange with my oxygen company to have a machine delivered and they were great. They need some notice though, so again with the whole planning and being organised when you can. I also reached out to the event organisers and asked if it would be possible for me to be sat near a plug. That way I can use the main concentrator and not have to worry about my canisters running low. The oxygen concentrator I have is one that can refill canisters, but I didn't like the idea of leaving it on in the hotel room when there'd be no one in there. The organisers were great, as were the hotel and the oxygen company. Same goes for access issues for my chair, they've all been excellent at making sure I have what I need to bring myself to the event.

One thing that did worry me was what if I couldn't manage it all? I didn't want to let the organisers down, but nor did I want to just not put myself out there for conventions like this. So I made a judgement call and am still making that call. I won't know for sure until I've done it, but I've planned my time in the weeks and days leading up to the event to allow myself for plenty of rest breaks. My carer, and best friend, is coming along to help me on the day and she's good at making sure I don't overdo it. There will be a short lunch break and during that I will, if need be, have the opportunity to nap in the room. I'm mostly focusing on doing the whole day, napping and then going to the after event ball.

That was another judgement call. If I'd been "on" all day, was I really up to a late night? I went back and forth about it before I finally decided that yeah, I'd manage. If worse came to worst, I could leave earlier than planned and head to bed. Even though at the time of signing up, B didn't drive, she does now which means that if it comes to it, she can make the journey there and since we're staying at the hotel until the Monday, I can spend the day after sleeping and resting and all that fun stuff that comes with being a spoonie. I made the decision that I wouldn't know for sure until the night and I would much rather push myself a little to experience all that I could than say no and miss out on something. And again, it's something that's not set in stone so if need be, I can pull out.

One thing that a lot of people who aren't chronically ill and/or disabled don't seem to realise is that we have to make so many choices every day. I can choose to spend my spoons, knowing that it will give me one hell of a payback in the weeks following, so that I can experience something I never have before and is, quite frankly, an experience I want under my belt. Or I can be cautious. As it stands now, I plan to definitely be there on October 7th, for all the signing on the day and the after event, but the organisers are awesome and I know if I had to pull out between now and then, they'd understand. As it is, they're doing everything they can to make it as accessibly and easy for me. Which is something I very much appreciate.

So, I'll leave you with the advice that while a signing might cost a hell of a lot of spoons, sometimes it's a good idea to step outside of your comfort zone and experience it. Having said that, you know your limits better than I do, and I know mine better than anyone else. Don't push yourself to the breaking point for something, no matter how much you want that experience. There are steps you can take, such as having a week before and time afterwards when your focus in purely on recovery. It can be hard to judge how much time you'll need so be kind to yourself and listen to your body. 

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