Monday 15 April 2024

Spoonie Writer: Doing What Works For You


I sometimes come to these posts when they pop up in my queue of ideas, and I find myself wondering if I'm too repetitive. I know that I've talked about these kinds of things before, but I also know that every week when I post, I reach new people who might not want to go through my backlog of posts, and might need to hear something others already have.

So in that regard, for those who don't know, I'm both a spoonie, as in chronically ill, and disabled. I've been an author for almost 19 years, and I've written almost 50 first drafts, with my 22nd book coming out this year. I've been doing this since 2005 and while I won't go into my publishing story, because that would be repetitive, I will just say that indie works for me and I can't see myself ever going the traditional route. I am seen by many as successful and organised, and a machine when it comes to writing, and while I don't know if I agree with the first, the organised label does fit me very well.

I've always been a big advocate in taking the breaks you need, resting when possible, and also just making sure that you, as a spoonie/disabled writer, or even as someone healthy and abled, take care of yourself. The big thing about being an author/writer is that only you can tell your stories the exact way that you tell them. I could have the exact same idea as you, and I'm not going to be able to tell it the same way you would. So it mattes to keep yourself as able to write as much as is possible.

When I do pieces like this, I am, mostly, talking to those who, like me, have some kind of chronic illness that limits their energy, time, and ability to work. That said, I think there are some abled and healthy writers who could really learn from what I have to say because I see some of them making massive mistakes when it comes to how they set themselves up for failure.

No one wants to burn out. No one wants anyone to burn out. I've been there, and it's not great. It's not something that helps anyone, but especially yourself. If, like me, you have the urge to keep telling your stories, then having to spend months recovering after overdoing it, is not a nice thing. Of course, the spoonies reading this might have experienced something similar with flares that keep them away from working because their bodies went nope, and they have no choice but to rest, recover, and try again in a few days or weeks or even months.

This is why, to me at least, it's so very important to make sure that you don't overload yourself. Piling all the things on your shoulders, whether spoonie or not, it's only going to end up with you overwhelmed and maybe in a place where you can't find yourself back to the writing pace you were going at before.

I've always been someone who's organised. It depends on the task as to how organised I am. Like these blog posts get written the month before they're supposed to go live, but as far as vlog scripts for authortube, those are written a lot more in advance. It's just the way my mind works. I am always preparing for that time when I won't be able to do the things I need to, to stay on track. The same goes for the authortube videos, all prepped a month in advance. But when it comes to writing, that's obviously not done a month in advance and I don't overly plan my sessions. In that regard, I'm more of a discovery writer than a planner, though I will have the occasional note or thought to myself about where things could go as I move through the draft. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.

But my point is not that because I am organised and plan my time, that you therefore have to. It's very much about doing what works for you. It's about making sure that you don't overload yourself. It's about making sure that you stick to the way of working that works for you. I don't mean never branch out or try something new, but to do it slowly, to do it in stages, to see how things go before taking a hard left turn and just ending up with a whole lot on your plate that you don't know what to do with.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, spoonie/chronically ill/disabled life is life on hard mode. Don't make it harder for yourself by adding things to your plate that don't need to be there, or even that you know will not work for you. It's okay to take time, it's okay to do what works for you, and it's okay to not be chasing the same word counts or published books at a time, as someone else. We all work differently, and that's great, it's an awesome part of the human condition.

Again, said this before, but bears repeating, it takes as long as it takes, and that's okay! Happy writing!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments.

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books. 

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