Diary of an Author With Multiple Sclerosis – April 2019

Diary of an Author with Multiple Sclerosis

April over. So what’s happened last month? As usual, writing updates first:

Writing

I started in on the editing of my WIP, Paklife. Its sat untouched for a couple of weeks, so now I’m coming back with fresh eyes and starting a rewrite. I started off by reading and adding / taking away bits from the original manuscript, although I have now switched to completely retyping each chapter. I have found that reading what I had originally written and then rewriting seems to work best for me, as it allows me to spend more time choosing my words and sentences without being burdened by other stuff I had already written. The first draft was really just to get an idea of where the story was going, and I’m sure I’ll do this again when I complete this first pass.

Biggest Fail

April saw the biggest pain in my writing life, when I lost over 10k words to some computer glitch. I had almost completed my Choose Your Own Adventure story and was in the act of final polishing, when the software that handles all the clever stuff hit a bit of a road bump and deleted ALL of my work. I wrote a whole blog post about it I was that incensed. You can read all the gruesome details in that post, but basically, the online system lost all my work, and my save files wouldn’t reload. The people that made the software haven’t responded, so I had to write it off. Painful.

The plan was to use the adventure as a lead magnet to get people to share my email newsletter signup details, using something called Smartbribe, which is a clever piece of software that allows you to ‘bribe’ your potential readers by offering them something if they share your content. It might be that you require them to send a tweet to their followers or share a Facebook post with their friends, or even an Instagram post. The deal is that you can populate the post with whatever content you like, then they share it to get whatever it is that you have promised. I have a post coming up in a couple of weeks that goes into more depth around how to set up your own Smartbribe. Click the cover image of Serial to see Smartbribe in action.

Blog

blog

Talking of posts, I have been a busy boy this month and began a series on setting up a free email list for authors. Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 are already available to read with Part 4 scheduled for this Monday. There is a fifth part the following week, which is a bonus and covers the above mentioned Smartbribe details.

I have also decided to start in on improving the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) of all my posts. There are a lot, so this is an undertaking that will be ongoing for some time. Going forward, I am trying to ensure that I have made as good a job of this as possible in each post.

Content

The blog content has settled down into a fairly consistent schedule:

  • Monday – Post on writing or some writing tool or other that I have discovered.
  • Thursday – Road to a Comic. Updates on my progress as I try to learn how to draw, ready to turn one of my short stories into a comic.
  • Saturday – Serial Saturday. A serialised version of one of my stories.
  • Monthly – Diary of an author with Multiple Sclerosis (this).

I’ve been toying with the idea of bringing Spennyriver back to the blog. It’s a fictional town that I’ve written about in the past, full of people that talk like they’re from Nottingham. But they’re definitely NOT. It makes me smile, and is a bit of a divergence from the dark fiction I normally write. I’m not sure about that at the moment, as I need to decide how much time I have got to share around everything that I do. Oh, I have a life a job and MS as well. Got to fit all that in.

Learning Point

This is something I’m still working on, but I think I’m a lot closer to my answer. What to put into a blog? At the moment, things go in as they occur to me, although as I mentioned above, a schedule of sorts is appearing. Some of the things in this blog are of interest to others (hopefully) and some are of interest to me. But I think that’s okay. This blog is called ‘Half a Loaf of Fiction,’ because that’s what it is: a bit of everything. If you’re writing a blog, I think it’s okay to put in what takes your fancy. I don’t feel that I’m the authority in any particular field except perhaps, in the field of Steve Boseley.

Health | Disability | Multiple Sclerosis

I had a bit of a health scare this last week. More scary than the MS anyway. I found a lump in a place that a man shouldn’t have a lump, and after much procrastinating ad pretending it wasn’t there (plus my wife prodding me), I called my GP. Now this is where it get a little bit crazy (in a good way).

The triage person said my doc would ring me back that morning. Now I don’t know about you, but I normally wait weeks for an appointment with a GP, but to be told he would ring me back that same morning was great, but also a little concerning – did they think I needed to be seen immediately? This was reinforced when, an hour later, the GP called me and asked if I could get into the surgery later that morning, *Starts to panic*

So I arrive at the GP and he examines me, tells me I need go to hospital for a scan.*increase panic* He gives me a number to ring to book a hospital appointment. Now, if I can wait weeks for a GP appointment, I expect to wait weeks, if not months, for a hospital appointment. I make the call. It’s Friday (two days after my GP appointment). The hospital asks if I can come in on Sunday. *More panic*

This is an aside: I normally wouldn’t drive to the hospital as all the blue badge spaces are usually filled, mostly with non-blue badge cars. But my wife, who happens to work at the hospital, says I should drive, as they have changed he parking to pay-and-display. Lo and behold, when I arrive, there are many free spaces in the car park, which I have never encountered before! My wife’s conclusion, which is probably right, is that the spaces were being taken up by staff. What is the mindset of someone that parks in a bay that is clearly marked as being for someone that has a need for it? This is something that has bothered me for years, as I am a serial rule-follower. I don’t speed, I don’t park illegally, I use my badge correctly. This is something that is not specific to the hospital, but just…why? Help me out someone.

So, back to the hospital appointment: I arrive fifteen minutes early, and they get me in ten minutes before my appointment time (unheard of *maximum stress*). Appointment lasts fifteen minutes. Everything is okay. Scans are clear. I will get a confirmation letter. In fact, a text arrives the following morning.

The whole process from initial GP phone call to getting my results was six days. SIX DAYS!! I’ve never experienced anything so efficient in my life! GO NHS!!

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis | Diary of an Author

My downstairs extension is almost complete! We need the contractor to come back and dig up the massive amounts of rubble they have left where we should have soil and grass. A little bit of plastering and removal of a couple of errant electricity points, and we’re all done!

This might not seem like such a big deal to some of you, but I imagine you have no difficulties getting into your house and into bed at night. But for me, that has been a battle for many years.

Last week we finally purchased a bed for downstairs and for the last three nights I have been sleeping in a bed downstairs, not having to drag my ass up the stairs at the end of the day. To say it’s pleasant would be an understatement. The only problem is that because the mattress is new, it’s a bit higher than my old saggy one, making it bit mire difficult to get on to. But that’s a small problem!

It’s a bit weird knowing that half of my house is now all but out-of-bounds to me, but I’ll live with it, and sleep well at night!

Nothing else to mention this month. Meds the same, condition reasonably stable. Fingers crossed.

That’s it for this month. I hope you are all well. Until next time. No, wait. I don’t mean I hope you’re well until next time, I mean… you know what I mean.

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