Diary Of An Author With Multiple Sclerosis – December 2020

This month feels like it has flown by. I’m still not going out (Covid-19 shielding), but somehow time has done exactly the opposite to what you’d expect!

So, without any further ado, here’s December, writing first:

Writing

This month has been slow on the writing front. Last time I talked about setting SMART goals for my writing and I have been trying my utmost to stick to the targets I’ve set for myself. I started the month off with a target of 1000 words per day, and for a while I was hitting that, but like everyone else at the moment, life has been getting in the way, and I have struggled to hit even that meagre target recently.

No problem, though, just revisit my goals and alter to match my current circumstances. To that end, I’ve dropped my target to 500 words per day and so far I am mostly managing to hit that total, most days going over.

I’m working on pulling together some of my unfinished short stories and rewriting some of my other unpublished work, because it is, well, bad. What I’m finding is that my short stories are weighing in at over 15k words generally, so more like short novellas I suppose. It’s been a good deal of time since I wrote anything under 2k words, so I think that’s something that may lend itself to my limited writing capacity. Also, when I look at online magazines accepting submissions, most of them are looking for stories on the shorter side anyway, and I’m thinking I’d like to try my hand at getting published in that way. If you are aware of any online magazines that are accepting works of horror or speculative fiction, just leave a comment below to let me know.

So I’m hitting my goals, but is it helping me? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Yes because it’s always nice to complete what you set out to do, and no, because my targets are much lower than I’d like them to be. That is predominantly connected to my health, which I’ll talk about more below, but in a nutshell: my MS gives me a limited amount of energy to share throughout my day and when its gone, its gone. But all of that is (should be) fine; I’ve got no publisher banging on my door, and no horde of email followers clamouring for my next update (I decided it would be better to let my 2000+ followers go). I’ve got nobody wondering when my next book will be, so the pressure should be off, right?

Wrong. I’ll point out here that I don’t for one minute think this just applies to me and my circumstances, but the biggest source of pressure I experience comes from…me. You may be in the same position, even if your targets are greater than mine, I think it’s human nature for us to think I wish I had done more or I didn’t make a very good job of that. It put me in mind of some training I received recently around catching my negative thoughts. When I feel this way, I have to ask myself some questions:

  • What was I doing? Who was I with?
  • What was I telling myself?
  • What is the worst thing that went through my mind?
  • What does it say about me if it’s true?

Then I need to look for themes or patterns in the way that I’m thinking .

I don’t want to get bogged down with that here, I’ll bog down with that in another post! For the moment let me leave you with this pearl of wisdom:

Go easy on yourself.

I alluded to it above, but my MS is becoming a right pain in the backside, both literally and figuratively.

I’m finding that my energy levels are low at the moment, and as a result, I’m finding everything more difficult. My typing is now down to one useful finger on each hand, well actually one finger on my good hand. Yes, I could look at dictation software, but Dragon have stopped supporting the Mac, and Apple’s own software is not great. Yes I cold purchase a windows laptop, but did I mention that I lost my job last year? Yeah, well funds are tight currently, but I think getting a laptop to share with my wife is the way I’ll go eventually.

I’m struggling with negative thinking as I mentioned briefly above, but not just in relation to my writing. In relation to all aspects of my life. But I think I may be catastrophising there, as well as putting 2 and 2 together and getting 5. Still, when you’re in it, its hard to see it for what it is.

I’ve been having some trouble with my waterworks, and I don’t mean my kitchen sink. It’s really frustrating (not to mention degrading), but I’m lucky to have a wonderful wife. I think my job is to not pull out my anger and frustration and place it on her, as it is most definitely not her fault. Nor mine, actually. I had to have a grown up conversation with a nurse yesterday about getting things under control and as much as it was necessary, it was difficult!

It’s been a problem for a while, but it’s taken me this long to address it, and I’m still not quite there yet, but I’m glad I’ve taken this first step. Now I’ve just got to catch my negative thoughts about what it says about me. Writing this post brought back some recent training I attended about negative thinking and I’ll post about that in the future as it relates to writing, but reading through my training notes has at least help kick me out of the mirk I was descending into. For today anyway.

It might require more medication, but it will certainly require some lifestyle changes. Boo.

person thinking

My question to you:

Have any of these situations ever happened to you (health or writing)?

How did you handle them?

3 thoughts on “Diary Of An Author With Multiple Sclerosis – December 2020

  1. The fact that we are reading your blog means you have been meeting one of your targets. Many people are finding it hard to cope with Covid restrictions, job loss or living with a disability, let alone all three and managing to write about it!

    Liked by 1 person

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