Monday 20 March 2023

Spoonie Writer: Just Keep Writing


I've had this piece on my to-do list for a long while, and it seems apt that I come to write it on the weekend after I got over COVID. It's one of those things that, as a spoonie, has been there in the back of your mind for the past three years because you know, if you're vulnerable, that it could be a very bad thing for you. I was lucky in that I avoided it for so long, by the time I did catch it, there were treatments available and I managed to skate through the worst at home, though it was touch and go for a time. I don't tell you that for sympathy or for pity, but because it screwed up my delicate balance between writing, rest, and doing all the other things I like to get down in a monthly period.

Last month, I didn't hit my goal for chapters, and now I'm in that place where I want to try and push forward and finish the two current projects I'm working on this month, but I know that to do that, I would have to really push myself. It's then that I realise that even though I talk about rest and how it's important to do that, I'm not all that good at following my own advice. The idea that because I'm sick and disabled, and also work as an indie author, that I must therefore be as productive as possible, more so than my abled and healthy counterparts, doesn't sit well with me. It never has, but it's also not been something that I've needed to really examine all that closely before now.

I ended up needing a whole week off because of the plague, and with that went my chances of getting everything ticked off in my planner. I don't mind it as such, I did need the rest and downtime, and had I tried to write, it either would've been terrible, or it wouldn't have made any sense, or both to be honest. I think too often we, and I include myself in that, forget that as a spoonie, we're fighting several different fires on several different fronts while also trying to be the author or writer that we think we should be. And to be that author or writer, we need to achieve more and do more and become more than we're really able to do.

It's that catch-22, if we take longer to get things done, then will our readers/publishers stay loyal? If we have to cancel this release and then do it again later on down the line, will people think we're incapable of doing this? If we take less time, and do more, and overload ourselves, will people think we're not as sick as we say we are? Or will they write it off as how inspiring we are for managing that work load? It's hard to balance the author life and the spoonie life. It's hard to juggle the two and work out which works best for when and how and all of that. I can't promise that I have all the answers because I honestly don't, but I can tell you that getting so sick with plague did make me think, and have, a good look at how I managed my own time, and my own expectations.

I know that as a small fish indie author, I need to be publishing at least once a year (more if possible) to stay relevant to my readers. Now I don't have a huge following, I never really have, but I do have a core group that have happily shown up to signings, and cover reveals, and releases and the like, and have dutifully read and bought my books, and kept happily following them as they continue to come out. I also know that me personally can't always keep up with the more than once a year. I've had some problems with my editing team, I've had some issues with revising drafts and getting them ready in time. I know that I can choose to pull back and release later and later, but part of me doesn't want to do that, doesn't want to admit that I am not able to manage because that feels like admitting defeat, like letting my conditions 'win' or something like that that doesn't really make sense.

So here's what I've decided to do. I will write like usual, I won't overload myself. I won't push my body, which is already struggling, to do more than it is capable of, and I will keep writing. If these projects get done this month, great, if not, oh well, it's just one of those things. At the end of the day, the only person who truly knows what I am feeling, what I am capable of, is me, and the decision has to be mine as to how I go about doing things, as to how I continue on this path.

My advice to any spoonies having the same kind of crisis? Just keep writing, and let the chips fall where they may.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

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