I now have Wednesdays off from my regular job as a medical secretary as part of a job-sharing venture. I can now dedicate an entire day to writing undisturbed as John and Kelly are both at work and the house is quiet.
Monday was book launch day for four titles- The Subtlety of Light and Shadow, My Magical Life, The Archetypes-First Generation, and Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I. Still seems unreal when I go to Amazon.com and type my name in and there they are. It's a little unnerving too because there is a sense of vulnerability involved in this whole process of writing and sharing ones work. Some people will like it and some will not. You really need to have a bit of heart and soul armor as an author because when you write you literally invest your heart and soul into your work and it is going to hurt if someone says something bad about it. Am I tough enough to take it? Probably- I tried going the regular route, submitting stories and novels and received nothing but rejections and I didn't go jumping off a bridge into the murky waters of the Connecticut or anything- just felt a profound sense of disappointment, though not in myself and my work...just in general with the world of publishing.
Anyway, I wanted to write a little bit about how I write. My older sister, Lynnmarie May, writes children's stories and poetry. She and I have totally different styles and manners of writing. When I talk to her about writing she quite literally baffles me with talk about outlines and plots and character development and so on and so forth. She has pages of notes and outlines or the progression of her stories and such. It seems like a long, agonizing drawn-out process. She tells me a lot of authors and writers write like this.
I tell her, well, I can't write like that. I just sit down at the computer and start writing. It's more or less like taking dictation from a voice in my head that is telling me the story, and I am just the avenue through which this voice works. I call it my muse. My muse creates, I just type. Kelly can vouch for this. I sometimes have to ask her what a certain characters name was back in chapter four and she'll remind me, because she reads everything I write almost as fast as I type it. When I first started writing I never jotted down a reminder or a note about a character name, a town they lived in, something they did that needed to be resolved later on. I just wrote like the wind and the whole story, the whole novel was right there direct from brain to printed page at the press of a button. I have actually written while listening to music and not even known what I was writing about until it was finished and I read it- and said, Wow, where did that come from?
I think my sister is one kind of writer and I am another. She works hard and slaves over her craft. I can probably say I work hard, as sitting there typing is a chore in and of itself, but I rarely struggle and agonize over anything. It all more or less just flows smoothly from point A (the area in my brain where my muse resides) to point B (the computer, in this case my little Dell netbook that I have used now for four or five years- so much so that the letters are worn off half the keys!!)
I have moderate rheumatoid arthritis and suffer huge flare-ups that I can do little about due to allergies to the usual medications used to treat this. I was on Enbrel for a couple of years and landed at the pulmonologist with asthma-like symptoms- a lot of wheezing, chest tightness. He did some tests but my pulmonary function was fine- even though he could hear the wheezing. Finally, I did some research on my own and discovered that Enbrel can cause this, so I stopped injecting myself with that (much to the annoyance of my rheumatologist) and the pulmonary issues resolved. So, now I am just on the maximum dose of methotrexate, a drug that scares me, but it does a little bit to help. I am allergic to NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen, Aleve and can't take Celebrex because of a sulfa drug allergy. I can only take Tylenol Extra Strength and Arthritis Strength, and generic Robaxin for the muscle cramps and spasms that plague me at night when I'm trying to sleep. Some days it's a struggle to type. Some days it's difficult to even think. The other weapon in my limited pain relief arsenal is meditation. Luckily for me I was taught how to meditate in the state police academy during a sergeant's basic training course of all places. We were taught this as a means of stress relief, but I've found that I can meditate and find relief from chronic pain as well. So, if it looks like I'm just sitting there doing nothing, staring off into space, daydreaming or whatever, I am most likely just meditating, so kindly leave me alone and I will be back shortly!
The point of the above is that as my health issues progress, I'm finding it a little harder to stay focused on writing. On good days, I can sit at the kitchen table and write the whole day and into night. On bad days, well, it's like trying to break through a cement wall with a blade of grass. I just can't do it. Since this virus struck me back on Kelly's birthday, June 26th, it has totally messed me up. I had to stop the methotrexate, which wipes out ones immune system, so I could fight the virus better. I had to take antibiotics for fourteen days because I have chronic sinusitis due to medications I take and a chronic underlying sinus infection that flared up and had to be treated. And the stress of all that has caused a big flare-up of the arthritis with joint and tendon pain and stiffness. It's been nearly a month since I got sick and while the virus is gone, the aftermath has not been a picnic in the park, to say the least. I am not writing right now because every joint in my hands ache and they're stiff. It hurts to hold or pick up anything. I just want this flare-up to subside so I can feel like myself again!!
So, right now, I have launched the four books noted above and am working on the volume of three novellas, nearly finished with the final edit of the first story. I also started going through Halloween Story, Kelly's project for me and am making a few changes. The cover she chose shows a girl dressed as a witch and a little boy dressed as a pirate. In the story, the little boy is dressed as a spaceman, so I'm changing that to Patrick being dressed as a pirate so it coordinates with the cover image.
Today I will be continuing editing and proofreading the novellas, and making the changes to Halloween Story- and enjoying the fresh air coming through the open windows now that the heat and humidity we've been enduring has passed! Oh, happy day!!!